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3.14.9 Principles for the Provision of Education or Training Support to Young People Returning for a Next Step Service Aged 21 to 25

This chapter was added to the manual in April 2015.


  1. Introduction
  2. Legal Framework
  3. Communication
  4. Assessment
  5. Decision Making

1. Introduction

These principles provide a consistent framework to underpin the discharge of responsibilities by local authorities to young people returning for a leaving care service aged 21 to 25.  

Overarching principles which should apply when considering and developing local implementation of this document are:

  • Being a good corporate parent;
  • Supporting young people for longer;
  • Flexibility based on individual needs;
  • Assessment and assistance based on a pathway plan.

2. Legal Framework

The Children Act 1989 as amended, related regulations and statutory guidance provide the legal basis for provision support to this group of young people - defined specifically in s 23CA(1) of the Act as "a former relevant child who is (a) aged under 25, (b) in relation to whom the duties in 23C(2)(3) and (4) no longer apply, and (c) he has informed the local authority that he wants to pursue or is pursuing a programme of education or training."

The local authority must:

  • Appoint a personal advisor;
  • Carry out an assessment of need;
  • Prepare a pathway plan;
  • Provide assistance to the extent that the young person’s education or training needs require it.

Further detail on the specific discharge of responsibilities is contained within associated regulations and statutory guidance Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers. 

3. Communication

Communicating the right of care leavers to return to the local authority for support will be key to meeting the aspiration to support young people for longer. 

Next Step will want to consider a range of methods to communicate the right to return for a service as part of their overall approach. This will help in ensuring a greater proportion of care leavers receive clear information and facilitate better planning for likely demand on resources. Local mechanisms to communicate with young people could include the following means:

  • Verbally through personal advisor and as part of any 'exit' discussion;
  • Personal letter;
  • Pre 21 pathway plan.

Click here to view the Practice Example: Personal Letter Template to Care Leavers

4. Assessment

The completion of an assessment of need is a responsibility of the local authority within the legal framework as outlined above.

It should be acknowledged that different routes will be taken by individual young people and these will often differ to traditional academic pathways. As such assessment processes should maintain, through pathway planning, a focus on future employability as an outcome, based on individual needs.

Young people may need more than one opportunity to access further/higher education successfully.

Higher Education

The assessment principles outlined above are intended to be applicable regardless of the nature of education or training. In the case of Higher Education, additional principles are outlined, acknowledging the additional statutory provisions in this area, notably The Children Act 1989 (Higher Education Bursary)(England) Regulations 2009. As is apparent, these regulations provide for the payment of a bursary of £2000 to care leavers pursuing a course of higher education.

Payment of the bursary will depend upon agreement with your pathway advisor which may be paid by instalments with the first payment within four weeks of commencement of the course.

It is encouraged for this payment to be saved due to the student's access to current subsistence allowances. The bursary funding could be used for future use including access to a Masters Degree.

Salford City Council has a clear financial policy in addition to the HE Bursary. This currently includes support in the form of:

  • Meeting accommodation costs (including direct funding to the university/landlord);
  • Provision of IT equipment and internet access;
  • Combined support allowance encompassing some or all of the aspects noted above in a regular weekly payment.

5. Decision making

  • The Head of Integrated Looked After Service is authorised to make a final decision on the level and provision of financial support allocated to those in higher education.

In being consistent with the overarching principle of being a good corporate parent, Salford City Council will consider individual circumstances including:

  • Actual financial contributions, such as agreement to pay towards books, uniform or similar;
  • Earned income – in practical terms this will, as with other young people, include part-time work whilst undertaking a further or higher education course;
  • May include requirement for young people to access all loans, maintenance grants and other funding sources e.g. support via Buttle UK.