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Robin's blog 

Two years on from the Independent Review of Children's Social Care, Robin shares what they think still needs to change in the care system.

Two years on since the Independent Review into Children’ Social Care: has mission two been achieved?

It has been nearly two years since the Care Review has taken place but have any of the aims and recommendations set out really been achieved?  

One of the key five ‘missions’ set out in this 345-page review was to “Double the proportion of care leavers attending university, and particularly high tariff universities, by 2026”, but now that we are halfway to this deadline have enough changes occurred to achieve this? For young people within care or having experienced being in care, university can often seem like unachievable mystery.

With so many life-changing and often traumatic experiences occurring during the most formative years of education for many it is no wonder that so few people go on to progress to higher education. With only 9% of care-experienced young people in sixth form, compared to 36% of the general population as shown in a 2023 report1, university can already seem unattainable, but combined with the unnecessarily complicated maze of guidelines and differing levels of support a young person must face in order to even start considering a choice there are an untold number of additional barriers in place.

Although as of 2024 most universities have at least some levels of support including 52-week rent guarantees within house accommodation and most sustaining some kind of bursary the exact details vary wildly. As a prospective university applicant myself I have found it to take hours to even properly compare two university choices with the insane differences in levels of support.

This is especially true for higher tariff universities. According to the same 2023 report it was shown that in total only 90 people who had experience with care went to higher tariff universities.  Shockingly even the most prestigious universities such as Russel Group universities appear to have the comparatively worst support in place such as via a lack of clear contextual offers, no guarantee for 365 accommodation or designated outreach, which was recommended within the Care Review for mission two. 

Overall, although it would seem some change has occurred this is not nearly enough to change the outlook for care leavers when looking towards university. This change cannot occur if only some but not all universities actually listen to the voices of those in care.

All universities, including higher tariff universities, should hold a responsibility towards ensuring the support they offer is clear and consistent. Care leavers have enough to consider in terms of the financial, social and personal barriers to university and should not have to consider a universities own policy as an additional obstacle.  




Robin’s blog two years on from the Care Review

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