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Higher Education: Children in Care

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 21 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if his Department will take steps to encourage children in local authority care to apply for admission to university. (308154)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government are committed to widening participation of young people in care in higher education. To this end we have placed a requirement on local authorities to pay a £2,000 bursary to all care leavers who pursue a recognised course of higher education. This entitlement has been publicised through the National Care Advisory Service, which provides advice and support for children and young people aged 13-25 in and from care, and the 2008/09 Aim Higher Tutor’s Resource Materials for young people in years 12 and 13 produced by the then Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

All local authorities have a duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote the educational achievement of the children and young people they look after. As part of this duty, statutory guidance sets out the importance of creating a culture of high aspirations among children in care, which includes setting out in their personal education plans the support needed to achieve long-term goals such as the pursuit of higher education.

In addition, the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 extends the entitlement to a personal adviser for care leavers from 21 to 25 where they remain in or return to education.