#ECLCM Education News Publication / Research / Resource

New study finds more care leavers entering higher education

Read at source: ‘Moving on Up’ report by the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) 

‘Moving on up’ – NNECL

Extract from source – NNECL website:

The ‘Moving On Up’ report is the first study to provide an overall picture of care leavers in higher education. It explored the educational pathways of all young people in England who were 16 in 2008, tracking whether or not they entered higher education by 2015.  This was supplemented by survey responses from 212 care-experienced students currently in higher education.

The study found that 12 percent of care leavers had entered higher education by the age of 23 – higher than previous estimates of 6 percent. While this is positive news, the participation rate for care leavers was substantially lower than for other young people at 42 percent.  This is due, in large part, to the lower qualifications that care leavers are able to achieve in school in the context of the disruption in their lives.

Worryingly, care leavers in higher education were over a third more likely to withdraw than otherwise-similar students, as well as being more likely to have delays and restarts within their studies. However, those that did complete their degrees were as likely to achieve a first or upper second class degree as their peers.

The report sets out a number of recommendations including specific recommendations to local authorities (page 82):

18. To ensure that care leavers with lower KS4 attainment can access appropriate post-16 options that provide ‘second chance’ opportunities to work towards HE entry – e.g. through retaken qualifications, apprenticeships, Foundation Degrees or Access to HE courses.

19. To ensure, as a matter of course, that pre-entry contact is established with HEIs (through the identified/dedicated staff contact) for every care leaver moving into HE as a prelude to effectively managing their transition.

20. To actively support care leavers who have initially entered the labour market, but wish to make a return to education either at school/college or through work-based learning.

21. To develop improved links with local HEIs, as per Recommendation 8 above and to ensure that social workers, personal advisers and managers are positively disposed towards HE as a viable route for care leavers.

22. To ensure that care leavers are moved into their HEI at the start of their studies and to undertake periodic check-ups to ensure their wellbeing.

23. To continue existing work to promote the stability of placements and assigned social workers.

Download the full report: NNECL report

Our mission is to help bring about improvements in practice and policy. Holding children at the centre of what we do through our work with and for them, we aim to lead and promote excellent care and services. The partnership consists of an elected Chair and elected Regional Leads who represent their regions at a national level (two from each of the nine regions within England).

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