3.1 The University recognises and respects the diverse nature of learner journeys. There is no single route to studying at university, and different routes to higher education require tailored support to meet the needs of the student – both in terms of access to University, and throughout a student’s time in higher education.
3.2 The University is committed to Widening Access and continues to build on the expectations set out by the Scottish Government and the route map published by the sector in 2017, Working to Widen Access. We know that not all applicants have the same opportunities, and we operate a contextual approach to admissions that assesses applications in conjunction with personal and educational circumstances.
3.3 Beyond access and admission, we aim to support success by providing high quality, effective and comprehensive support, so that our students feel knowledgeable, empowered and confident when embarking on and during their university career. We understand the importance of a sense of belonging; being part of a community and feeling connected to the University, staff and other students.
3.4 The University of Stirling is fully committed to supporting students of all ages who have had experience of care.
Five Key Principles
3.5 Our work in this area has been guided by five key principles:
- Fostering and promoting a University culture which has development and support at its core, and which has high aspirations for all students, including those with care experience.
- Ensuring that students with care experience have the practical support in place to provide a stable and secure learning and living environment, and are aware of the support that is available to them throughout their time at the University.
- Creating partnership opportunities where the University can learn from students with care experience about their needs and the best ways to meet them.
- Supporting University staff to better understand the University’s role and responsibilities as a Corporate Parent and to enable them to contribute to the fulfilment of the University’s duties with genuine care and respect for students.
- Working in partnership with external agencies to ensure that students with care experience are well supported and can thrive.
3.6 We also follow the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) principles of understanding the wellbeing of the student in their current situation, tackling needs early, joined up working and providing a named point of contact for applicants and students. Likewise, we understand that those with care experience have a diverse range of needs, skills and aspirations. As a good corporate parent, the University will ‘look beyond the label’ to ensure that our support and care for our students with care experience is flexible and responds to their individual needs. The Independent Care Review has rightly placed an emphasis on listening to and involving children and young people with care experience in decisions that affect them, in a meaningful way. The University is committed to building genuine and lasting relationships with students with care experience, placing trust and understanding at the heart of our role as a good corporate parent.