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Further and Higher Education

Page last updated: 25/09/2020


The duty is to promote the education of children in care. This extends to young people aged 16 or 17 preparing to leave care. In the Children Act 1989 these are 'eligible children'.

All young people post 16 should have a PEP that is part of the preparation and review of their pathway plan. It should build on the young person's educational progress.

It should include:

  • the young person’s progress in education or training
  •  how he or she is able to access all the services needed to prepare for:
  •  training
  • further or higher education
  • employment.


  There are links with further education (FE) colleges and higher education (HE) institutions.

Care leavers receive support to find establishments that:

  • understand their needs
  • work to meet the requirements of looked after children and care leavers.


Supporting Young people in Care in Schools and Colleges Post 16.


Considering University?

Unite Foundation​ has free university accommodation for the whole time at uni - 365 day accommodation at a selection of universities for care leavers. Free year-round student accommodation flyer and  Unite Foundation additional information​ for further details.

University Scholarship

Further supporting documentation


National Network for the Education of Care Leavers

Supporting our young people into Higher Education is a priority. A successful bid to HEFCE to improve access to information about HE has led to the development of a new website which will act as a single point of information for Virtual Schools, social workers, foster parents and other professionals who have responsibility for the educational outcomes and progression of young people in care or leaving care. The funding to develop the website has been secured from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) through the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO), a £22 million scheme aimed to encourage more young people into higher education (HE). NNECL is one of three national networks to win funding and is the only network focusing on the progression of children in care into further and higher education.​

The website has been developed by the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL), a network of further and higher education institutions and national organisations including The Careleavers’ Association, The Who Cares? Trust and the National Union of Students.  Working together NNECL aims to transform the progression of young people in or leaving care into and through further and higher education, by championing the continuous improvement of local practice, multi-agency partnerships and national collaboration.

The website includes a directory of events, including taster days, mentoring programmes, summer schools and also CPD events for professionals; all delivered by higher education institutions and charities across England.  Visitors to the site will be able to search by geographical radius, age range and activity type to find relevant activities in their area.  58 events have been listed on the website so far with further events being added every day.   The website also includes a resources area and news page providing up to date and high quality information relating to HE access, admissions and student support. 


Please visit National Network for the Education of Care Leaversfor further information.

You can also download and print this flyer​​ for display and distribution among your students​

If you have any questions about the website or the NNECL network please get in touch with Rachel Lad, Collaborative Outreach Network Manager, University of Winchester, Tel. +44 (0)1962 827688 or email​​

Careers Guidance

The ‘Skills Evidence Base’ is a good source of information for schools in assisting careers guidance professionals. The was produced by the Essex Employment and Skills Board and includes both district profiles and profiles of key industry sectors in the county.  

For general information about careers please visit The National Careers Service website​.

For current information on apprenticeships please visit the National Apprenticeship​ website.

Higher Education

There is a bursary of £2,000 when going on to study a recognised Higher Education (post 18 education, such as university) and that arrangements for the payment of the bursary are agreed by the young person as part of the overall package of support that a local authority provides to its care leavers.​

Become - the charity for children in care and young care leavers

Become​, formerly known as 'Who Cares Trust'  has an extensive website of resources and support for children and young people in care and care leavers.

Apprenticeship Bursary

New support for young care leavers starting an apprenticeship

Care leavers who choose to start an apprenticeship will receive a £1000 bursary to help the transition into the workplace.

DfE May 2018 


Each eligible care leaver should be informed of the 16-19 Bursary Fund​ available whilst in further education. The Student Bursary Support Service​portal enables young parents and childcare providers to manage Care to Learn applications. Further information is available from​

Education institutions can manage Care to Learn applications and/or Vulnerable Student Bursary claims.

Propel - help, support and advice

Propel​ is brought to you by Become, the charity for children in care and young care leavers.