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In 2000, due to the comparatively low number of care leavers reaching higher education (first available statistics: 1% of care leavers in 2001-021) Buttle UK commissioned the five-year action research study 'By Degrees: From Care to University'to evaluate the student experience of those who achieved the move from care into HE.

The recommendations of the study led to the creation of the Quality Mark.Research therefore has been key to the birth of the Quality Mark, its philosophy, and its development.
This page contains links to all the research and publications which have influenced and informed the development of the award.

Quality Mark Annual Statistical Report,  Academic Year 2012-2013 (June 2014) 

The information in this report has been collected from 62 Higher Education Institutions and 25 Further Education Colleges. This is the second year in which we have collected this information from Higher Education colleges in this format.

Further Education Colleges were invited to join the Quality Mark for the first time in 2012, following the pilot phase in 2009-2011, and this is the first time we have collected data from them. As a result we now have a more rounded snapshot of the experiences of care leavers in post-16 education.

Quality Mark Universities' Annual Statistical Report, 2011/12(June 2013)

Every year we ask Quality Mark HEIs to submit statistical data to us relating to numbers of care leavers studying at their institution. We are currently the only organisation to collect this kind of data. This year we substantially reviewed the data we ask for from institutions, in order to make the process easier, and to improve the accuracy of the data. 

This report is an analyses of the data received this year, relating to the academic year 2011/12, and provides some really interesting statistics which are useful indicators for where support can be further developed within institutions. 

Assessing the Impact of the Buttle UK Quality Mark in Higher Education (June 2013)

Image of front page of report

This research, conducted by York Consulting LLP and funded by the KPMG Foundation,
assesses the impact the Quality Mark has had on support for care leavers in higher education since its development in 2006. 

The report reveals a dramatic improvement in awareness of the barriers that care leavers face in higher education as well as the provision now in place for them at HEIs since the introduction of the Quality Mark in 2006. 

Support across Quality Mark institutions still varies and the report highlights the need for all to strive to achieve the top 'exemplary' level of assessment for their Quality Mark. 

Read or download 'Assessing the Impact of the Buttle UK Quality Mark in Higher Education'. 

Annex A: Evaluation Framework

Annex B: Student Survey

Please note: For the glossary, the equivalent to an Access Agreement in Wales is a Fee Plan. 


The Buttle UK Quality Mark Model: Working with your institution to support Care Leavers in HE (April 2012)

Dr Louise Comerford Boyes, a ResearchBradford research front page Fellow from the University of Bradford completed a report in April 2012 on the impact of the Quality Mark for higher education. The report highlights the benefits of the Quality Mark to HEIs in for example, building effective cross-sector collaboration, providing a basis for external evaluation, as well as a framework to develop strategic cross-departmental working.

The report notes that in England 6% of looked after children progressed on to higher education at age 19 in 2011. This is compared in the report to a figure of 3% in Scotland in 2010. In Scotland there are different definitions of looked after children compared to England and this 3% figure refers to a wider group of formerly looked after children, including children on home supervision orders. This group has poorer outcomes than those leaving foster care and residential care and therefore this overall figure is slightly lower than that provided for England. These figures for Scotland are also compiled from destination surveys conducted by the careers services and therefore only cover those who progress directly to university rather than those who progress from further education to higher education. 

Read or download 'The Buttle UK Quality Mark Model: Working with your institution to support Care Leavers in HE'. 

A Quality Mark for Care Leavers; a Pilot Study for Further Education (July 2011) 

The strong success of the Quality Mark led to many requests from the further education sector to consider a similar FE commitment to Care Leavers. Buttle UK acknowledged that many young people choose to stay in further education, sometimes to then go on to complete HE qualifications. In October 2009 therefore, Buttle UK embarked upon an 18-month development programme for an FE Quality Mark, with a pilot of 25 further education colleges drawn from different areas of the United Kingdom.

The pilot found an urgent need for a Quality Mark for the FE sector and as a result Buttle UK now offer a Quality Mark for FE institutions as of January 2012. The report summarises the development, implementation and impact of the programme, and draws conclusions and recommendations on the potential for a national roll out.

Read or download 'A Quality Mark for Care Leavers; a Pilot Study for Further Education'. 

FE pilot report front page

Case study on the impact of IOE research into 'Going to University from Care' (September 2011)

The Institute of Education produced a report in September 2011 analysing the impact the By Degrees study has had on local and central government policies and on the provision by universities for young care leavers. 

By Degrees: From Care to University  (2005)

In 2004, Buttle UK completed the first ever research study of university students with a background in local authority care.

Read or download a Summary of the final 'By Degrees' Report's Findings, or read or download the final 'By Degrees' Report 'Going to university from care'.

Front page for by degrees research

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