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The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has awarded Who Cares? Scotland up to £207,571 in funding to continue its work in higher and further education over the next two academic years.

Who Cares? Scotland is an independent, representative organisation in Scotland for care experienced people.

The funding will support it to work with college and university staff to improve the outcomes of care experienced learners, and was announced by Fiona Burns, Assistant Director of SFC’s Access and Outcomes team at the ‘Celebrating Care Experienced Learners and Their Corporate Parents’ Conference.

“SFC’s National Ambition for care experienced students is that by 2021-22 there is no difference between the outcomes of care experienced students compared to their peers,” she said.

“Who Cares? Scotland has a unique and respected track record in the field of training, education and influencing systemic change for the benefit of care experienced people. We’re very pleased to be able to offer this funding to enable them to continue their work to ensure care experienced learners are better supported on their journeys through college or university.”

Among other targets, the funding will go towards increasing care experienced learners’ understanding and access to employment opportunities after college and university, as well as reducing the number of those having to repeat SCQF levels unnecessarily.

Who Cares? Scotland’s Claudia Macdonald, Director of Influencing said:

 “We are so pleased to continue working in partnership with Care Experienced people and the further and higher education sector, because of this continued support from SFC.” 

“Over the past four years, significant developments have been made with and on behalf of care experienced learners. However, we know there is still more to be done to ensure their educational journey is one they have control over, enjoy and which promises to take them to the destination they want. We are committed to doing everything we can to secure this”.  

SFC has also commissioned the Centre for Excellence for Looked after Children in Scotland (CELCIS) to conduct a survey of care-experienced students currently enrolled at colleges and universities in Scotland. 

The survey will seek students’ views on transitions, support, early leaving and the student experience, and its findings will help inform SFC and others about the views of current care-experienced students in relation to their engagement with study, their social and emotional wellbeing, and the support they receive.

Dr Graham Connelly, who is leading the research in CELCIS, said:

“We’re delighted that the SFC is supporting this research. Hearing directly from students about what helps and what hinders them in further and higher education is crucial in supporting colleges and universities to do more of what works, and to make sure every student has equity of access, regardless of their background”

Fiona Burns said:

“The results of this survey will help people better understand care experienced students’ engagement with college and university education in Scotland – and more importantly, tell us how we can improve the work we do alongside these institutions and organisations like Who Cares? Scotland to improve outcomes for care experienced students.”

The survey will open towards the end of November and will be accessible on the CELCIS website.

Once the survey is live we’ll be sending out information on how to access it via our website and social media so please keep an eye out if you’re a student with care experience or know someone who is.