St Mary’s University, Twickenham has announced plans to launch a new Centre for Research into the Education of Marginalised Children and Young Adults.
The centre will focus on the education of children and young adults not served by existing education systems, including young offenders, young people with severe behavioural and educational needs, care leavers, as well as young people who are in conflict zones or where civil society has broken down. St Mary’s already has strong links working with marginalised children and young adults through its work with the First Star Academy and its research into the provision of education for children and young adults in refugee camps.
The St Mary’s First Star Academy, which won the Best Prospective Student Engagement Award at the 2018 Whatuni? Student Choice Awards, was established in the spring of 2017 and helps young people in foster care from local authorities across London gain access to and flourish in higher education.
During their time at St Mary’s, the young people receive academic support, to help them with their GCSE and A level results and to prepare them for higher education, life skills training, including financial management, healthy living, risk reduction and confidence building.
The four-week residential programme is intended to ensure that those attending are as prepared as possible for higher education. It helps them decide the type of university they may want to attend through visits to other campuses, the course they want to study, and to explore financial support options available to them.
The programme is also designed to help with emotional resilience, including social engagement skills. There is also further support programme for foster carers to improve foster placement stability.
Support from Sir John Cass’s Educational Foundation, the Maria Marina Foundation, the Peter Cundill Foundation, the Atlantic Trading Charitable Trust and the Religious of the Assumption has ensured that project is fully funded for its first four-year cohort.
Speaking of the new Research Centre St Mary’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Rt Hon Ruth Kelly said: ‘This new centre will make a major difference to the lives of at-risk and marginalised young adults and children, both at home and around the world, as our research develops and grows. We are proud that we can build on our work with the First Star Academy to help more at risk young people.’