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Care Experienced/Looked After 

The term care experienced refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care/looked after background at any stage of their life, no matter the length of time. This includes adopted children who were previously looked after. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as in residential care/ foster care/ kinship care or being looked after at home with a supervision requirement.

Care experienced students can experience the following hardships
o Accommodation
o Financial strain
o Mental ill-health
o Social isolation
o A lack of a sense of belonging

Support for student differs across the sector but can include:

o Offer a named point of contact to support the student both during their application and throughout the duration of their studies
o Provide 365 accommodation in halls of residence to relieve some of the concerns about experiencing homelessness in the summer months
o Dedicated bursaries and scholarships to ensure that students are financially supported
o Creation of accessible guarantor schemes to allow students to have the flexibility of living in privately rented accommodation if they wish.

The lack of a parental guarantor is a crucial barrier  for students studying without parental support
o Signposting students to appropriate support where needed such as university counselling services

Corporate Parenting
o When a child enters the care system, their local authority becomes responsible for them. This means that every employee and member of this local authority has a legal responsibility of care for this child as outlined by the Children and Young People Act 2014 (Scotland)
o Universities and colleges as organisations are Corporate Parents and should have developed Corporate Parenting Plans. As Corporate Parents, institutions work closely to ensure a smooth transition from school, college or university for the student.

Useful Resources and Contacts

Corporate Parenting for Colleges and Universities: 

If you’d like to learn more about the impact of care experience on access to education, and the role of corporate parents, their are online resources which have been created in partnership with The Open University, CDN, Who Cares? Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council, universities and colleges, and Care Experienced students and community.

For Universities: Corporate Parenting in Higher Education takes 1-2 hours to complete and is based on the lived experience of care-experienced students. It has optional activities and opportunities to reflect on your role in improving outcomes for care-experienced students and you can gain a digital badge.

For Colleges: Corporate Parenting in Colleges 2023/2024 is a self-enrolled course which takes 1-2 hours. It uses the voice of Care Experiences students in Scotland to enhance understanding of how they can be supported in education contexts. It has been updated in 2023.


CEECEF (Care Experience, Estranged & Carers Forums)

These forums are groups of colleagues from third-sector and higher education who meet and share resources and knowledge.

East Group contact is Lorraine Moore, Edinburgh Napier University

West Group contact is Dan Keenan, University of Glasgow contact

North Group contact is Dr Sally Middleton, Aberdeen University


Hub for Success

HUB for Success (to support those with CE to get in, stay in or return to education. The Hub has an Advisory Board (includes Principals, senior management from CEC), Steering Group (practitioners) and a Learner Advisory Board made up of care-experienced students.

• They work with care-experienced people of all ages.

• They give individual, tailored advice, and practical support as required, e.g. correct funding, gaining access their records, explaining and exploring the different pathways available. Those over the age of 26 years are generally more likely to find their own way, however they often require more emotional support.

• The Hub encourages CE supporters and those in the partner institutions to be curious and creative in their questions of CE learners with the aim of tailoring support services.


Wee Campus

Wee Campus is an online digital community created by the Why Not Trust, that has been developed and co-designed with students with experience of care to be a safe place to engage, share experiences, advice, find information, and encourage others through their higher education journey. They are open to all and believe everyone wants to be the best they can be, wants to be there for others, and with the right support can excel.

What Wee Campus offers:
• Connect with other higher education students with care experience
• Share experiences and guidance
• Find Information and seek advice
• Encourage others through their higher education journey

Find out More:

On their website

Their introduction here

Their Podcast ‘The talk of the village’


Report: Reaching Care-Experienced learners earlier

An evaluation of the Learning Explorers pilot has been shared. This project worked with P7 students and student ambassadors in partnership with the Hub for Success and local educational institutions.

Read the report, here.


Care Experienced/Corporate Parenting Useful Resources and Contacts:

The Buttle Trust

CELCIS – Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection, based at University of Strathclyde

Each and Every Child


SAAS link for support for care-experienced students

UCAS information about undergraduate support for care leavers

Who Cares? Scotland – Corporate Parenting