Supporting care-experienced students: learning from the NNECL Quality Mark


  • Phil Bakstad Liverpool John Moores University, Student Advice & Wellbeing Services



Care-experienced students continue to be under-represented within higher education and are designated as a target group by the Office for Students. Institutional Access and Participation Plans are required to make specific reference to support for this group of students through dedicated schemes of work to improve access, progression and success, alongside broader measures to ensure an inclusive environment across the curriculum and associated support services.


Each year, through our John Lennon Imagine Award scheme, LJMU supports in excess of 130 students who are care-experienced or estranged from their families, in parallel with targeted outreach activity in schools and colleges.    


In June 2021, the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) launched a new Quality Mark for the inclusion and success of care-experienced learners. This sets out a rigorous, whole-student life cycle framework across seven strategic themes, encouraging institutions to review and assess their current provision for care-experienced students and develop robust plans for future developments. During the 21 / 22 academic year, a working group of academic and professional services colleagues have collaborated on LJMU's submission to the Quality Mark, with the University subsequently becoming the first institution outside of the pilot phase to achieve the Quality Mark.    


This session will examine the University's current provision in the context of the NNECL Quality Mark framework. We'll encourage participants to consider how their current practice effectively meets the needs of care-experienced learners and how individuals, departments and Schools can best support our three year action plan of future work to ensure that we continue to effectively meet the needs of care-experienced individuals across LJMU.