At Halesowen College we recognise that students have different living circumstances. Some may live with parents, family members, carers or may be living independently or with support. We want to make sure that our students are given the right support from the moment they apply to study with us.
We use the term care experience to cover a range of different living circumstances young people have. You may have heard of the following terms:
You may have or have had, a social worker, a personal advisor (PA) an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) or maybe you remember attending meetings called Looked After Child (LAC) reviews or Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings.
If any of these sound familiar to you and your living circumstances, we at Halesowen College consider you care experienced.
We recognise that this might not be something all young people want to share, as they may be worried about who will know they are care experienced.
At Halesowen College, we pride ourselves on making sure all young people feel they can share in a safe place. Only the key people at college will know that you are care experienced this will include our Safeguarding team link here. Your Student Support Manager, Personal Coach, and key members of the Learner Hub. All they will know is that you are or have been care experienced, but they will not know details of your individual journey unless you choose to share.
DESIGNATED TEACHER & DDSL-MANDY DOWNING
As a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL) the designated teacher ensures that any safeguarding concerns are responded to effectively. They have the responsibility for ensuring college staff understand the things which can affect how care experienced and previously care experienced young people learn and how the whole college supports the educational achievement of these learners. As a DDSL the designated teacher ensures that any safeguarding concerns are responded to effectively. They monitor attendance and any disciplinary processes for these learners. The Designated Teacher is also responsible for the coordination and monitoring of the PEP. Ensuring that all on course support is detailed throughout the PEP and made available throughout the academic year. Offering participation activities to increase inclusion in college life and beyond. They also work closely with college staff, the virtual school, social workers, parent/carers, and the young person, ensuring high aspirations are encouraged and the plan for their future success is fulfilled.
Mandy Downing – email@example.com | Tel: 0121 602 7762
Once you have declared you are care experienced you can choose to take up a range of services we have on offer. At Halesowen College, we welcome your ideas and suggestions, if you feel we could offer more or a different service, please let us know. We are committed to improving the services we offer to care experienced young people and want to make sure that the services we offer meet the different needs of our learners.
At Halesowen College we recognise that having care experience can bring on many financial challenges. We offer a bursary of up to £1,200 per year to all care experienced learners aged 16 – 19 years paid weekly; you will need a bank account in your own name to receive this. For more information, click here
Please note this can be withheld if attendance, behaviour, or attitude to learning fall below college expectations.
You will also be entitled to an additional payment of £22.50 weekly which is for use within all college retail outlets.
We also offer support with applications for additional funding from charities who support care experienced young people in education. Some of our learners have received grants of £2,250 from the Helena Kennedy Foundation whilst others have received support from the Rees Foundation who offer both financial, and employment opportunities for care experienced young people.
At Halesowen College we are committed to growing our networks with organisations who offer support for care experienced young people and we are dedicated to locating these organisations to support you whilst you are studying with us.
At Halesowen College we offer a range of enrichment activities that meet the needs of our diverse learners. Some of these will be targeted for our care experienced learners.
We work closely with universities, employers, and other services to offer you the best programme of activity whilst you are studying with us. This includes trips and events that support your education and offering fun and engaging cultural capital experiences. (Cultural capital experiences include; visiting another city to watch a West End show, visiting another city to explore a popular establishment such as a football stadium or museum)
We also deliver a programme known as RACE – Raising Aspirations from Care Experience. The RACE programme includes current learners who have care experience, who meet to discuss any areas of interest for them, areas the college can improve on (these views are shared with senior people in the college) and to share knowledge about rights and entitlements for care experienced young people. The programme also plans trips and events for those with care experience.
The RACE programme also offers opportunities for care experienced learners to become trainers. They train staff across the college and at other places such as schools and universities. The training sessions are created by care experienced young people aimed to educate adults about the experiences of children and young people in care. As a RACE trainer you could be paid for your time. You are welcome to join RACE programme at any point and join the current learners in recruiting more trainers, training staff and meeting care leavers from local universities.
Our teams in safeguarding, learner hub and careers, offer specialist advice and guidance for care experienced young people. This focuses on rights and entitlements as a care experienced young person in education. This also includes information on matters that are important to you and require you to make independent decisions in your life. Such as accommodation matters, staying with carers (staying put), moving onto independence, financial entitlements whilst a learner or apprentice and many other areas of importance. This also includes support for learners seeking asylum and for those with discretionary leave to remain.
The simple answer is no. We offer these services all year round with no obligation for you to take up. But, we do know from feedback from other care experienced young people just how beneficial some of these services have been for them. You can also get involved in some and not in others. We just want you to know what we offer and that our teams are here for you if you want to get involved in anything.
All you have to do is declare on the application form that you are care experienced using the tick box. If you have already applied or you are currently studying with us but have not declared, you or your social worker can still declare by emailing Mandy Downing.
Mandy Downing – firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 0121 602 7762