Peter Symonds College

Student Support

Care Experienced Students

Care Experienced Students

Student Services are the team at college who support Looked After Children and Care Leavers. This means anyone who is, or has been, in the care of their Local Authority – also known as ‘in care’, ‘care-experienced’, or ‘previously looked-after’. We want all of our care experienced students to have a positive experience at college, both academically and socially, and to take advantage of the many opportunities on offer here. We are committed to supporting you to overcome any barriers there are to these goals. 

How will Student Services know I am a Looked After Child or a Care Leaver? 

You can share this information on your application to the college and we can discuss support with you during the admissions process. Your school will also share information with us if you give them permission to do so. This allows us to ensure that any help and support you need is in place and your transition to college is as easy as possible.

What support do Student Services offer?

Liz Crouch, Head of Student Services, supports every Looked After Child and Care Leaver during their time at college. Liz will work closely with your Secondary School and the Virtual College and will usually attend your final Year 11 PEP (Personal Education Plan) meeting before you start college. Liz will continue to work in partnership with the Virtual College and your Social Worker to organise your ongoing PEP meetings - as well as keeping in regular contact with you throughout your time at college. You will be able to call in to Student Services at any time and there is always someone for you to talk to.

Financial support is provided via the Vulnerable Student Bursary. This helps with the costs of college such as travel, equipment, sports kits, books etc. You will also receive Free College Meals - this is £5 a day to spend on food and drinks at college. 

Health and well-being support is excellent at college. You will have access to The Hub and Counselling Service if this is something you would find useful and we also have a Nursing team to help with medical concerns. All wellbeing staff have expertise in supporting students who are care experienced and will be able to support you. Student Services can help you to access these services, as well as help identify extra academic support if needed. 

Careers Support

The Careers Department provides targeted support which you will be able to access. All Looked After Children and Care Leavers are allocated a Careers Adviser, who will offer 1-1 appointments throughout your time at college. During these 1-1 appointments, advisers can support you with your next steps, whatever that might be. There are often many schemes and bursaries available to students, especially when considering university, and the Careers Department will work closely with you to make sure you are aware and take advantage of these, if relevant.