This week (26 October – 1 November) is National Care Leavers Week – an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the successes of young people across the UK who are care experienced. At Cognus, we’re pleased to highlight some of the achievements of those leaving care and the support provided by our Virtual School team in helping them achieve their full potential.
Sutton Virtual School acts as a local authority champion to promote the progress and educational attainment of Children Looked After (CLA) and Previously Looked After (PCLA), so that they are able to achieve the same educational outcomes as their peers.
Kate Leyshon, Head of the Virtual School, said: “We work directly with all Sutton care leavers that are aged 16-18, in the same way as we would our younger CLA. We believe learning doesn’t stop when you leave formal education, and should be a key part of adult life as well. This is why we’re more than happy to continue to provide our care leavers with advice and guidance to support their future educational and career ambitions in life.”
Young people who we have had the pleasure of supporting, include Brian (not real name), a Sutton care leaver who has just recently started at Greenwich University studying Computer Science BA. Also, Miriam (not real name), who successfully transitioned from school to 6th form college, after doing well in her GCSE’s and hopes to continue to excel in her A levels.
Miriam’s foster carer sent us a message to say: “We really value your support in encouraging Miriam to consider university and the opportunities it will offer her for the future. Thank you for always being there for her and us, with guidance, support and resources.”
Kate Leyshon adds: “To all our care leavers, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your achievements, big or small. While the Virtual School is committed to supporting care leavers, we take no credit for your success. Like any good parent, we wish you all the best as you grow older and move on to independent living and successful careers.”
Below are just some of the ways that the Virtual School supports care leavers.
- Providing a Life Skills Programme, including Money Ready, the Virtual School’s online financial advice and guidance programme
- Supporting those still in education with educational queries, university personal statements, finance, and references
- Ongoing communications and support with their social worker or employer
- For Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC), access to FlashAcademy, an ESOL learning app that teaches English through the young person’s home language
- Working with Solent University to offer several events aimed at encouraging young people in care and care leavers to consider Higher Education as an option