CASCADE are working with CLASS Cymru and The Rees Foundation to develop a website that will help care experienced people and those who work with them to find all the information they need about university.
Care experienced young people in Wales and the UK experience significantly poorer outcomes than their peers who do not have experience of social care, in areas including health, poverty, and education (Mannay et al., 2017; OFFA, 2017). However, despite a greater understanding of the barriers that this group face in continuing their education to university level, there has been little evidence of whether this support is effective, with much of the existing evidence being relevant to England (Ambrose et at., 2021; Styrnol et al., 2021; Harrison, 2017) and Scotland (O’Neill et al., 2019) rather than Wales.
Alongside a wider project which aims to understand HEI interventions in Wales that target care experienced young people, this project will action the development of an online, information-sharing resource to help support care experienced young people in Wales progress to university. Highlighted by research participants as a potential way to improve knowledge about, and access to, university, this will build on the project’s preliminary findings.
Activities and Methods
Previous studies and ongoing research have highlighted that information, advice and guidance are key in supporting under-represented groups, including those with care experience, to continue their education and access university (Allnatt, 2018; Brady and Gilligan, 2018; 2019; 2020; Mannay et al., 2015; 2016; 2017).
Emerging findings from a current Fellowship project, as well as those from a recent project on care leavers and COVID-19 which included care experienced young people in higher education (Roberts at al. 2020; 2021a, 2021b), demonstrate the importance of reliable information for care experienced young people exploring access to Higher Education, and the practitioners who support these young people to enter university.
Seeking to address this issue in Wales, Uni-care will be a website comprising of key information designed to help support care experienced young people in Wales as they progress to university. With clear, simple guidance, this will be a one-stop-shop for both professionals and young people themselves to find relevant guidance and information to effectively support this key period of transition. Resources will be tailored to specific audiences to aid understanding.
Aim and objectives
- To design and build a practical website offering information, advice and guidance for care experienced young people and those who support them to facilitate their transition to higher education.
- To use preliminary research findings to develop content relevant to key user groups: care experienced young people, social workers, education staff (at school, FE and HE level), foster carers.
- To co-produce multi-modal content alongside these user groups.
- To commission the design of a simple, user-friendly website to host this content.
- To conduct preliminary evaluation of this website.
On the 26th October 2022, the CLASS Cymru website was launched with an in-person event at Cardiff University’s Centre for Student Life. The website, based on the findings of Dr Hannah Bayfield’s fellowship project (https://cascadewales.org/research/understanding-the-higher-education-experiences-of-care-experienced-young-people-in-wales-towards-a-model-of-best-practice/), has been co-developed with care-experienced young people and practitioners across Wales, with these groups contributing to both content and design of the site. Preliminary evaluation of the website and its usage will take place across 2023.
|Principal Investigator||Hannah Bayfield|
|Related Schools||Cardiff University School of Social Sciences|
|Related partners||CLASS Cymru; The Rees Foundation|
|Funders||Cardiff University Innovation for All|
|Related documents||Understanding the higher education experiences of care-experienced young people in Wales: Towards a model of best practice|