The NNECL Single Point of Contact service was launched by NNECL at UCL, Institute of Education with guest speakers Lord Listowel and Matthew Blood from the National Virtual Schools Heads Steering Group. The launch took place on 3rd December with over 60 guests from universities, national charities and local authorities across England in attendance.
The launch highlighted a new service which aims to build stronger links between professionals working with looked-after children (virtual schools, social workers, foster carers) and further education and higher education staff. The single point of contact service, led by the University of Winchester, will support more effective collaboration between these groups which will result in greater coverage and coherence, improved capacity and quality for professionals working to improve HE participation. The service includes a new website (www.nnecl.org) listing collaborative outreach activities by higher education institutions for children in care and care leavers and resources by NNECL and member charities giving high quality information relating to HE access, admission and student support.
Over 90 events from 49 higher education institutions and regional partnerships have been collated onto the NNECL website to date. The activities which include taster days, mentoring and summer schools programmes have been specifically designed to raise the aspirations of young people in care to allow them to explore the benefits of studying in higher education first-hand. The website also includes CPD events, such as conferences, for professionals.
The service is part of NNECL, a network of higher education institutions and national organisations working collaboratively to transform the progression of young people in or leaving care into and through further and higher education. The funding for the service has been secured through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) through the National Network for Collaborative Outreach scheme (NNCO).