During the Student Transitions Enhancement Theme we considered equality and diversity and carried out work relating to students from a care background.

Work conducted by QAA Scotland


Students from a care background


In April 2015, Scottish higher education institutions became Corporate Parents for students who have been in care. Working with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), CELCIS (The Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland) and Who Cares? Scotland, QAA Scotland produced a Corporate Parenting Factsheet. We also supported a training session run by Who Cares? Scotland, and a half-day conference organised by the Enhancement Themes Student Network.


Corporate Parenting Factsheet

Publication Date: 11 Jan 2016

This paper contains a summary of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 that came into effect in Scotland in April 2015. It highlights how it will affect higher education institutions in Scotland and what support is available. This work was complete during the Student Transitions Enhancement Theme.

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 214 KB

Work conducted by Scottish higher education institutions


Students from a care background


Most institutions have undertaken work to improve support for students who have been in care and are transitioning into, through and out of study at university. The following are some examples:

  • Glasgow Caledonian University offers a package of support to incoming students. This support includes, one-to-one mentoring for senior school pupils in years S5 and S6, taster visits to HEI campuses, accommodation and financial support, and contextualised admissions.
  • The University of Strathclyde operates a residential summer school for high school students in S2 and S3. It also provides one-to-one mentoring during their studies. The University also monitors the admission, progression and retention across the institution.
  • The University of Dundee conducted research into students transitioning to professional practice placements. They compared the experiences of disabled and non-disabled students, finding that while both groups experienced some challenges, these could be made worse for disabled students as a consequence of both their impairments and other people’s attitudes to disability.
  • Queen Margaret University offers a six-week, community-based programme entitled ‘Mad People’s History and Identity’. Besides a requirement to have experience of mental health issues, anyone is eligible to attend. Topics covered in the programme include: language and labelling; a history of treatments, power and discrimination; madness and gender, class, race and sexuality; a history of mental health activism; and relevant sociological theory. The course is funded by NHS Lothian Mental Health and Wellbeing and the Consultation and Advocacy Promotion Service (CAPS), a local voluntary organisation.