Care Experienced, Estranged, and Student Carers

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is proud to be a corporate parent. We are committed to improving the lives of care experienced young people and aim to provide (corporate) parental support to ensure that students who are care experienced are not disadvantaged.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland acknowledges that some of its students are carers.  This could involve having the responsibility of looking after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled, misuses drugs or alcohol, or has mental health issues.

Some quick definitions if helpful:

  • Care experienced: means a person has spent time living with foster carers under local authority care, in residential care (e.g. a children’s home), looked after at home under a supervision order, or in kinship care (looked after by relatives or friends). You can learn more about this through UCAS
  • Estranged: means that the person doesn’t have support from their parents (biological, step or adoptive) due to a breakdown in their relationship. There are many reasons why someone becomes estranged, which could include (but are not limited to): being homeless/at risk of homelessness, being a victim of domestic abuse by family members, having experienced/been threatened with ‘honour’-based violence or forced marriage or being disowned/rejected for being LGBTQ+ or because of life choices which parents disagree with. You can learn more about this through UCAS

 

I’m Care Experienced, what financial help can I get?

If you’re unsure whether you qualify to receive the Care-Experienced Students Bursary for Scottish students at undergraduate level, these FAQs will help.  All students might find this leaflet useful Care experienced Applicants Leaflet

If you’re wanting to progress to a Masters level course then there is no additional support available for Care Experienced students other than what is offered to non-Care Experienced students.  However, remember that Care Experienced students are a priority group within the HE Discretionary Fund so you could apply for help with everyday living costs should you need it.

You can read all about the support available and the staff who deliver it as well as some student stories at: https://www.rcs.ac.uk/why_rcs/learn-from-the-best/supporting-you/ and  https://www.rcs.ac.uk/fair_access/fair-access/corporate-parenting/

 

The following events/organisations may be of interest:

Who Cares? Scotland, 

Helpline is open 12noon to 4pm Monday to Friday.  Phone 0330 107 7540 or email help@whocaresscotland.org

Their helpline offers the following:

  • Connection with Who Cares? Scotland
  • Support and signposting around finances, benefits, housing, health, employment, education, and rights
  • Lifelong advocacy
  • A listening ear

 

The This Is Us student-led community

This is a new dedicated and safe online space for estranged and care-experienced students* (and recent graduates) in the UK to connect, share info, arrange meet-ups and more! It’s free, national, and open to all ages & years of study.

This space aims to help join up the dots and let students create their own things, but we are not trying to duplicate what already exists – so the community signposts out to existing events and meet-ups. If you have an opportunity you’d like included, or want to talk more about care experienced and estranged students, just let me know. You can read more about it all here: This is our community = Unite Foundation (thisisusatuni.org)

Life Changes Trust
https://www.lifechangestrust.org.uk/young-people-care-experience
• An national organisation running a number of projects on various topics, including housing, rights and equality, creative activity, workforce development, grants and peer mentoring.

 

Become Charity
https://www.becomecharity.org.uk/
• Care Advice Line, free phone or via email
• Care Factsheets for Young People, free to download via website, on lots of different topics such as contact people, managing money, knowing your rights etc.
• Life Coaching for Young People, free for care leavers aged between 16-25, register via website.

 

Propel (Scotland)
https://propel.org.uk/Scotland/?country=scotland
• Information on what support is available for care leavers going into higher education.
• Search for a institution by name, subject or location, to see what support is available (e.g. application help, accommodation, funding, bursaries, financial advice etc.)

 

Rees Foundation
https://www.reesfoundation.org/financial-assistance.html
• “Projects” provide support on lots of different topics such as financial assistance and grants, crisis payments, support for higher education, careers coaching, housing, peer networks and more.
• Helpline available by phone Mon – Fri 9-5, or by email

 

Coram Voice
https://coramvoice.org.uk/
• Advocacy help line, to tell you about your rights and give advice on situations
• Independent Visitor programme – paired with someone who spends time with you (subject to COVID-19)

 

The Care Leavers’ Association
https://www.careleavers.com/
• Provides legal advice and advocacy support on any aspect of leaving care, contact carrie.wilson@careleavers.com
• Leaving Care guide, free to download here
• Receiving support in Further Education, such as financial support. More information here

 

Centrepoint
https://centrepoint.org.uk/
• Provides homeless young people with accommodation, health support and life skills
• Free help line via phone or email. More information here

 

Mind
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/for-children-and-young-people/finding-support/
• Mental health information and support
• Offers a helpline, online community, guides and tip sheets.

 

I am a student carer, what support can I get?

Speak to your Head of Department/Programme to make them aware of your situation.  If you need any adjustments to be put in place to allow for your caring responsibilities, then they will be able to discuss this with you.  You can also speak to the International and Student Experience team in the AAS office.  Please ask for Pauline McCluskey in the first instance.

If you need further information and support you can go to:

  • Your Support Your Way Glasgow website has an abundance of information regarding carers & their rights.    You can book an online referral via the following form.
  •  Carers Trust Scotland have just produced a Toolkit Young Carers in Education A Resource on Identifying and Supporting Young Carers in Education call the Carers Information Line on 0141 353 6504

 

Estranged Students

Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of a family network. Young people in this position have removed themselves from a dysfunctional situation and often have no contact at all with their family. These situations can be caused by:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Mismatched expectations about family roles and relationships
  • A clash of personality or values including social and cultural expectations

RCS have signed the Stand Alone Pledge and are now working towards better supporting our estranged students.  If you find yourself estranged from your family during your course, UCAS offers information on where to go to for information and advice as does the StandAlone charity.  Please also think about talking to the International and Student Experience Team in the AAS office if you would like some support.  Sarah or Pauline are happy to talk to you and can be contacted via Teams if you’d like to speak face-to-face or at welfare@rcs.ac.uk

If you’re struggling financially, the HE Discretionary Fund gives priority to estranged students who are in financial need.  Please see the Funding and Finance page of the portal for instructions on how to apply.

There are some useful resources/campaigns as follows:

Signup to receive a Christmas Card!
Holiday periods can be a very lonely time for students with no families to go home to, especially this year. To help spread a little love and solidarity, StandAlone are running a handwritten festive/Christmas cards scheme for all estranged and care experienced students (and recent graduates)! There is a short google form to sign up which is: https://forms.gle/YC9EcMHAzCf5oogg8

 

A national Pen Pal Exchange:
There is a Pen Pal Exchange for people to connect with other care experienced people and estranged students/estranged-adult-offspring. Estranged and care experienced students can access the signup via a Survey Monkey link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PTRNMJ8

 

Standalone
https://www.standalone.org.uk/students/
• Provides advice and support for all people experienced estrangement.
• A huge range of resources, support groups, workshops and a programme to connect people for ongoing support
• Specific advice for estranged students
• Funding advice for estranged students including funding bodies such as SAAS and Student Finance

 

UCAS
https://www.ucas.com/estranged-students
• Step by step support for estranged students applying through UCAS

 

SAAS 
https://www.saas.gov.uk/guides/estranged-students

• Step by step guidance from student funding for estranged students from Scotland

 

Buttle
https://www.buttleuk.org/areas-of-focus/young-people
• Provides funding support for estranged people aged 16-20 pursuing education

 

Centrepoint
https://centrepoint.org.uk/
• Provides homeless young people with accommodation, health support and life skills
• Free help line via phone or email. More information here

 

Mind
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/for-children-and-young-people/finding-support/
• Mental health information and support
• Offers a helpline, online community, guides and tip sheets.