Westminster Education Forum

Improving provision for care leavers - implementing the Care Leaver Covenant and local offers and the transition into further education and employment

Morning, Thursday, 9th January 2020

Central London


This seminar will examine the next steps for improving provision for care leavers in England.

The discussion comes as Government continues to develop its approach to supporting young people leaving care through:

  • introduction of the Care Leaver Covenant which aims to provide additional support for those leaving care; and
  • publication by every local authority of local offers for care leavers.

With more than 50 employers, charities and all central government Departments committing to the Covenant, delegates will assess progress made in its implementation and how to ensure young people are aware of and take up the opportunities it offers.

Matthew Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Spectra First, Government’s delivery partner for the covenant will deliver a keynote address at the seminar.

We also expect wider discussion on how to support care leavers into further education, training and employment including initial findings from the trials of the three Social Impact Bond Projects taking place in three different areas with the aim of preventing care leavers being out of work and training.

Delegates will also look at the role further and higher education (HE) providers can play in supporting care leavers and improving access and participation in HE.

It follows the publication by Government of guiding principles for HE institutions to improve their offer for care leavers including how to support care leavers before they enter HE, and financial and practical support such as accommodation provision and ensuring adequate support networks are in place.

Further sessions will consider current local authority provision, in light of the publication by each local authority of local offers for young people leaving care.

There will be discussion on developing best practice models and implementing them across different areas.

It includes a contribution from Paul Startup, Head of Service, 18 + Care Leavers Service and Rachel Calver, Service Manager for Transition - Leaving Care Service of Kent County Council on the development of their Care Leavers Strategy, in particular in improving the stability of care leavers and the support available to them.

Delegates will examine the implementation more widely of the offers so far including:

  • the development of a joined up and whole local authority approach which includes each area of the council;
  • the financial impact on local authorities; and
  • steps being taken by LAs to improve their provision such as through the Innovation Fund.

There will also be discussion on how local authorities can develop effective and co-ordiated partnerships with education providers, health and housing services and charities to create a platform for young people leaving care.

Keynote Speakers

Matthew Gordon

Chief Executive Officer, Spectra First

Mark Riddell

National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers, Department for Education


Steve McCabe MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers


Frank Young

Political Director and Head of the Family Policy Unit, Centre for Social Justice

Paul Startup

Head of Service, 18 + Care Leavers Service, Kent County Council

Rachel Calver

Service Manager for Transition, Leaving Care Service, Kent County Council

Toby North

Senior Public Affairs Officer, The Children’s Society

Suzanne Cain

Service Manager CAMHS Specialist services, CYPS Specialist Services, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust