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A duty of educational care

Published: 21 Mar 2016 14:00
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University places to be made available for young people with experience of care.

An offer of a university place will be made available for young people with care experience in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

It follows the publication of a report from the Commission on Widening Access which set out a range of actions to ensure a student's background is not a barrier to their education.

The Scottish Government will work with universities to ensure an offer of a university place will be made to young people with care experience who meet the minimum entry standards and want to go to university from 2017/18.

Ms Sturgeon was speaking to an audience of over 450 young people at the Ask the First Minister event which took place in association with youth organisation YoungScot.

Making the announcement at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, the First Minister said:

"We are working to ensure that every young person in Scotland has a fair chance to study at university, take a modern apprenticeship or gain experience in the workplace.

"We know that young people who have care experience are six times less likely to go on to higher education than other young people.

"We will ensure that young people who have experience of care, and who meet the minimum entry standards, will be offered a place at university and, in addition to ensuring they have free tuition like all students, we will support them with a full bursary, currently £7,625, from 2017/18.

"This step which provides extra, targeted help to those who most need it is emblematic of our wider approach. I want every young person in Scotland – regardless of gender, wealth, or their family circumstances – to have a fair chance to succeed."

In addition, the First Minister confirmed she fully endorses another of the report's recommendations which calls for a network of academic bridging programmes to be developed across the country.

These schemes, similar to summer schools, would allow disadvantaged learners between school and college and university to showcase their potential, top-up their attainment and boost their chances of admission.

She added:

"This Scottish Government will continue our work to build an education system that never gives up on young people, that always delivers opportunity and that never closes a door.

"The Scottish Government is investing in childcare, school attainment, youth employment, modern apprenticeships and free university tuition. We want every young person to know that if you work hard enough, you can pursue your dreams."