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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

SNP Government Improves Access to Education for Care-experienced Students

The SNP Government will provide an opportunity for care experienced people to attend college or university. From autumn 2020, more care-experienced students will be eligible for an annual £8,100 a year bursary when the upper age limit of 26 is removed. The Care Experienced Bursary has already had significant uptake, with more than 1,000 higher education applicants for the current academic term. The move comes after Scotland’s higher education institutions announced care-experienced applicants who meet minimum entry requirements will be guaranteed an offer of an undergraduate place at university. Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead MSP said: People with experience of care often do not feel ready to start further or higher education immediately after leaving school. We want to support them into either further or higher education at whatever point in life they feel they are ready, no matter what age they are.

Supporting care-experienced people is a key aim and our analysis shows the removal of the age cap will benefit hundreds of prospective students from next year.” Kevin Browne-MacLeod, Director at Who Cares? Scotland said: It is really encouraging that the SNP Government listened to our call and implemented this change.

We believe that there is a need for systemic change and a radical shift in how we care for young people. We are encouraged that change is being implemented for those Care Experienced people who need it, today.” Kenneth Gibson MSP added: If we want to give everyone an equal start in life, it is imperative that we look after those of us who are care-experienced. Only two weeks ago, it was announced that, for the new Scottish Job Start Payment to be launched this spring, young people who are care leavers will be eligible until their 26th birthday and do not have to meet the 6 months requirement for unemployment or receipt of a qualifying benefit. The SNP Government will also extend entitlement to funded early learning and childcare provision to 2 year olds whose parents are care-experienced. The 2019/20 Programme for Government furthermore contains the commitment to extend eligibility for free NHS dental care to care-experienced people between the ages of 18 and 26 to reduce the negative impacts that poor dental health can have on physical health, mental wellbeing and self confidence. These are just some of the measures being taken by the SNP Government to make life better for those in Scotland who are care-experienced.”

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