Additional support ‘key ingredient’ for academic success

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The Fostering Network has today launched this year’s ‘Tick the Box’ campaign, which is urging care experienced young people to access the additional support available to them at university, at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. 

By ‘ticking the box’ on their UCAS form to identify that they are care experienced will enable A-level students in foster care to benefit from a range of additional support at university. This support ranges from financial assistance to equipment and help with accommodation, with each university having their own support packages for care leavers.

The Fostering Network Northern Ireland’s Fostering Achievement scheme, delivered on behalf of the Health and Social Care Board, provides educational support and resources to more than 1,300 looked after children and young people each year. This includes one-to-one tuition, computers, software and access to a range of programmes - including a residential ‘taster’ at the University of Ulster.

Some 22 young people who completed A-levels this year, having received support from the Fostering Achievement scheme, attained grades which will enable them to access further or higher education. These young people are now in their first year of courses such as medicine, architecture, psychology, art and social work at higher education institutions across the UK.

Margaret Kelly, director of The Fostering Network Northern Ireland, said: “We’re incredibly proud of these young people, many of whom have already achieved so much. Given the challenges they’ve dealt with in their lives so far, they should feel particularly proud of their success and unafraid to reach out for that little bit of additional help.

“Going away to university is a massive step, whether you’re care experienced or not, but without family support it can be even tougher. There’s no stigma attached to ticking the box, but it does leave the door open for additional help if the going gets tough.”

Find out more about the Tick the Box campaign on our website.