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Support for care experienced students

As a care experienced student, you may encounter some unique challenges in the transition from a sixth form or college to higher education. We have a personalised package of support available to help you have a full, enriching and enjoyable experience at Bradford.

We’re able to provide one-to-one support throughout the application process, as well as arrange individual visits to campus to see the facilities and meet academics and current students. We’re also able to arrange meetings with current University of Bradford students who have previously been in care.

Am I care experienced?

What do we mean by care experience?

This is where we can evidence that you are covered by the following UCAS definition of care experience:

  • Being care experienced means you will have 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 with relatives or friends, either officially (e.g. a special guardianship order) or informally without local authority support*.

Kinship care - family or friends care - is where a child lives full-time or most of the time with a relative or close family friend, usually because their parents are not able to care for them.

*Please be aware that informal kinship can be very difficult to evidence, but we would like to try to consider your circumstances where possible. You may be able to evidence this through something such as:

  • A letter from a local authority social worker (this could include a copy of a completed IC1 form claiming support for a child informally living with a carer, signed by a registered social worker).
  • A letter from a school/college or other education setting, or other relevant professional, who can evidence your situation.
  • Any evidence of relevant benefits paid to your carer (e.g. child benefit being claimed by someone other than your birth parents (as listed on your birth certificate), Guardian's Allowance.

If you are unsure of your eligibility or you are care experienced, whether you are considering university or a current student, please contact us to discuss your situation.

Progression Scheme

The progression scheme is designed to benefit undergraduate applicants whose personal and educational circumstances mean they could be less likely to receive an offer based on our standard entry criteria.

As part of the scheme, applicants will automatically receive a reduced offer of 8 UCAS points lower than our standard entry criteria.

Supporting your journey to university

Chelsea Redshaw - Your named point of contact

Chelsea is your named point of contact throughout your journey to university. Chelsea is here to support you in deciding if university is right for you, and to provide advice and guidance in making your university application. Chelsea will support you by:

  • Being your point of contact to provide individual support and information during any part of your journey to University
  • Providing one to one guidance with your UCAS application
  • Arranging individual campus visits for you to visit the University and meet our student ambassadors
  • Organising bespoke activity for you to find out more about university

If you are thinking about university, or a current applicant, please get in touch for further support.

Chelsea Redshaw, Outreach and Recruitment Officer at the University of Bradford.

Support once you're here

Clare Wilson - Your named point of contact

Clare is one of our Student Life Advisers and will be your named point of contact throughout your time at the university. Clare will support you by:

  • Being a central point of contact for you throughout your studies, supporting you with any questions or concerns you may experience
  • Liaising with Student Finance England and other funding bodies to help you apply for financial support
  • Signposting you to the wide range of Student Support teams available, as and when you need them

If you are a current student, contact Clare:

Smiling student speaking to a member of support staff

Meet our students and alumni

More ways we can help

We have a number of champions within our faculties and professional services teams who are passionate about supporting care experienced students. Please click the drop-down boxes below to find out more about how they can help you to make the most of your studies.

In addition to the standard 42-week contract available to all students, the University can support you in securing year-round accommodation if needed. We can also help if you need a guarantor for a rental property. 

For more information please visit our Accommodation website or contact the Student Life Team at 

Our Career and Employability Services offer a welcoming, supportive environment where you can access impartial careers information, advice and guidance from professionally qualified staff. At Bradford we have a dedicated advisor in the team who can work with and signpost care experienced students to a range of services and support offered by Career and Employability Services.

For more information please visit our Careers website.

Our Counselling Service recognise that as care experienced students you may have additional pressures and challenges to face and offer someone for you to talk to confidentially if you need it.

The service is open all year round and is available via face-to-face appointment, email and telephone. The team also help with access to online therapeutic self-help resources and deliver group workshops. If there is a particular theme or topic you need help with, or would like us to run a group about, please get in touch. No issue is too small and we are here for you if you need us.

For more information please email our counselling team, or visit our Counselling Service website.

A Care Experienced Students’ Grant of £1,000 a year is available to all students who have previously been in local authority care and have a household income of less than £30,000 per year. The Grant is paid each year at the end of May, but we can consider earlier payments based on individual needs. For more information, visit our Care Experienced Students Grant website.

Additional financial help is also available from the University’s Student Support Fund which, depending on circumstances, can award grants of up to £2,000 a year. Care experienced students have priority access to the Fund and it is open to them all year round.

You will also have a dedicated Money Adviser contact to help you with your finances and funding throughout your time at Bradford. This support is available from pre-application through to graduation.

For more information please visit our Fees, Financial Support and Scholarships website.

New students with experience of the care system will have the opportunity to receive one-to-one support from a Peer Mentor who will be a student currently studying here or a recent graduate. Peer Mentors can help to support you to adjust to university life and study and to build learner independence and self-confidence. 

This is likely to involve three to four on-campus meetings per semester at times to suit you and your mentor, to talk about academic or other issues you may be facing. The Peer Mentors can use their experiences to help you and will signpost you to the most appropriate university service. In addition, Peer Mentors will run a ‘Care Experienced Student Forum’ at least once a year, which will be open to all care experienced students regardless of whether they have engaged in the Peer Mentor Scheme or not.

As a care experienced student you will be invited to join the Step Up to HE programme at the start of the academic year. It is the perfect opportunity to meet other students and members of staff while beginning to develop some of the essential skills you will need to make a success of your studies.

For more information visit our Step Up to HE website.

Care Leavers Covenant

The University of Bradford is proud to be a signatory member of the Care Leavers Covenant.

We are committed to providing additional support for care experienced students and helping them to live an independent life.

Care leaver covenant signatory member logo

National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL)

As members of the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) we continue to champion opportunities for care experienced students and improve access to, success in, and progression from higher education.

Logo of NNECL