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Care leavers

What is a care leaver?

A care leaver is defined as a person aged 25 or under, who has been looked after by a local authority for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14; and who was looked after by the local authority at school-leaving age or after that date.

What barriers do care leavers face?

  • Having to be independent at a much younger age
  • Lower levels of educational achievement
  • Higher unemployment rates
  • Unstable career patterns
  • Higher levels of dependency on welfare benefits
  • Earlier parenthood
  • Higher levels of emotional disturbance.

Case study

"When I was six I was taken into care as my mum couldn’t keep me safe. I was lucky I had 10 years with one foster family and 10 years with one social worker which never usually happens.

"As an eight-year-old I was in primary school and I had crossed two t’s in a word with one line so my teacher made me do it again and again until I got it right. We had an argument about this that ended with her proclaiming that I’d “never make anything of my life because I’m in foster care”.

"This changed when, as a 16-year-old I had just gained my GCSE results and had beaten my predicted grades. I had another argument with another teacher. This time she was telling me I can make something of myself if I go to college. I told her I didn’t want to, and that I would never go.

"I attended a college open evening as I have always had an interest in cookery. At the open evening I found that I wasn’t the only person that was nervous and that there was lots of help and support available by different teams at college.

"During the enrolment process for my course I met the support coach team and they explained that as part of their role they offered extra support to care leavers to help remove any barriers I had. I have now started on my college course and have met with my support coach a few times to discuss any worries I may have, I feel confident that I have support in place to help me complete my course."

Top five tips

  • 1Connect
    With the people around you: family, friends etc. You’re stronger with a network of people around you.
  • 2Be active
    Keep yourself active and take part in activities. This doesn’t mean go to the gym, it could be taking a walk or on a bike ride.
  • 3Keep learning
    Your education is important. Learning new skills and gaining a qualification is something to be proud of.
  • 4Be kind
    Even the smallest of acts can count; something as simple as smiling at others. Acts of kindness can improve your mental wellbeing. You could even do something big, such as volunteering.
  • 5Be mindful
    Being aware of yourself and your thoughts, feelings and mind can change the way you feel about life and how you approach situations.

Useful links

Why choose West Notts?

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100% A Level pass rate in 2018

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Best A Level provider in Mansfield and Ashfield for student progress*

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One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction**

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An extensive bus service across Mansfield and the surrounding area

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£50m investment in our facilities since 2008

*Value added is a measure of a student’s progress against their starting point
**Learner Exit Survey 2017/18
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