LJMU ‘deserves the highest praise for their success’ according to the Minister for Higher and Further Education, after it was the first of only four institutions to be awarded the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) Quality Mark.
The benchmark acknowledges the inclusion and success of care experienced students at the university – the first outside of the initial pilot scheme to receive the award.
LJMU was rated as ‘enhanced’ for all areas and ‘exceptional’ in the case of how it relates to students before they begin their studies, reflecting the joined-up approach to access and support between Student Recruitment & Admissions and Student Advice & Wellbeing Services.
A webinar this week celebrated the achievement and Phil Bakstad, LJMU Student Inclusion Lead, shared insight into the seven themes the university was assessed on to achieve the award and how plans for future activities will help care leavers as they progress through their time at the university.
“Our submission for the NNECL Quality Mark was a truly cross-institutional project, covering all aspects of the student life cycle to ensure a joined-up approach to supporting our care experienced students.” Phil added: “It was great to be able to share some of our learning from the process with other colleagues during the webinar. We’re now looking forward to getting to work on key elements of our action plan.”
In a message shared during the webinar, Michelle Donelan, Minister for Higher and Further Education, reiterated her support for the initiative.
“One of the themes that has come out loud and proud in my conversations with care-experienced and estranged students is that there are many who have the ability to succeed in higher education, but sadly do not get what they need to be a success.
“That is something which must be addressed because, as I have long-argued, it is not enough to simply get students through the door. It is about supporting them once at university with high-quality courses which guide them towards a skilled career and successful future.
“That is why I am delighted to see NNECL’s Quality Mark zero in on getting the right information to students on the academic and pastoral support available to them along with tailored mentoring and financial advice.
“The institutions that have achieved the Quality Mark today deserve the highest praise for their success.”
Patricia Ambrose, NNECL Director, added: “Many congratulations to this new group of institutions achieving the Quality Mark. All have ably demonstrated their commitment to care experienced students and provided inspiring examples of the types of high quality and personalised support they provide.”
John Lennon 'Imagine' Awards
LJMU runs an award-winning John Lennon 'Imagine' Awards scheme offering care leavers £1,000 per year and providing individualised support from ‘application through to graduation and beyond’.
Students can access 1-2-1 advice at any time on funding, accommodation and academic work, have a guaranteed first-year place in student halls in and out of term-time. Further, LJMU liaises with external agencies that students might be supported by.