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Local Offer for Care Leavers aged 19-22 - extension of the ESFA’s 16-18 bursary bursary for defined vulnerable groups

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority will be piloting an extension to the 16-18 Bursary for Care Leavers under the care of our constituent councils. For the 2021/22 academic year, CPCA funded AEB providers inclusive, will be able to utilise funding from their AEB Learner Support Fund allocation to provide a bursary to Care Leavers enrolled under the Youth Offer for up to £1,200. This is to enable Care Leavers to overcome any financial barriers to learning. Providers must ensure they have a clear and accessible policy or statement setting out how they will use their bursary fund, the eligibility criteria they use and any terms and conditions they set. Providers may utilise the Care Leaver’s Bursary to incentivise participation, attendance, attainment and progression to higher levels of learning or employment.

Purpose of the Bursary

Students who meet the criteria, and who have a financial need, can apply for a bursary for vulnerable groups. The defined groups reflect that these students are unlikely to be receiving financial assistance from parents or carers, so may need a greater level of support to enable them to continue to participate. Students should be awarded the amount of support they need to participate based on an assessment of the types of costs they have and not automatically awarded £1,200. Institutions must ensure students are eligible for the bursary for defined vulnerable groups in each year they require support.

Learners who are not funded or eligible for AEB are not eligible for the Care Leavers Bursary.

Health-and-Social-Care-Sept-2018-10

Are you Eligible?

An official letter from a named social worker at Cambridgeshire County Council or Peterborough City Council confirming the learner is a Care Leaver. If the learner is not resident within the CPCA but in the care of our constituent councils, they will only receive the bursary if they are enrolled onto a Youth Offer programme at a CPCA contracted AEB provider.

Age

A learner must be aged 19 or over but under 22 at 31 August 2021 to be eligible for help from the Care Leavers Bursary in the 2021 to 2022 academic year.

Learners aged 22 or over are only eligible to receive the Care Leavers Bursary if they are continuing on a Youth Offer programme funded by AEB at a CPCA contracted provider and they began aged 19 to 22 (22+ continuers).

These two groups of learners aged 19+ can receive the Care Leavers Bursary only while they continue to attend education or training at a CPCA contracted AEB provider (in the case of a 22+ continuer, this must be the same programme they started before they turned 19), as long as their eligibility continues and their institution considers they need the support to continue their participation.

Postcode

To be eligible for the Care Leavers Bursary 19-22, learners must either be in the care of CPCA’s constituent councils or a resident within a CPCA postcode. For example, Care Leavers under the care of non-constituent councils are eligible for the bursary, if they are a CPCA resident. In this case, a letter from the social worker confirming the learner’s status as a Care Leaver and address within the CPCA will be necessary to confirm eligibility.

Bursary funds must not be awarded to learners enrolled at another institution, where that institution also receives public funding for the learner.

Learners aged 19 - 22 enrolled on higher education qualifications are not eligible for support under this scheme.

Eligible education provision

To qualify for the Care Leavers Bursary, eligible learners must be participating in provision that is subject to inspection by a public body that assures quality (for example Ofsted). The provision must be funded by AEB. Therefore, Apprentices and employer-funded schemes are ineligible for the Bursary.

Care Leavers who meet the criteria, and who have a financial need, can apply for theBursary. Care Leavers are unlikely to be receiving financial assistance from parents or carers, so may need a greater level of support to enable them to continue to participate and progress.

Care Leavers should be awarded the amount of support they need to participate based on an assessment of the types of costs they have and not automatically awarded £1,200. Institutions must ensure learners are eligible for the bursary in each year they require support.

We do encourage institutions to provide support from the bursary fund by making payments in kind where possible. Providers must not make bursary fund payments as regular payments for living costs. This is out of scope of the bursary fund and any such payments would be subject to the Social Security Amendment (Students and Income-related Benefits) Regulations 2000.

Evidence of eligibility

Providers must obtain proof that learners meet the criteria for the bursary for in full, that they fully meet the definitions for in care/care leavers. Institutions should ask for evidence from each student and retain copies for audit purposes.


Further Information

Further Information

Pro-rata bursaries

Learners who have a financial need who meet the criteria for a bursary may be eligible for a bursary of up to £1,200 (with the actual amount dependant on the specific financial needs they have) if they are on a study programme which lasts for 30 weeks or more in the academic year. Students who meet the criteria and who are on study programmes lasting for less than 30 weeks should be given a bursary on a pro-rata basis (with the actual amount dependant on the specific financial needs they have).

Providers should also consider the number of hours involved in a learner’s programme when deciding if a pro-rata payment is more appropriate. A learner studying for around 16hours a week is likely to have greater costs than a student studying for 4 hours a week, for example.

CPCA recommends that providers should be clear in their bursary fund application form that there is a possibility of no award or a limited award. This ensures all parties understand that meeting the criteria for a bursary for Care Leavers does not automatically mean funding will be given. Providers should ensure their forms avoid any terminology such as ‘guaranteed bursary’ or wording such as ‘you will automatically get a bursary of £1,200 if you are a CareLeaver.’

Claiming funding

All CPCA funded providers may use their Learner Support Fund allocation to award the Care Leaver Bursary. Funding will be claimed via the Earnings Adjustment Statements and the manual funding claims at the end of the following ILR return points: R03 R06 R09 R12and R14.

Providers may vire funds into the Care Leaver Bursary from their main AEB allocation as necessary. In future years, a notional allocation will be made to support planning, based on past take-up.

As a matter of principle, no eligible Care Leaver should be denied a Bursary in the 2021/22 academic year, due to insufficient allocation of Learner Support Funds. In the event a CPCA contracted provider has insufficient allocation to pay the Care Leaver Bursary, a request for additional funding may be requested in-year.

Evaluation

The impact of this policy will be evaluated, and all participating providers must contribute to the evaluation. This will also enable providers to propose improvements to maximise impact.

Case Studies

Subject to learner consent, CPCA will request case studies to demonstrate the impact of the Care Leaver Bursary.


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