Care Experienced, Carers or Estranged students

Here for you whenever you need us, we’re proud to care

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West College Scotland has enhanced arrangements to support any enquiry, applicant or student who is:


Support for our Care Experienced Students

West College Scotland is proud to be a Corporate Parent. Enhanced support arrangements are in place for anyone with lived experienced of being in care at any time in their life (‘care experienced’).

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 corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk


What do you mean by care experienced?

If you have lived experienced of being in care at any time in your life, no matter how short, you are likely to be ‘care experienced’. This may have been provided in one or more settings, such as:

  • foster care;
  • kinship care (e.g. living with a grandparent, aunt, uncle, other family member);
  • residential care (e.g. a care home for young people);
  • looked after at home with a compulsory supervision order; or
  • another care setting

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

The College will not necessarily know you are care experienced unless you us.  To ensure you can access all of your entitlements and for us to support you as best we can it is important that you:

  • tick the care experienced box on your course application form;
  • tick the care experienced box on your funding application form;
  • tick the care experienced box on your course enrolment form;

You can also email corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk or info@wcs.ac.uk even before you apply or at any point during your studies. The sooner you let us know, the sooner we can make sure you are accessing your entitlements and have all of the support in place to make sure any barriers are removed and your studies with West College Scotland are enjoyable and successful.

We have Named Contacts on each campus on hand whenever you need help, support, advise or anything else. We have also partnered with Action for Children to provide even more support.

Support even before you apply for a course:

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 tick 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 tick 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 tick 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)

Things may a little different this year but we’re still here for you. 

Your Named Contact may not be on-campus all the time but they can still be reached during the working day by email, telephone or through Microsoft Teams. If you’re not sure who to contact, just email corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk or call 0300 600 6060 and ask for the Student Advisory Services Co-ordinator – get in touch if your have a question or just want to check in to say hello!!  We’ll also try to keep in touch as often as we can but please contact us too – even if it’s only for a wee blether.

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!

Everyone at West College Scotland 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.

Session 2020/21 is a little different to any other year, your named point-of-contact will not always on campus but will provide continue to provide you with the best support.

Clydebank campus – Your Named Contact is …

Marie McKeown
Student Advisory Services Co-ordinator
When I am on campus, you can find me in Student Advisory Services, located just behind the campus reception.
t. 0141 951 7450
e. corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk 

Greenock campuses – Your Named Contact is …

Simone Stewart
Student Advisory Services Co-ordinator
When I am on campus, you can find me in Student Advisory Services, ground floor foyer, next to the elevators
t. 01475 553 119
e. corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk 

Paisley campus – Your Named Contacts are …

Claire Hamilton (Monday – Wednesday), Maureen Kelly (Thursday – Friday)
Student Advisory Services Co-ordinator
When we are on campus, you can find us in Student Advisory Services, next to the campus reception desk
t. 0141 581 2255
e. corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk 

Marie, Simone, Claire, Maureen, Lee and other members of the support team have good working relationships with external partners such as Who Cares? Scotland, Student Awards Agency Scotland, Action for Children and local authority social work, throughcare 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

➡  Find out more from SAAS

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: corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk 


Care-experienced: Student Support Forum

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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 sa@wcs.ac.uk 

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)

➡  National Ambition for 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!

corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk

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

Action for Children
Campus based Support Worker for Unpaid Carers and Care Experienced Students

Rachel Church
Support Worker, Action for Children

Rachel supports students across all of our campuses. Rachel begins her post with the college in January 2021.

Other Corporate Parents

If you are not sure who to contact, need more information or you are from another organisation, you can contact:

Michelle Smith
Senior Administrator, Student Life and Skills

0141 581 2171 (Monday to Thursday)

Scott Campbell
Head of Student Services

01475 553 066

corporate.parent@wcs.ac.uk