Higher Education: Children in Care

Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 27 November 2007.

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Photo of Stephen Hesford Stephen Hesford PPS (Vera Baird QC, Solicitor General), Law Officers' Department

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what arrangements are in place to assist care leavers to progress into higher education.

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Children, Young People and Families)

Improving outcomes for children in care, including the proportion of care leavers who progress into HE, is of highest priority for the Government. The White Paper "Care Matters: Time for Change", published in June 2007, set out a range of measures to improve the education of children in care. Ensuring that all children in care make better progression at school will enable more care leavers to enter higher education.

The Children and Young Persons Bill, which provides the legislative framework for the changes set out in "Care Matters: Time for Change", was introduced into the House of Lords on 14 November. It will place a duty on all local authorities to pay a bursary of a minimum of £2,000 to all care leavers who enter higher education, on top of the existing support they already receive. This measure will further improve the financial support that care leavers receive for higher education.

Further work to increase the numbers of care leavers progressing into higher education takes place through the "Aimhigher" programme. It helps people from under-represented backgrounds, including care leavers, to be able and willing to consider higher education as a viable option. The programme brings together local partnerships of schools, colleges and universities to design and deliver a range of aspiration and attainment-raising activities.

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