St Andrews receives Buttle UK Quality Mark for commitment to supporting care leavers

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Photo: Sammi McKee

The University of St Andrews has received the Buttle UK Quality Mark for Care Leavers, given to institutions in recognition of their work in supporting one of the most under-represented groups in education in the UK.

The Quality Mark is awarded to colleges and universities committed to supporting a young person who has been in care, to access further and higher education, successfully complete their studies and achieve their ambitions.

To receive its Quality Mark the University of St Andrews had to demonstrate that it has a robust strategy in place to ensure that students from a care background can access a package of support – financial, pastoral and educational.

The University can also offer 365-day-a-year accommodation to care leavers and has a dedicated care leaver support coordinator to provide help, advice and guidance for young people who are leaving care.

Mike Johnson, the University’s director of access and Scottish/EU Admissions, said: “We are delighted that Buttle UK have recognised the work we do in the area of Looked After Children and we fully intend to make good the commitments we have made in this area.”

The University is also committing to other types of work in order to provide support such as working with schools and FE colleges to promote the advantages of a Higher Education.

The award was recognised by Ken Greer, Fife Council’s Executive Director for Education and Learning and Cllr Lesley Laird, Chair of Fife’s Corporate Parent Board. She said: “I am delighted that such a prestigious University as St Andrews has been awarded the Buttle UK Quality Mark for their commitment to Looked After Young People and care leavers locally in Fife as well as nationally.

“The Corporate Parent Board is pleased to be supporting the work they are planning to undertake with Fife’s Looked After Young People as we share a desire to offer every opportunity we can to our young people to support their learning and aspirations.”

Susan Mueller, Buttle UK’s Quality Mark Manager said that St Andrews had “amply displayed its dedication and initiative to helping young people leaving care to receive an education and have the opportunity to succeed and move on to the next stage of their lives.”

The award was created by the charity Buttle UK, the largest grant-giving organisation in the country directly supporting children and families living in poverty.

The Quality Mark is supported by a grant by many organisations such as UCAS, Association of Colleges (AOC),Scottish Funding Council and from Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

There are currently eight universities in Scotland that are recognised as Buttle Quality Mark Universities. This year The Quality Mark for Care Leavers celebrates their 60 years of giving young people a fighting chance against poverty.

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