King’s has been successful in its application for the Care Leavers Buttle Trust Quality Mark.
Care Leavers are students who have been in foster or residential care where the local authority has been obliged to provide suitable accommodation. The Buttle Trust accreditation is a mark of excellence and is a celebration of the support and guidance provided by higher education institutions for these students.
Looked-after children face many challenges and consequently the progression rate to university is at a minimal five per cent compared to the national average of 36 per cent (based on 2010 figures). King’s recognises these challenges and offers a holistic and personalised support package for care-experienced students. The Buttle Trust praised the College’s focus on the student as an individual and the support available before, during and after their time at King’s.
Anne-Marie Canning, Head of Widening Participation at King’s, said: ‘We’re delighted to have achieved Buttle Trust accreditation. Colleagues across the College have worked hard in recent years to put in place good support for care-experienced students. The mark recognises that King’s fully supports care-experienced students throughout the entire student lifecycle.’
This support package has been achieved by successful collaboration across many departments and involves accommodation all year round for all care leavers. A further UNITE accommodation scholarship is also available for five students per year which covers the cost of their accommodation for three years of study and a £4,000 bursary per year. Other grants are also available for care leavers when they first arrive at King’s.
In addition to this financial support, students have the opportunity to meet with a member of the student support team before they arrive at King’s and can choose to maintain that relationship throughout their time at the College. Paul Cornell, Head of Advice and Guidance, is the designated staff member for care leavers. He enables students to access the appropriate support services, provides impartial advice and liaises with colleagues on the student’s behalf.
Anne-Marie Henderson in the Widening Participation Department acts as the first point of contact for young people before they enrol and assists with all aspects of the application process. King’s has also hosted two successful open days for looked-after children and introduced them to what it is like to go to University and be a student at King’s.