Memorandum submitted by The Foyer Federation
This response focuses on two aspects of the
Children and Young Persons Bill: The Training and Education section
of the Bill and the general lack of support arrangements in the
Bill for young people leaving care. The Foyer Federation welcomes
the bursary for children in care going on to higher education.
However, we are concerned that this bursary does not apply to
further education and non-academic choices. Furthermore, we are
calling for a duty to be imposed on local authorities to equip
children and young people in their care with the necessary life
skills to succeed in independent living when leaving care.
1.1 The Foyer Federation develops and encourages
new approaches to support young people as they make the transition
to adulthood, particularly those who are at risk through homelessness,
family breakdown or other factors. We work through a network of
over 130 accredited Foyers providing holistic services to around
10,000 young people a year around the UK. At the heart of the
Foyer approach is a formal commitment between the young person
and the Foyer. For more than a decade, we have helped develop
accredited learning programmes, initiatives in areas such as health
and wellbeing and early intervention and quality assurance. Our
campaigning and advocacy work draws directly on the experience
of young people themselves.
1.2 The Foyer Federation is now attempting
to apply the holistic Foyer approach more widely and develop new
approaches that better meet the needs of those young people whose
journey to adulthood is particularly difficult eg care leavers,
young offenders and other vulnerable young people. As part of
this the Foyer Federation has been awarded a development grant
and working capital by Futurebuilders England to expand our programme
of providing care leavers, young offenders and young people at
risk with integrated services that support their housing, employment,
education, and provide personal life choices.
1.3 The Foyer Federation and YMCA England
jointly responded to the Green Paper Care Matters: Transforming
the Lives of Children and Young People in Care, in consultation
with young people living in Foyers and YMCAs.
1.4 In this response the Foyer Federation
has chosen to focus on two aspects of the current Children and
Young Persons Bill. The first aspect relates specifically to the
Education and Training section of the Bill. The second part relates
to the general lack of support arrangements in the Bill for young
people leaving care.
2.1 The Foyer Federation welcomes the decision
to implement the bursary for children in care who is attending
or wishes to attend higher education, and furthermore welcomes
the decision that children in care will have a personal advisor
up to the age of 25, who will be able to give advice of how to
continue with further training or learning if so desired.
2.2 However, in its response to the Green
Paper the Foyer Federation recommended that a package of support
was made available alongside the bursary.
2.3 The Foyer Federation's Bursary Project
provides Foyer residents with £1,000 per year from the HEFCE
Access to Learning Fund. Since 2002, the Foyer University Bursary
Project has supported over 600 Foyer residents to enter university.
40% of students who received the bursary said that knowledge of
the scheme had influenced their decision to take up or apply for
a place in higher education. However, our experience tells us
that the additional support available to young people applying
to university has been crucial in ensuring that their applications
2.4 Furthermore, the Foyer Federation is
concerned that the bursary only applies to higher education and
does not apply to further education and non-academic choices,
such as A-Levels, BTECS and NVQs. As the Green Paper recognised,
the educational achievements of many young people leaving care
are lower than the national average, mainly due to the disruption
they have experienced in their lives. Young people who have experienced
such disruption deserve a chance to catch up with their peers,
and should therefore be supported to continue their education.
3.1 The Foyer Federation is concerned with
the lack of arrangements and duties in the Bill relating to young
people leaving care. We believe that a duty should be placed on
local authorities to equip young people in their care with the
necessary life skills to succeed in independent living and plan
for provisions when young people are leaving care.
3.2 The Foyer Federation believes that the
transition young people make from care to independence should
focus on the stage they've reached, rather than their age, and
therefore recognises that the extension for young people to remain
in care until the age of 21 is an acknowledgement of this. However,
attention and resources should also be dedicated to supporting
young people in making a positive transition beyond the care system.
We feel that a comprehensive package of activities to prepare
young people for this progression would be of wider benefit to
all young people in care.
3.3 Learning and life skills are at the
heart of the Foyer holistic ethos. These include activities that
help build confidence, self esteem and motivation and enable young
people to develop a sense of their own identity and build and
sustain meaningful relationships.
3.4 Since 2003 the Foyer Federation has
been a lead partner in the national Learning and Skills Council's
Homelessness Sector Pilot, a key outcome of which has been the
development of the Certificate in Self-Development through
Learning, a learning programme accredited by City and Guilds
and, importantly, recognised by the Qualification and Curriculum
Authority on the National Qualifications Framework. This modular
programme offers Foyer residents the opportunity to gain accreditation
through the personal development work they undertake while resident
in the Foyer.
3.5 The Foyer Federation believes that this
programme can be delivered to young people in care preparing them
for independent living, and could form part of a comprehensive
package of support that local authorities should be under a duty
to provide to young people in their care.
4.1 That consideration is given to the
fact that the bursary only applies to higher education, and excludes
further education. The Foyer Federation recommend that the Children
and Young Persons Bill is amended so that the bursary will also
be applicable to young people in care undertaking or wishing to
undertake further education or non-academic qualifications.
4.2 That a duty is placed on local authorities
to equip young people in their care with the necessary life skills
to succeed in independent living and plan for provisions when
young people are leaving care.