Here is a snapshot of activities we've recently organised:
'Spotlight on Uni' Spring School
In April 2015, 20 young people in care (aged 14-19 years old) and 8 care leavers (including Care Ambassadors and HE Ambassadors) participated in the 3-day Spring School residential. The residential, run in collaboration with Hampshire County Council's Children's Services, aims to provide young people from a care background an experience of university life and realise the HE opportunities available to them.
This year the residential included a CSI themed day of activities looking at forensics, policing, criminology and psychology with students and lecturers, a murder mystery evening – where participants had to put their investigative skills to the test. On day 2 participants took part in career based taster sessions in the morning, whilst in the afternoon they visited YMCA Fairthorne Manor Activity Centre.
During the visit they found out more about careers and apprenticeships in outdoor education whilst pushing their team working, communication and leadership skills in a number of team challenges, some even challenged their own fears of heights on tackling the Jacobs Ladder or Crate Challenge, and everyone had the chance to let off steam on the bouncy pillow – a giant sized multi-colour trampoline-like structure.
Feedback from participants:
- "Very well set up, there wasn't a moment that I felt bored"
- 94% rated the Spring School 'Excellent' or 'Very good'
- 94% also said they would like to come back next year!
- "The residential was excellent because everyone was very friendly and helpful"
Brighter Futures Fun Day
On Saturday 7 March, the university and Hampshire County Council Children's Services held a new event for younger foster children, those aged 11-13 years old, and their foster families. The day which included numerous arts and crafts, alongside circus skills workshops led by Street Arts alumni 'Magic Dan', enabled foster children and their carers a chance to interact and find out more about university. Foster carers also had a forum about how to support looked after children in education, whilst the children discussed ways foster carers and schools could help and support them to achieve.
Traineeship Plus Plus is a programme run by Hampshire County Council to support Hampshire Care Leavers and other young people by providing extended work experience opportunities within Hampshire County Council. The University works with staff from Hampshire County Council to provide a work-ready programme which ensures the Trainees are ready for the responsibilities of paid employment and are familiar with Hampshire County Council. Several cohorts of young people have been through the programme and moved on to employment.
Further information on Traineeship Plus is available on the Hampshire County Council website and can be accessed by clicking here.
Support for careleaver Undergraduates
King Alfred Scholarship
The University provides tailored support to all full-time undergraduate students from a background in care, including a financial support package, designated Welfare Adviser, support with financial planning and budgeting, and accommodation in University housing for the duration of their course.
The University provides a King Alfred Scholarship - click here to find out more.
In 2006, the University of Winchester signed a Compact Agreement with Hampshire Children's Services to encourage more young people leaving care to progress to University. The Agreement gives careleaver applicants additional credit for achievement in areas of experience other than the ones measured through usual examinations. This recognises the fact that many young people in the care system experience disruption to their education through no fault of their own, and that as a result their educational qualifications may not fully reflect their potential to succeed at university.
The Agreement extends the close partnership which has already been built between the University of Winchester and Hampshire Children's Services. This has included training for staff at the University to meet the needs of care leavers, as well as residential summer schools, taster days and activities at the University specifically targeted at raising the educational aspirations of young people in care.
"The University of Winchester has been very supportive. If it wasn't for the staff at the University I would never have had the confidence to apply.The level of support received is fantastic and it's given me confidence to know that I have such an excellent support network behind me."