SEVEN young care leavers from Thurrock are currently being supported by Thurrock Council to undertake degrees at several universities.
All of them receive a bursary of at least £2,000 from the council to support their education as well as practical support with computer equipment and housing.
This is part of the Thurrock Corporate Parenting strategy to support young people to achieve educationally through the development of the Virtual School for Looked After Children.
The Virtual School was developed to ensure that all young people are supported in their school and that head teachers give priority to the needs of this vulnerable group.
Three students who started courses in September 2009 are now well settled into university courses and this has increased, by over 50 per cent, the numbers who now attend university.
Cllr Sue MacPherson, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for Children’s social care, said: “We are investing in a number of initiatives that will support young people from vulnerable backgrounds to not only achieve at GCSE level but also go on to further and higher education.
“We are extremely proud of our youngsters who have not let the challenges they have faced stop them from achieving success and we congratulate them as well as celebrate their success and accomplishments to date.”
The courses undertaken by young people vary from Pharmacology, IT, Accounting and Business, Biomedical Science, Tourism and Management to Engineering.