Care Experienced


Care Experienced Students and UHI Outer Hebrides

Why are we doing this?

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014  gave public bodies a responsibility to understand the lives of Scotland’s looked after young people and respond to their needs as any parent would.

This law tries to help to address the difference in attainment between those who are care-experienced and their counterparts. Care experienced young people are more likely to achieve fewer qualifications, become homeless or end up in prison than they are to get a good job or get a degree. This is because of the difficulties faced by care-experienced young people, the disrupted nature of their education and home life – both of which are out of the young person’s control.

At UHI Outer Hebrides we want to encourage more college and university applications from care leavers and anyone who has previously been cared for by a local authority, to help to change this picture and give care-experienced young people the support they need to achieve their goals and ambitions.

Who is care-experienced?

This means you have been in foster care, were cared for by friends or relatives, were in residential care or were cared for at home with support from Social Services. We are committed to supporting you if you have a background in care.

Your local contact

Catherine Kelso, Student Support Services Manager. You can contact her by:

  • phone: 01851 770 242
  • email:
  • visit in person at our Stornoway campus - but you are best to make an appointment first!

What support and help do we offer?

We can offer help and support in various areas;

  1. Applying for a course
  2. Funding questions and queries
  3. Study support and personal support
  4. Help with accommodation
  5. Support for your next step when you have finished at college

1. Applying to College or University

We will try to make sure you have the information you need to get into college or university. You can contact Catherine Kelso with any questions you have. You can do this as early when you are still at school, when you are choosing your subjects, right up until you apply to us to take a course.

Tick the Box!

When you apply for a place at college/university, and when you enrol, you will be asked to indicate on your form if you have ever been in care. This does not have any negative effect and this information remains confidential. It is a positive step to take, as it lets us know that your education may have been disrupted and gives us the opportunity to offer additional support. It also helps us to understand your financial position better and to be able to offer appropriate advice and help. We will contact you to arrange an informal chat when we can make sure you are aware of the support that is available for you at college.

If you would like to visit the Stornoway Campus before you start, get in touch with Catherine to organise an individual campus tour. If you are based in the Southern Isles or on the mainland, get in touch via the phone or email (above) so that we can sort something out for you.

2. Funding Help

We can help you to complete your bursary or EMA funding application and make sure you will get paid at the start of term. If you are studying at HNC, HND or degree level, we can  tell you about the new care leavers bursary available from SAAS (the Student Awards Agency Scotland).

We can also explain about our Discretionary Funds, which is money you may be eligible for once we know what your circumstances are. We can help with the application for these funds, and we can help you with any benefits you may be entitled to claim whilst you are still a student.

Student Services is open during the Summer holiday, so you can always get in touch with someone here and we are a small team, so it is the same people you talk to each time.

If you are taking an HNC, HND or a degree, we will help you with the costs of attending graduation (gown hire, photos etc) when you have completed your course.

3. Study Support and Personal Support

Once you have accepted a place to study with us, we have a range of support services here to help all students, some of which may be helpful for you.   We are proud of our reputation for being friendly and helpful, but your first year can still feel a bit daunting, so we are here to help whatever the problem – if we can’t help, we can point you in the direction of someone who can.

With your agreement, someone from Student Services will meet with you from time to time to make sure things are going OK for you. This is a chance to make sure that you are getting on well on the course and to discuss any problems you may have.  We can then look to see how we can help. Solutions can be as simple as help with putting in an application for Discretionary Funding, getting some extra help from a tutor, booking an appointment with our counsellor, or giving you a bit of flexibility with the attendance requirements when things are tough.

We can also make sure your tutors are aware of anything that will help you to get on with your studies. Our class sizes tend to be small, so you will get to know your tutors quite well. Every student has a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT), and this person is the one you should talk to about any academic matters that are worrying you.

4. Accommodation

We understand that accommodation requirements are often particularly important for students leaving care.  The Bridge Centre provides student accommodation in Stornoway, although the college does not run it, and this can be available all year round if you are a student, including the summer holiday period.

We also work with the Bayhead Foyer (helping under 25s with housing and independent living) and the local authority to ensure you have somewhere to stay all year round.

If you are studying at HNC/HND or degree level, there is help for covering the costs of housing during the summer vacation through the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). We can show you how to apply for this.

5. When you are finishing college

Finally, we aim to give you the support you need to show your ability and successfully complete your course with us.  If you are coming to the end of your course and thinking about what to do next, we can help to put you in touch with people who can help you to make the next step. You can get help to put together a CV and help with application forms for jobs – and help where to find the best opportunities.

If you have any questions or queries whilst you are with us, you can get in touch with our small Student Services team and we will do our best to help.


We are here to help to support you and to ensure you can get the education you want. We will take your views, needs and specific requirements into account and want to hear from you if you have ideas about where we can improve.


  • All discussions with us are strictly confidential
  • No question is too small or too silly
  • We can offer a range of help from a five minute chat to regular catch-ups
  • Don’t be alone, we are here to help

Useful Links

UHI Outer Hebrides Student Services

  • Catherine Kelso – Student Services Manager – 01851 770242 –
  • Michael Black – Student Services Officer – 01851 770244 –