Memorandum submitted by Sally Brown, Pro-Vice-Chancellor
Assessment, Learning and Teaching, Inder Hunjan, Access and Community
Development Manager and Katrina Kennedy Widening Participation
project manager, Leeds Metropolitan University
Some comments from Leeds Metropolitan University
about how we work with children leaving foster care to study at
Since September 2006 the Get Ahead Team at Leeds
Metropolitan University have expanded their work with young people
in public care. The "Next Step" programme support young
people in care enabling them to participate in Higher Education
activities, in order to create opportunities for the future. The
project is run in partnership with Education Leeds and Leeds Social
It is agreed that while children in public care
are no more or less able than the general population, their educational
success is extremely low. Pupils is public care are 13 times more
likely than other pupils to be excluded from school. Key stage
tests show poor results for younger children in care, and Government
figures show that only 43% of children leaving care in England
aged 16 or over had at least one GCSE or GNVQ. Only 6% were achieving
five good GCSEs, compared with around half of all young people,
and only 1% go on to university.
The failure to perform well in education is
linked to the lack of stability in the young peoples' lives and
the tendency to be moved frequently between homes and schools.
Research has shown that this severely undermines confidence and
self-motivation which impacts negatively on attainment and progression
The "Get Ahead" widening participation
team at Leeds Met have devised the following programme of events
to address these issues and make a positive impact in the lives
of these young people. The programme of events includes:
Student Ambassadors from the University mentored
young people from years 10 and 11 every Tuesday afternoon at South
Leeds Learning Centre. Participants work with the same student
mentors each week which provides them with a stable contact, often
lacking within their lives. Sessions include activities such as:
Help with GCSE coursework and revision.
Group work and positive identity.
Revision techniques and past papers.
Saturday Study Skills
The aim was to encourage a positive attitude
to study through fun and interactive workshops.
The study skills sessions aim to foster a positive
attitude to study through sessions on revision techniques, mind
mapping, time management, effective note taking, writing essays
and completing coursework.
Sessions facilitated by staff from the Get Ahead
team assisted by a team of student ambassadors. Teachers from
specific subjects were also invited to give extra input on their
Among our ambassadors is a young man who first
encountered Leeds met through one of our summer schools, then
came to study as an undergraduate, then undertook a Masters degree
with us. He is currently helping to make a video about "Looked
after" children entering higher education for use with schools
and in our own Freshers festival.
To encourage participation in the events the
activities were designed to be interactive and fun.
To complement the sessions and encourage team
work and group bonding each session concluded with a social event
which included an evening meal.
Family days, which are currently held each half
term, this introduced young people and carers to a university
The days are made up of fun and interactive
activities which encourage young people to view the facilities
at the university and work together.
The days also provided an opportunity to inform
carers about progression into Higher Education.
Easter Revision Programme
Each year the Get Ahead team facilitate an Easter
Revision Programme entitled "Reaching for A*". This
is a three-day GCSE revision programme, which helps Year 11 pupils
prepare for their forthcoming exams. Advanced skills teachers
assisted by student tutors provide the classes which cover the
core subjects of Maths, English and Science. The young people
on the programme were sign posted to this activity.
The Higher Education Summer School is part of
the established programme of Get Ahead events. It brings together
young people from across the Yorkshire region to enjoy a wide
range of events and activities designed to give a taster of university
The Summer School forms part of the government
Aimhigher initiative which aims to increase the motivation, aspiration
and attainment of young people who are judged to have high ability
but whose background is such that they might not consider applying
for Higher Education.
Participants from "The Next Step"
initiative will be invited to the HE Summer School as part of
their ongoing aspiration raising programme.
The events will concluded with the opportunity
to attend a one day event in the Dales countryside attending the
Learning to Listen school.
A celebratory certificate ceremony for both
the mentors and mentees has been arranged by Education Leeds and
Leeds Social Services at the Novotel in Leeds for Friday 6 July.