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Care leavers support

Here at Keele we are committed to supporting students from a care background to access and succeed in Higher Education. If you are a care leaver and you are considering coming to Keele University, or you are a current student at Keele, we can provide you with a package of support that can help you pre-entry and throughout your time at university.

In 2013 Keele University was awarded the Buttle UK Quality Mark for our committment to Care Leavers and the support that we provide. 

A message from our Vice Chancellor:

"The work that ButtleUK have done over the past 10 years has been hugely significant in shining a light on the inequality of opportunity for care experienced young people wishing to experience University.  At Keele we have worked hard over this period of time to raise the aspirations of looked after young people, to improve and make easier  the experience of applying to the University and in providing ongoing care, assistance and support to any care leaver studying here at Keele.   Whilst the ButtleUK Quality Mark has now come to an end, we maintain our commitment to put in place a comprehensive package of student support.    If you are care experienced and are  thinking about University, or are a little further along the journey and are  considering whether Keele is the place for you, then  please be assured that we are committed to supporting you - our caring staff, considered support arrangements and excellent facilities will all ensure that you have an amazing University Experience."

Trevor McMillan- Vice Chancellor, Keele University

We define a care leaver to be a young person under the age of 25 (upon entry to their course) who:

  • Has been in care (e.g. foster care or childrens home) for a minimum of 13 weeks, some of which was after age 16.

OR

  • Was privately fostered until the age of 16 or were 'looked after' until they were subject to a Special Guardianship Order.

If you are not sure if this applies to you or are unsure of what you may be eligible for please do not hesitate to contact us. If you don't meet this criteria but are care experienced you may still be eligible for some of the support we provide so please get in touch to discuss this. 

You may have spent time in care and no longer have any contact with your family, if this is the case you may be eligible for our support for estranged students

Keele University offers a dedicated care leaver support contact who can offer tailored, individual and sustained support prior to arrival and throughout your time as a Keele student. The dedicated contact for care leavers is based in Student Services so there will always be someone available to help should you need it.

With your permission, the dedicated contact can also act as a link between you, your local authority and the University to ensure you are accessing all the support that is available to you as a care leaver. 

Any contact you have with your dedicated contact will be kept confidential and your choices respected at all times.

There is lots of support that you can access prior to starting your course at Keele and throughout the induction period to help you to make the right decisions and support your transition to Higher Education.

Raising aspirations and outreach

Our Widening Participation Officer can provide advice and support to care leavers and Looked After Children pre-enty. They can also discuss opportunities to provide bespoke events and visits for looked after children and care leavers. For more information please contact our Widening Participation Officer using the contact details below:

E: outreach@keele.ac.uk

T: 01782 734427

Visiting the University

The University holds a number of Open Days and Offer Holder Days throughout the year that you can attend to find out more about Keele. If you would like support on an Open Day or Visit Day you can contact the dedicated contact for care leavers in Student Services who can arrange to meet you or to have a chat over the phone. The Widening Participation Officer may also be able to arrange an independent visit for you to come up and see the campus on request.

Support and advice for applicants

If you tick the box on the UCAS form to disclose that you have been in care we can also provide ongoing support throughout the application process.

Use of contextual data

At Keele, we recognise that applicants have different backgrounds and experiences and that some applicants may not have had the same opportunities to demonstrate their suitability for Higher Education. Therefore, we will consider the additional data and information provided on your application (the contextual data) as part of the selection process to help identify applicants whose academic performance to date may not be a true reflection of their potential to succeed at university. Our offer will reflect our recognition of individual circumstances*.

If you tick the box on the UCAS appliction to disclose you have been in care then this information will be considered when looking at your application. For more information please see our Admissions FAQs

* This excludes applications to the Faculty of Health courses and Social Work. Please refer to the specific School webpages for their policies on the use of contextual data.

Keele peer support schemes

Find out more about our range of diverse peer support schemes.

Induction activities

As part of the Keele Welcome and induction you will be provided with resources and guides to support your transition. You will also have the opportunity to virtually link up with other students as part of the online pre-arrival and welcome experience.

On-campus accommodation

Care leavers and estranged students are prioritised for on campus accommodation as long as applications for accommodation are submitted by the deadline.

We can offer accommodation for 51 weeks if you wish to stay in the same room for the whole year. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to stay in the same room for the duration of you studies. 

The following room types are available for 51 week accommodation contracts:

  • Standard Room with Washbasin Band B in Traditional Block
  • Flat (shared between 4 students, each student has their own bedroom)
  • Premier Flat

Please be aware that due to the nature of the 51 week contracts you are likely to be sharing with postgraduate students or nursing and midwifery students.

More information about room types and the costs can be found on the Accomodation Services webpages.

Should you decide to select a 37 or 44 week contract you will still be able to access year round accommodation on campus, however you will be required to apply for vacation accommodation at the end of your contract and will most likely be required to move rooms.

If you have any further questions about applying for on campus accommodation please email accommodation@keele.ac.uk for support.

Living off campus

If you would like to live off campus we can also provide advice and support on how to find accommodation in the local area through the Accommodation Services team and the ASK advice service in the Students’ Union.

For more information about support available for students living off campus please visit our webpage for Local and Commuter Students.

Care Leaver and Estranged Student Bursary

If you qualify for ‘home’ fee status and meet the eligibility criteria set out in the 'Care Leaver Definition' section above you will be entitled to a cash bursary from the University.

For more information about this bursary please visit our bursary and scholarships webpages.

Other bursaries and financial support available at Keele

As a care leaver you may also be eligible for other loans and non-repayable support from Keele University. For more information about additional financial support available please see the Money, Advice and Guidance webpage.

Care Leavers HE Bursary

As part of your Pathway Plan you may also be entitled to a one-off £2000 Higher Education Bursary from your Local Authority. This is available to any Care Leaver who started their course before their 25th birthday, and it does not have to be repaid. Your Pathway Plan should also include information on your plans for university, accommodation, independent living, financial and other support. You should speak to your Local Authority or Leaving-Care Worker to determine how you will receive your bursary and whether it will be paid in a lump sum or in instalments.

Personalised Financial Advice and Support

If you are unsure of what financial support you are entitled to you can contact our specialist Money advisors in Student Services who can advise on bursaries and scholarships, how to apply for student finance and budgeting.

You can contact the team on 01782 734481 or email student.services@keele.ac.uk

Support on your course

All students at Keele are allocated a personal tutor who is a single point of contact on your course who can provide support and advice on academic and non-academic issues.  With your permission, the dedicated care leaver contact in Student Services can liaise with your personal tutor to ensure we provide the right support for you.

If you are experiencing any personal difficulties that may affect your studies you can submit exceptional circumstances to your school for these to be taken into consideration. You will need to provide evidence to support your exceptional circumstances request which the dedicated contact will be able to discuss with you.

Study skills support

The Student learning team provide online resources, workshops and drop in services to help you to develop your academic, personal and professional skills. 

Counselling and mental health

University can be an exciting time but it can also bring with it stress and challenge. The Counselling and Mental Health service offers a team of experienced counsellors and mental health professionals who can support you during your time at University if you need it. 

Disability and Dyslexia support

If you have a disability, including specific learning difficulties or mental health and wellbeing issues the team can advise on a wide range of support to meet your individual needs. It is a good idea to contact the Disability and Dyslexia Support team before you start your course at Keele University to discuss any support you may need.

Coming to the end of your studies can be a daunting time for all students, but as a care leaver you may also have additional concerns. The dedicated care leaver contact is here to help you discuss any issues or concerns and help you with the transition from university and post graduation. We can also support you to achieve your career aspirations. 

Careers and employability 

Our Careers team can support and inform you throughout your time at Keele and beyond, whether you are very certain about your career plans or aren't sure what you'd like to do in the future. Either way our careers advisers are available to discuss how to make the most of your future.

The team can support with the following:

  • support with planning your career
  •  advice on job-searching strategies
  • suggestions on how to create winning CVs and how to be successful at interview
  • information relating to careers, employers and work

‌Hannah, Law Graduate and Children's Nursing Student

Hannah- Care Leaver profile picture Hannah- Care Leaver profile picture "I came to Keele in 2013 to study Law for my undergraduate course. As a care leaver, coming to university was quite daunting as I had to leave behind the support networks that I had worked with for a number of years. As scary as it was to make the decision to move away, it was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. Living independently and being in the same boat as everyone else for a change was something that I really valued when I first started at Keele, as nobody knew my background and everyone was just as scared to move into a new environment as I was. 

After graduating from my law degree in July 2017, I decided on a career change, which also came with the requirement of studying another undergraduate degree. After much thought, I decided to stay at Keele to study Children's Nursing, as the support and guidance I received throughout my first degree was absolutely invaluable and I didn't want to lose that. Student support are so helpful and really do put a lot of thought into help for care leavers and estranged students, which is something that has really made a difference in my university life. For example, Keele offer a number of extra support options for care leavers; such as accommodation for the whole year, activities to participate in over Christmas for those that don't have anywhere to go, and an extra bursary. 

Having a dedicated care leaver contact has been really helpful for me, as I know that I'm speaking to someone who completely understands any query I have and can support me through any care leaver type issue that may arise. It's also just nice to know that you're not completely on your own, and massively helps the transition from being looked after by the local authority to living independently at university. 

The main thing to remember is that moving to university is a really daunting experience for everyone - care leaver or not. However, you have the added extra of a dedicated contact to help you along your way, if you choose to utilise them."

Sophie, Mental Health Nursing Student

Sophie care leaver Sophie care leaver "When I was applying for universities I knew that I wanted to go to Keele because of its quiet location and its wide range of facilities. I had known for years that I wanted to go into nursing and so that’s why I studied Health and Social Care at college. It was only through experience and volunteering work that I chose to go into the Mental Health field of nursing, and the interviews I had at the universities I applied for were extremely nerve-wracking; but I was so overwhelmed that I had got into Keele. When I was in High School, I lived in a children’s residential home for 2 years which was helpful, and all the staff were supportive. I then lived on my own for 2 years whilst I was at college and after college I then moved here to Keele.

I am studying Mental Health Nursing at Keele, which involves a mixture of practice sessions, lectures and placements. I am enjoying the course so far and I am looking forward to starting on placement. I am also enjoying living on campus because everything I need is on campus and I get on well with the people I live with. The care leaver support at Keele is helpful and useful as you know there is someone you can speak to if you need them. Within the first few weeks of starting University, I met up with other care leavers which was nice because it shows that you are not alone and that there is other people who you can talk to."

Contact us

Tel: 01782 734481
Email: student.services@keele.ac.uk

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