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Cymraeg

Education Minister praises student support

19 December 2007

The University’s commitment to supporting students who have spent time in care has been recognised with an award.

Cardiff is the first university in Wales to receive the Frank Buttle Trust Quality Mark. The Quality Mark is awarded to universities for the support they provide for looked after children and people leaving care so they can progress into higher education.

The process of applying to, and succeeding in, higher education is a challenge for anyone and research by the Frank Buttle Trust shows that this is significantly more difficult for someone who does not have a traditional family structure around them. For example they may have limited finances on arrival, no residential accommodation in the vacations and no family support to fall back on.

Professor Teresa Rees, Pro-Vice Chancellor said "People from care are one of the most under-represented groups in higher education. This recognition from the Frank Buttle Trust for the good work Cardiff University is doing to change this is really important to us and forms a key part of our widening access and student retention plans for the future."

Education Minister, Jane Hutt said: "It is vitally important that looked after children have the support and opportunities to give them the best possible chance in life. Cardiff University have been working hard to encourage care leavers to progress to higher education and it is wonderful to see that this has been recognised by the Frank Buttle Trust."

Cardiff University’s commitment seeks to:

  • Facilitate an increase in the numbers of care leavers progressing to higher education;
  • Raise awareness of the needs of this group of students;
  • Enable care leavers to make the most of their time in higher education and complete their courses successfully;
  • Contribute to a link between universities and local authorities.

The Frank Buttle Trust has worked with Cardiff University to establish ways to help care leavers succeed in higher education. These include:

  • From 2008, students who declare on their UCAS form that they have been in care will receive an additional bursary of £1000 on top of the Cardiff University means tested bursaries available to all students;
  • Care leavers will be able to contact a named mentor at the University Student Support Centre to discuss specific issues and concerns they may be facing prior to arriving at University and afterwards. The named mentor will act as a ‘problem solver’, source of information with regards to benefits and money management and a point of referral to other support services;
  • The University will discuss accommodation requirements with the prospective student leaving care and will assure a twelve month residency in the first year, if desired by the student.

The UK Government white paper ‘Care Matters: Transforming the Lives of Children and young People in Care’ says the just 6 per cent of British young people leaving care enter higher education, compared to almost 50 per cent of society as a whole.