GHWY launches e-learning to help HE staff support care-experienced and estranged students 

Students who come from a care-experienced background or who are estranged from their families have unique challenges when they enter Higher Education (HE). In order to raise awareness of how best to offer support to the young people, Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) has produced a free e-learning course. 

The training is aimed at staff at all levels working within HE who may come into contact with students that have come through the care system or are estranged from their families. This includes tutors and people who work at a help desk. 

Its aim is to help participants to support students who come into HE from a care experienced background or those who are estranged. It also considers the challenges that the young people may face, including financial difficulties and mental health issues. Many of these points are illustrated through the use of student voice. 

The course will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. It covers the following topics: 

  • Understanding experiences of care experienced and estranged students
  • Understanding how this may impact their time in HE
  • Understanding how to support these students
  • Where to find more information and resources

There is a need for greater understanding because only a relatively low number of young people in care currently progress to HE, with a higher rate not completing their studies compared to peers. There is also a lack of understanding about the impact of estrangement. It is hoped that by training HE staff to better support them, the young people will be enabled to succeed in HE. 

Access our Understanding and Supporting Care Experienced and Estranged Students e-learning.  

The course was piloted in April 2022 with HE staff from two of our members: Leeds Beckett University and University Centre Leeds. It has been updated in response to feedback to make sure it meets the needs of its target learning base. 

It was developed as an output of our Action Group to Support Care-Experienced and Estranged Students, which includes representation from many of our 13 member institutions.  

The training also aligns with our other activities to support this group of young people, including our collaborative Care Leaver Covenant and Stand Alone Pledge. These documents are aimed at care-experienced young people and students studying without family support respectively. They raise awareness of the support available for them across our members including whether they have named contacts, dedicated webpages, and additional financial support.