Care-experienced individual

Care-experienced? Care Leaver? Looked After and Accommodated? Corporate Parent?


West College Scotland is proud to be a Corporate Parent. Enhanced support arrangements are in place for Care-experienced individuals.

Whether you are considering college as a future option; thinking about making an application; or perhaps you are studying with us at present, we’ll be by your side whenever you need us.

‘Named Contact’ details are at the bottom of the page (or email

What do you mean by Care-experienced?

Anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage of their life, no matter how short. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as in:

  • foster care,
  • kinship care (e.g. living with a grandparent, aunt, uncle, other family member),
  • looked after at home with a supervision requirement,
  • residential care,
  • care leaver (e.g. left care on, or after, your 16th birthday and therefore no longer ‘looked after’)

How do I tell you I am, or think I could be, Care-experienced?

We have Named Contacts on each campus on hand whenever you need help, support, advise or anything else.

Unsure about what course you want to study / unsure if college is right for you? Our Named Contacts are a great point of contact to say: ‘Hey! I’m care-experienced and would like to know more about coming to college and the support available’. Details of our Named Contacts are at the bottom of this page. Right now it doesn’t matter which Named Contact – we all do the same thing, and that’s to be there for you whenever you us!

If you are applying for a course, look out for the Care-experienced check box on your application form. It’s really important to tick it. We promise, ticking the box is a good thing!

If you are applying for funding, look out for the Care-experienced check box on your funding application form. It’s really important to tick it. Again, ticking the box is a good thing!

When you fill in your course enrolment form, again, look out for the Care-experienced check box on your course enrolment form. It’s really important to tick it… you get the idea, it’s a good thing.

We know we ask you the question more than once but not everyone tells us right at the start. We therefore have to ask the same question a few times.

It’s really important not to assume we know that you are care-experienced. We probably don’t, unless you tell us in person or by ticking the box when filling in your forms. If we don’t know, you may be missing in out on vital support, additional funding and many of the other enhanced arrangements that the college has put in place to give you the best possible chance of success.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Our campus buildings are currently closed but the College is open – staff are working from home to continue to support students, and applications for courses are being processed as normal.

The Care Experienced Student Support Team are available 9am – 3.30pm through – please get in touch if your have a question or just want to check in to say hello!!

Below are some useful links:

College support available to all Care-experienced individuals

If you tell us you are Care-experienced, a member of the Care-experienced Student Support Team (your ‘Named Contact’) will:

💡  be there to provide you with help and advice about courses, funding and support services;

💡  offer support to make the transition to college as smooth as possible:

– this might be as simple as showing you around the campus before you make your mind up on whether you want to become a student at the college;

💡  help you, if needed, to fill in forms and gather paperwork;

💡  help to ensure you have the best possible start at West College Scotland;

💡  guide and support you during your studies, in a way that is seamless and invisible to others;

💡  work in partnership with other staff (e.g. Guidance Tutor) and fellow Corporate Parents to help ensure you are supported, included, respected, achieving, nurtured, healthy, active, responsible and able to access the fullest range of services and opportunities;

💡  help you to overcome obstacles that arise / become a barrier to success;

💡  help to identify any practical support for everyday life and your well-being e.g. money-management, eating well, priority access to health and well-being services;

💡  help you move on when it’s time – whether to another course with us; moving on to university; employment; or taking on something new. We’ll even offer to cover the cost of your college graduation gown and UCAS fee!

Your ‘Named Contact’ – always here to help!

The entire college is proud to be a Corporate Parent, but it’s important to have a face and person you can turn to.

Depending on your campus of study, one of the following staff will be your named point-of-contact from the moment you apply, or before.

We’re here when you need us! Pop in to say hello or have a cuppa and chat with us!

Clydebank campus – Your Named Contact is …

Marie McKeown
Student Advisory Services Co-ordinator
Find me in Student Advisory Services, located just behind the campus reception
t. 0141 951 7450

Greenock campuses – Your Named Contact is …

Simone Stewart
Student Advisory Services Co-ordinator
Find me in Student Advisory Services, ground floor foyer, next to the elevators
t. 01475 553 119

Paisley campus – Your Named Contacts are …

Maureen Kelly (Thursday – Friday) and Claire Hamilton (Monday – Wednesday)
Student Advisory Services Co-ordinator
Find us in Student Advisory Services, next to the campus reception desk
t. 0141 581 2255

Marie, Simone, Claire, Maureen and other members of the support team have good working relationships with external partners such as Who Cares? Scotland, Student Awards Agency Scotland, and local authority social work and education teams. With your consent, we can work closely with the relevant throughcare, aftercare, social work and education teams to ensure they too are able to support you throughout your journey with us at West College Scotland.

Financial Support

NC and non-advanced courses

Depending on age and other factors, if you will be studying an NC level qualification on a full time basis you may be eligible to apply for a bursary of £202.50 per week.

  • This is a non means-tested award for eligible students who have, at any time in their lives, been looked after by a local authority in the UK; AND
  • Are beyond their statutory school leaving date (for most students this will mean a minimum age of 16);

When assessing an application for funding we will allocate the optimum award, for example in most cases an eligible applicant would receive a bursary of £202.50 per week rather than an EMA. Using the contact details above, please ask Marie, Simone, Maureen or Claire for more information

HNC, HND and Degree courses

Depending on age and other factors, if you will be studying towards an HNC, HND or Degree on a full time basis, you may be eligible for additional financial support through the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). Using the contact details above, please ask Marie, Simone, Maureen or Claire for more information – but here is a summary of what you may be entitled to:

Payment of tuition fees and a non-repayable Student Bursary (up to £8,100)

New and continuing Care-experienced students undertaking an HNC, HND or Degree course through West College Scotland may be eligible to apply for a non-repayable funding package of tuition fees and a non-income assessed Care Experienced Students Bursary.

The amount available in 2019-2020 is £8,100

This new bursary replaces the current income-assessed living cost loan and bursary package. As such, if you apply for and meet the criteria to receive the Care-experienced Bursary, you will not be eligible to apply for a student loan.

You may be eligible to claim the Care-experienced Student Bursary if:

💡  You have ever been looked after by a Local Authority in the UK; and

💡  You are under 26 on the first day of the first academic year of your course.

Accommodation Grant (up to £105 per week during the summer holidays) 

If you are Care-experienced and need help with your accommodation costs during the summer holiday that falls between each year of your course, you may be able to claim the Care-experienced Accommodation Grant.

The maximum is £105 a week during the summer holiday. SAAS will pay this directly to the person that is providing you with the accommodation. This includes:

💡   privately rented accommodation

💡  college/university halls of residence

💡   if you are temporarily living with a friend or relative, or continuing to live with a foster carer or kinship carer.

You may be eligible to apply for the Care-experienced Accommodation Grant if:

💡   You have ever been looked after by a Local Authority in the UK; and

💡   You are under 26 on the first day of the first academic year of your course.

You cannot claim the grant for the summer holiday before the start of the first year of your course of Higher Education or the summer holiday after you finish your course of Higher Education. However, you can apply for the grant during the summer holiday between courses of Higher Education, for example, if you are progressing from an HNC to and HND or an HND to a degree.

If you get Housing Benefit or any other benefit, you need to tell us which benefit(s) you get, and how much. You must also tell us if your Social Services Department gives you any help.

Please note that SAAS cannot pay the Accommodation Grant directly to you. It will be paid directly to your landlord.

➡  Download the SAAS Guide for Support for Care Experienced Students

➡  Download the Accommodation Grant Application Form

The Robertson Trust

Care-experienced students aged 16-25 whose next step is from college to university may be eligible for consideration for the Robertson Trust ‘Journey to Success’ bursary scheme. West College Scotland is able to nominated up to four candidates per year for consideration by the Robertson Trust. A nomination is not a guarantee but if successful, you will receive:

  • a non-repayable bursary of between £2,800 and £4,000 for each year of your next step university course;
  • take part in a Outward Bound personal development course;
  • participate in a peer-mentoring programme;
  • access to volunteer placements and paid internships

All nominations should be received no later than the first week in March. To find out more, just ask your named contact at your campus (Claire, Marie, Simone or Fiona) at Student Advisory Services, or email: 

Care-experienced: Student Support Forum


The purpose of the Forum is to ensure that our Care-experienced students have a strong collective voice and a direct link with the Students’ Association, Student Services, Curriculum and the Senior Management Team. The Forum is hosted by the Students’ Association and is a key influencer in shaping the policies, procedures, the experience and outcomes of our Care-experienced students.

With around 200 Care-experienced students studying at the college each year, the Forum has huge potential to make a real difference within the college and for the wider care-experienced population. James Morrison is our Care-experienced Students’ Association Officer. James is also Care-experienced. Your Named Contact will introduce you to James, or you can contact him by sending an email to 

Advocacy Support from the Students’ Association and Who Cares? Scotland

It’s really important that our Care-experienced students have a strong, clear, influential voice – individually and collectively. In addition to the support available from your Named Contact within your campus (Claire, Maureen, Marie, Simone or Fiona), and your area of study (e.g. Curriculum and Quality Leader (CQL) and Guidance Tutor), it is important to note that the Students Association and Who Cares? Scotland can provide advocacy support:

Corporate Parent – our statutory duties to you

Part 9 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 gave Scotland’s Colleges statutory duties as as Corporate Parents for Care-experienced individuals. The college shall be alert to risks, assess need, promote interests, provide opportunities, ensure access, improve as a Corporate Parent and collaborate with other Corporate Parents.

➡  Read our Corporate Parenting Plan (written in partnership with Care-experienced students)

➡  Tell us how we improve our support for you and become an even better corporate parent

Here when you need us …

If you’ve got a question, worry, concern or just need a quick chat – drop in any time, call or email. We’re here for you!

Clydebank campus

Marie McKeown
Student Advisory Services
Ground floor next to the campus reception desk

0141 951 7450

Greenock campus

Simone Stewart
Student Advisory Services
Finnart Street Campus, Ground floor next to elevators

01475 553 119

Paisley campus

Maureen Kelly and Claire Hamilton
Student Advisory Services
Main entrance next to the campus reception desk

0141 581 2255

Waterfront campus

Fiona Sanderson and Simone Stewart
Student Advisory Services
Campus reception desk

01475 553 119

Need more info?

If you are not sure who to contact, need more information or you are from another organisation – please let us know.

You can also contact:

Michelle Smith
Senior Administrator, Student Life and Skills

Scott Campbell
Head of Student Services

0141 581 2171 or 01475 553 066