Care leavers

The Care Leavers Service – we’re here to help if you need us

We know that the journey to higher education is exciting but it can be challenging. We aim to help make the process as clear and simple as possible for you if you're a looked after young person or a care leaver considering applying to University of Plymouth.

We want to raise awareness of the range of courses and careers available, raise aspiration and motivation to attend university, provide support and signposting for potential students and those that are going through the University of Plymouth application process. We can support the transition of care experienced students into life at the University of Plymouth.

We've been awarded the Buttle UK Quality Mark in recognition of the ‘exemplary level of support’ we provide to all our students.

Are you a care-experienced student?

A care leaver is a young person who has been in the care of, or been given accommodation, by their Local Authority for a period of at least 13 weeks before the age of 16 and hasn’t reconciled with their parents between leaving care and starting their course. For further information please visit Student Finance England for the definition of a care leaver.

Things to know, do and look at before you get here:

  • We encourage you to declare your care leaver status on your UCAS application form by answering ‘yes’ to the question ‘have you ever been in care?’. This is the first step to unlocking the support that is available to you, and we’ll get in touch before the start of the academic year. If you are not applying via UCAS, please get in touch with us directly using the contact details at the bottom of this page.
  • Declare to Student Finance England (SFE) that you’re a care leaver, and an independent. This may increase the amount of funding you will be eligible for.
  • Guaranteed accommodation on campus for 365 days of the year throughout your course. To access this, make sure you let accommodation (Residence Life) know that you’re a care leaver.
  • You may also be eligible for a bursary from your Local Authority, we recommend contacting them to find out. For more information on what each local authority provides to care leavers progressing to higher education, take a look at our local authority support information. Coram Voice is useful to check what you are eligible for.

  • Propel – ind out what support care leavers can expect when applying to university or college.

  • Taster days are a great opportunity to get a fun and interesting insight into student life, meet current students and attend taster sessions from various subject areas. Please refer to the taster days webpage for additional details of planned taster days for the coming academic year.
  • Shadowing provides an opportunity to shadow a current student for a day. School students are matched with an undergraduate student in a subject which interests them. Applications for this open in December with Shadowing days being delivered throughout February. 
  • Come on a campus tour, this is an opportunity to ask questions and find out what financial and other support is available to you.These can be booked by emailing campustours@plymouth.ac.uk
  • The outreach team offer various events and activities to help with your next steps into higher education. Find out more.

Once you’re here:

  • Student Services offer you an initial meeting at the start of the academic year and a follow up meeting to ensure that all the internal and external support you need is in place. 
  • Academic – supporting you with course-related issues, including liaising with your academic department and course tutors


  • Skills for life – exciting opportunities to make the most of university life including student ambassador work, skills building events and employer mentoring.
  • Summer support – help to find summer accommodation.

Accessibility

We want to make our service accessible to all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. If there are any barriers to you using the service, please contact us and we'll be happy to make alternative arrangements or adjustments wherever possible to accommodate your needs.

Physical access

Initial and follow up meetings with care leavers held in 3 Portland Mews. There is wheelchair access to the ground floor, a waiting area, consulting rooms and adapted toilet facilities. 

If you'd like an appointment and need it to be in a ground floor room, please contact us in advance and we'll arrange this for you. If required, we can arrange parking for disabled students in a bay immediately outside the building.

Written materials

All our service publicity can be produced in different formats on request.

Students based at other sites

If you're a University of Plymouth student at Peninsula Allied Health Centre (PAHC) at Marjon, Somerset College in Taunton, or the Knowledge Spa in Truro you can get in touch with us by using the Plymouth contact details. 

We may be able to offer a face-to-face appointment at your place of study.