The Scottish Funding Council's Widening Access Report for 2021/22 has revealed promising results when looking at the number of care experienced* people entering further and higher education but further work is required to ensure retention and post education destinations are in line with non-care experienced students. 

SFC has a national ambition for care-experienced students to have equal outcomes with their peers by 2030. More information can be found in SFC’s National Ambition for Care Experience Students report.

The key statistics in relation to care experience can be seen below which indicated more care experienced people entering further and higher education. However there was a 10% drop out rate in year one of university, higher than non-care experienced students. When looking at positive destinations we also see a slight discrepancy between care experienced and non care experienced students. There is also a marked difference when deprivation area was recorded with 10% more care experienced students being from the 20% more deprived areas. 

  • There were 1,720 Care-experienced students entering undergraduate HE courses at Scotland’s colleges and universities in 2021-22. That’s an increase of 35 on the 2020-21 and represents 2.0% of all undergraduate HE entrants. In Scotland, 1.5% of children
    under 18 were looked after in 2021.
  • In 2021-22, 1.6% of Scottish-domiciled full-time first-degree entrants were care-experienced. That represents 545 entrants, up 60 from the 2020-21 figure. .
  • 26.1% of Scottish-domiciled care-experienced entrants to full-time first-degree courses were from the 20% most deprived areas. 16.4% of non-care-experienced entrants to these courses were from the 20% most deprived areas in 2020-21. See background table 2.
  • In the college sector, 3.9% of enrolments to full-time HE and 9.6% of enrolments to full-time FE courses in 2021-22 were from care-experienced students. That’s up from 3.6% (full-time HE) and in line with the 9.6% (full-time FE) figures in 2020-21.
  • In the university sector, 90.0% of the 2020-21 Scottish-domiciled entrants to full-time first-degree courses with experience of care continued their studies into year 2. This is lower than the overall retention rate of 91.5%.
  • Of those who qualified in 2020-21, 95.9% of Scottish-domiciled care-experienced graduates from full-time first-degree courses at university were in work or further study 15 months after completing their course. The proportion of graduates not
    declaring themselves as care-experienced in positive destinations was the same, also
    at 95.9%.
  • Of those who qualified in 2020-21, 94.6% of care-experienced leavers from full-time HE college courses and 93.6% from full-time FE courses with known destinations were in work or further study 3-6 months after qualifying. For those not declaring
    themselves as care-experienced, 97.0% of leavers from full-time HE courses and 96.0% of leavers from full-time FE courses were in these positive destinations 3-6 months after qualifying. See background table 13.

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Whilst encouraging, these figures reveal that more needs to be done to meet the SFC's ambition

*Care experienced refers to 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, including adopted children who were previously looked-after. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care or through being looked after at home with a supervision requirement.