Care leaver apprentice bursary to triple to £3,000

DfE also pledges to support local authorities to recruit up to 500 new child and family social worker apprentices

DfE also pledges to support local authorities to recruit up to 500 new child and family social worker apprentices

Young care leavers starting an apprenticeship from August 2023 will receive a £3,000 bursary – triple the amount that is currently on offer.

The government has also pledged to support local authorities to recruit up to 500 new child and family social worker apprentices.

The commitments are part of a new £200 million package announced today and to be spent over the next two years to improve a “fragmented, siloed and struggling” care system.  

It is part of an overhaul of children’s social care after last year’s landmark MacAlister review into the tragic murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson.

The bursary available to care leavers undertaking apprenticeships will increase from the current allowance of £1,000 to £3,000.  

Almost 1,250 bursaries have been paid to young care leaver apprentices since the scheme’s introduction in 2018.

It is a one-off £1,000 payment for care leavers aged 16 to 24 intended to help them with the extra barriers they face in the transition to the world of work.

Under current rules the cash, which comes from the DfE’s existing apprenticeships budget, is paid “once to each care leaver in the eligible age range” via their training provider.

Employers are also given a £1,000 bursary to take on a care leaver apprentice.

The DfE said today that it will aid local authorities to recruit up to 500 new “child and family social worker” apprentices and there will be consultation on proposals to reduce over-reliance on agency social workers.  

Skills, apprenticeships and higher education minister Robert Halfon said: “As a long-term champion for social mobility, I am thrilled we can offer this extra support for those leaving care, extending the ladder of opportunity to help more young people gain greater access to sustainable work and higher wages.”

“Employers and training providers will continue to get £1,000 in funding for every care leaver they take on and, on top of this, we are tripling the bursary which care leavers get from £1,000 to £3,000 from August to support more care leavers start paid work and get world class skills as apprentices.”  

The DfE has also said it will extend pupil premium plus funding.

The pupil premium is grant funding provided to schools to support the attainment of disadvantaged pupils from reception to year 11. Pupil premium plus is for the same age range specifically for pupils who are looked after or leaving local authority care.

Officials said today they will extend the “post-16 pupil premium plus style of funding” with a further £24 million between 2023 and 2025 to “address the cliff edge in educational support that children in care and care leavers face in 16- to 19-year-old education”.

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