Care Leavers and Estranged Students

At University Centre Leeds we want everyone who wants to do a degree to be able to and are committed to helping care leavers access higher education.

We understand that young people leaving the care system may face challenges and may have very different concerns about starting a degree than other students. We are committed to improving care leavers’ choices and are here to help care leavers through application, finance, accommodation, enrolment and right through the course.

What support is available at University Centre Leeds?

To help you make informed decisions about your higher education and degree choices, we can offer:

  • Personalised tours;
  • Foster Family / Care Experienced Taster Days;
  • 1:1 Application support;
  • Contextual admissions.

To help support new students leaving care or estranged students to start full time higher education at University Centre Leeds, we offer the following financial support:

  • Care Leavers Bursary (up to £1000 awarded by University Centre Leeds);
  • Supporting the cost of interview travel and/or on-course materials (where applicable – up to 50% of costs);
  • Supporting the cost of graduation gown hire and photographs (up to 50% of costs).
  • University Centre Leeds can act as a guarantor for your student accommodation agreements.

Other support offered to care leavers and estranged students include:

  • Nominated care leavers support from the University Centre Leeds HE Welfare and Student Engagement Officer and /or a Named contact from within the Safeguarding Team;
  • Buddying and/or mentoring schemes;
  • HE Counselling and Mental Health Officer.

For more information or to discuss your concerns further, please contact our Admissions Team at

Did you know?

The local authority’s responsibility to Care Leavers extends until they reach the age of 21 (or 24 where the Local Authority is involved in supporting them in Higher Education or training).

Care leavers may be able to access support, set out in a Pathway Plan, including:

  • provision of a social worker or a personal adviser;

  • financial assistance;

  • help with accommodation;

  • benefits and budgeting advice;

  • help to develop independent skills;

  • support with education (including further education);

  • employment and training; and

  • support to access health services.

We also feature on:

Stand Alone Pledge

What is available in Leeds for Care Leavers?

There is Local Authority financial support available including paying towards accommodation and living costs.

Please go to for more information or contact Leeds City Council on 0113 378 9988 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or at

In Leeds there is a range of services for care leavers provided by the local authority, health and third sector agencies. These include:

  • Pathway Planning 13+ and co-ordination of support – within the Looked After Children Service there are teams who work with young people over the age of 13. When the young person is 16, social workers in the team support them to develop the pathway plan; from age 18, personal advisers are allocated to support the young person into adulthood and to ensure the pathway plan is carried forward. Key aspects of the role is to ensure care leavers are living in suitable accommodation, engaged in education, employment or training and they keep in regular contact.

  • Accommodation – Care Leavers who have been living in fostering placements now have increased access to ‘Staying Put’ arrangements where they stay living with their foster carer following their 18th birthday. There is also an accommodation hub to ensure that the range of accommodation available is used effectively to meet the care leaver’s needs. This includes trainer flats with floating support or non-supported tenancies. 

  • Education, Employment and Training – care leavers have targeted Information, Advice and Guidance to support them to access an offer that is right for them. As a city, Leeds is aiming to achieve the Care2Work quality mark which recognises best practice and is awarded to local authorities and employers who demonstrate their commitment to building the employability skills of children in care and care leavers. It covers areas such as traineeships, apprenticeships, jobs within the council, access to Further Education and Higher Education and volunteering.

  • Health – health providers work in partnership with care leavers and with their social workers, personal advisers and other practitioners working with them, to ensure they access the right health services to meet their needs.

  • Financial advice – a dedicated welfare rights worker supports care leavers to identify and access their entitlements for 18-25 year olds and work with other practitioners to support their knowledge and understanding.

Further information and advice

The Frank Buttle Trust looks at transition from care to Uni but also provide grants and support if young people in crisis.

Care leavers group to help improve services