What support will I get with education, training or employment?

We want you to be able to continue your education or training or find work when you leave care.

If you’re starting education or training courses and need support, you’ll be eligible for the support detailed below and as provided by the Virtual School.

All care leavers will be assigned a Virtual School Education, employment and training advisor who will provide you with career information, advice and guidance.

Travel expenses for 18+ care leavers

If you’re in education and/or training the Council will pay for an Oyster Card (up to zone 6), if this is not covered by your training provider.

Education bursary for 16 to 19 year olds. To be able to claim travel expenses, you’ll need to complete an education contract with your Virtual School Advisor.

If you are still in education or training, the Virtual school or your college will be able to advise whether you are eligible for a 16-19 bursary. Careers advisors (the new name for Connexions workers) will have more information about this. Your social worker or Virtual School worker can help you complete the application form.

18 to 21 year olds wanting to go to college

You’ll have the following support available to you.

Your social worker will keep in touch with you and review your pathway plan to ensure you are getting the support you need.

Assistance with some expenses for education, training and employment if needed.

Income support or housing benefit should be available if you have been in care and remain separated from your family and are in:

  • full time further / non-advanced education (this is up to A-level standard or equivalent)


  • in direct training for 12 hours a week or more income support or housing benefit should continue to be paid until the end of the academic year that you turn 21

In exceptional circumstances and based on an assessment of need, we may be able to make a contribution towards course workbooks, field trips, special equipment or materials, clothing for work experience or job interviews.

21 to 24 year olds wanting to go into education or training

We have a responsibility to assess your circumstances and offer support to you if this is needed, once you have left care until you are 25, in respect of education or training for the duration of the course.

If you’re over 21 and want to go back into education or training, you’ll be given advice and support to consider your options through the Leaving Care Service and the Virtual School.

This will include:

  • suitability of the course
  • using any savings you have to support you during this time
  • combining work and study
  • applying for financial support from charities and trusts
  • considering if you’re eligible for funding from your employer

If we do provide you with support after 21, we’ll also provide you with a social worker who will update your pathway plan with you and keep in touch.

Support for young people wanting to go to university


  • you must have completed BTEC level 3, Access to Higher Education, or A levels and be enrolled on a course of higher education, which includes first degree and higher education qualifications that are over 12 hours per week of study, including some distance learning courses. The course must last for at least 2 academic years, or 1 year in the case of the Access to Higher Education course
  • you must commence the course of higher education prior to your 25th birthday and have confirmation of your student loan and immigration status for the duration


  • your social worker will formally authorise any higher education course you have chosen. The Virtual School will provide you with support in applying for university and Student Finance. If you’re starting university you are eligible for the support detailed below:
    • a social worker to review and update your Pathway Plan and keep in touch with you
    • we’ll pay you an education grant of £1000 a term. This is inclusive of a £2000 bursary for the whole course and is for vacation accommodation costs
    • young people returning to their foster carer placement during holiday period will be expected to contribute £100 per week towards their rent during that period (see staying put information)
    • the financial support is available for 3 years. If your first designated course is 4 years in duration (eg teacher training), additional financial support will be agreed in your pathway plan for year 4 to a maximum of £3,000
    • in some cases you will be given a grant to purchase a laptop in your first year of study to the maximum value of £400, including software, based on an assessment of need
    • The Virtual School will provide support in accessing university care leaver packages of support
    • The Virtual School will support you in making a budget plan on a yearly basis to help you manage your finances.

If you decide at the end of the first year you are on the wrong course, or you need to repeat a year we will provide an additional year’s funding. You’ll only receive a maximum of 4 years funding in total, on confirmation of your student loan.

Payment of the bursary will be assessed as part of your pathway plan, including agreement from your social worker that the course of higher education is a reasonable career pathway that will lead to employment.

If you are a qualifying care leaver, and are at university, and need somewhere to stay during vacation periods, you can ask the Leaving Care Service for support.


If there is any dispute about attendance, your social worker will ask you to provide a letter of attendance from your higher education institution (eg university).

If you’re not attending your course in accordance with your pathway plan, we may withhold payment of any bursary and other financial support provided by Hackney, following discussion with the Head of Corporate Parenting.

Where you have been paid but decide not to attend, this is grounds for us to request for monies to be repaid.

Additional funding

There are sources of additional funding that you should make use of for financial support, including seeking part-time employment, student loans and grants and hardship grants.

Some universities offer a care leavers bursary or financial support. Your social worker and Virtual School Advisor can discuss these with you.

Support after university

We can continue to offer you advice and support, if you need it, up until you are 25, for employment, education or training.

However, when you have completed your university course, if you don’t have paid work, you’ll be expected to claim benefits, unless you are considering going on to a post graduate course.

If you want to go on to complete a postgraduate course, we’ll offer you support and assistance to help identify financial support for you to continue your education and will advise you how to access this. We’re not able to pay your fees or living expenses.

Support for parents with child care costs

If you want to access training or education you should find out what child care support is on offer from your employer, training provider, college or university.

If you’re in university, you can access child care through student finance. For care leavers under 20 years of age, child care support can be accessed through care to learn.

Traineeship programme

In some cases, you can be supported to access a traineeship programme at Hackney Council and / or partner organisations through the Virtual School.

Hackney 100

Hackney 100 is a paid work placement programme for young people aged 16-19 who live or study in Hackney. Placements are available in high-profile local companies across a number of sectors, including tech, design, media, fashion, hospitality, catering, engineering and finance.

To find out more speak to your social work unit or the Virtual School, or visit Hackney 100.

Hackney’s apprenticeship programme

An apprenticeship is a full time job which combines training and study – you’ll learn as you earn. You can study for a number of different qualifications across Levels 2, 3 or 4. Apprenticeship training takes place for a minimum of a year, but can last for up to 4 years depending on the qualification you take.

You usually spend around 20% of your time studying, which is only one day a week, with the rest of the time spent working to get a heap of experience to help start your future career.

As a Hackney care leaver, to be eligible for our apprenticeships you need to be aged 16-24, and not hold a qualification at Level 4 or above (this does not apply to our higher level apprenticeships).

To find out more speak to your social work unit or the Virtual School, or visit Hackney Works – apprenticeships.

More information and contacts

Virtual School

Email virtualschoolteam@hackney.gov.uk

Hackney Learning Trust
1 Reading Lane
E8 1GQ


Web: www.turn2us.org.uk
Freephone: 0808 802 2000 (9am to 8pm Monday to Friday)

Helps people access the money available to them through welfare benefits, grants and other help.

Page updated on: 10 January 2020

Hackney Children and Families Service


Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY

Opening times

  • 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday - except bank holidays