Author: Louise Starks (York Consulting on behalf of Buttle UK)
Statistics show that the number of students coming in to Higher Education (HE)1 from a care background remains extremely low across the UK. For example in 2011 in England the figures suggest that 6% of care leavers at the age of 19 were in HE and in Scotland, the rate is lower, at just 2%2 . Comparable figures for these two countries show participation rates in HE among all 19 year olds to be much higher at 33% and 42% respectively. In 2000 Buttle UK commissioned research to understand the barriers experienced by care leavers going into HE. These included issues with financial independence, accommodation and personal support needs. The findings of this research informed Buttle UK’s design of the key elements of the Buttle UK Quality Mark (BQM) framework. The BQM has been available since 2006. In September 2012, Buttle UK commissioned York Consulting to undertake an evaluation of the impact of the BQM in HE. The BQM is awarded to institutions that can demonstrate that they are developing a robust institution-wide approach to support students coming to university from a care background.