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Where next for widening participation and fair access? New insights from leading thinkers, including Become

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the social mobility charity Brightside are jointly publishing a collection of essays by senior higher education figures entitled Where next for widening participation and fair access? New insights from leading thinkers.

Chloë Cockett, Policy and Research Manager at Become, the leading charity for children in care and young care leavers, has contributed a chapter on care leavers, featuring alongside contributors including Kirsty Williams AM, the Cabinet Secretary for Education in the Welsh Government; Vonnie Sandlan, the former President of NUS Scotland; and Peter Horrocks, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University.

Chloë’s chapter examines the policy landscape around care leavers and higher education, and how it has developed over recent years. It outlines the challenges that care leavers face accessing higher education, and while they are studying at university, and encourages universities and local authorities to think about the possible solutions to these challenges, stressing that flexibility is the key. A one size fits all policy will not work – relatively simple issues for most young people can be much more complicated for care leavers, such as making split second decisions about Clearing.

The chapter also calls for a regular data release looking at the experiences of care-experienced students in higher education, to ensure that institutions fully understand the experience of care leavers at university and that they are being appropriately supported.

As universities prepare for a new intake of students, this collection of essays is a timely reminder of the work that is still required to ensure that there really is fair access for all under-represented groups in higher education, including care leavers.

The book is available to download for free here.