Unique program for young folk who have been in the care system
Care experienced people in Scotland are being offered the chance to achieve their academic dreams with the help of Scottish charity, Who Cares? Scotland.
The charity is giving two care experienced people the opportunity to take part in the prestigious Harvard Summer School next year. The programme, which is the oldest academic summer programme in the United States, offers participants a seven-week placement at the university’s Cambridge campus.
Students are given a fully immersive – and academically rigorous – experience at the university, featuring over 200 expert-led courses.
The charity believes that all care experienced people, those who are or have been in care such as children’s homes, foster care, kinship care or who are looked after at home, should be able to achieve their academic goals regardless of the challenges many care experienced people face in accessing education such as placement moves and school changes.
Despite these barriers, care experienced school leavers in Scotland have seen improving levels of attainment in recent years. Who Cares? Scotland is seeking to continue this positive trend by relaunching their historically successful Harvard scholarship scheme this week.
This initiative has proven extremely successful at supporting those with experience of care to arrive at positive destinations following their scholarship, and previous applicants have gone on to attend university and further education colleges.
Andi Stannard, 2019’s Scholarship winner, said: “Realising that I could attend such a prestigious university and succeed has drastically changed my opinions and self-doubt.”
The initiative, which Who Cares? Scotland has supported for over ten years, comes from cross-collaborative work between the charity and the Director of Harvard University Summer school.
Louise Hunter, chief executive at Who Cares? Scotland, said: “We believe that everyone should be entitled to the best education possible. There can be barriers for care experienced people in accessing the education they deserve. Although work is being done to address these barriers, such as the care experienced student bursary and minimum entry requirements for further education institutions; this opportunity can broaden horizons significantly.
“What the Harvard Summer School programme does is help people discover just how much they are capable of and sets them up with key skills for life.
“Everyone needs support to achieve their dreams and care experienced people are no different. When we help people succeed, everyone benefits.”
The initiative is funded by Who Cares? Scotland, local authorities, and donations made to the charity. People aged 15-18 can apply from anywhere in Scotland by 7 January on the Who Cares? Scotland website.
Bill Holinger, Director of Harvard Summer School, said: “I can’t tell you how excited the Secondary School Program staff are as we head into Summer 2022 and the resumption of the residential side of our program.
“We will continue to offer a robust online program of events and activities as well as online classes. But everybody is looking forward to holding classes on campus again and welcoming Secondary School Program students back to the residences in Harvard Yard.”