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Ambitions & priorities: Care experience

Attracting more young people in care, those from a looked after background and care leavers to further and higher education is a priority for SFC as part of our overall strategy to ensure fair access. 

Widening access

We use the term care experienced to include anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked after background at any stage in their life. It includes people who have been in foster care, kinship care, and those who are looked after at home with a supervision requirement.  

National ambition for care experienced students

SFC has a national ambition for care experienced students for the college and university sectors and our partners to address the under-representation and poor educational outcomes for this group.

SFC has made a commitment to improve these outcomes and our ambition is that by 2021 there is no difference between the outcomes of care experienced students compared to their peers. We have set up a Governance Group to track progress and hold SFC and our partners to account. Anyone wishing to see papers from previous meetings, to attend the Group or with queries about it, should contact Nick Stansfeld, email:

We have been collecting data on care experienced students since 2013-14. During 2015-16 there were 2,138 student enrolments from a care experienced background in the college sector, and 286 undergraduate entrants in the university sector. View a breakdown of these figures [PDF]

Outcome agreements

We ask colleges and universities to demonstrate their commitment to care experienced students through their Outcome Agreement. See our Outcome Agreements Guidance for further information.

We expect universities to commit fully to the Commission on Widening Access recommendations, especially No. 21 which ensures that every care experienced applicant meeting the entry requirements will be offered a place at a Scottish university.  

SFC funding

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 [PDF] requires all colleges and universities to act as “corporate parents” to ensure care experienced students receive the best possible support and care. We fund Who Cares? Scotland to deliver corporate parent training to all colleges and universities to help them deliver on their legal responsibilities.

We also fund Become, which aims to increase the number of care experienced young people entering and staying in further and higher education. Their website Propel shows the support provided by different institutions in Scotland.

We signed the Who Cares? Scotland Pledge to Listen and supports MCR Pathways by encouraging our staff to volunteer to mentor young people with experience of care in Glasgow.

Useful links