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Dr Alex Blower and Professor Paul Gough have signed the Stand Alone Pledge to support estranged students.

AUB signs Stand Alone Pledge

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Arts University Bournemouth has put its support behind an initiative to look after young people who are estranged from their families.

Launched in 2016, The Stand Alone Pledge represents a nationwide commitment across UK Higher Education Institutions to recognise the difficulties associated with young people who wish to enter studies without the support and approval of a family network.

Young people can end up in this position as a result of a diverse range of factors, including familial or emotional abuse, clashes of values and beliefs, or instances of honour-based violence, forced marriage and family rejection of LGBTQI+ people. Sadly, this estrangement can also happen as a result of actively pursuing education against the wishes of family or extended family networks.

Estrangement is also not only restricted to those applying to study, with more than 28% of current students admitting to feeling uncomfortable about accessing support within their own university, according to study data by University of Cambridge.

A further 41% of those interviewed had considered withdrawing or suspending from their course due to money pressures, stress or mental health struggles. Those within this group were found to be three times more likely to cease their studies.

Professor Paul Gough, Vice-Chancellor at Arts University Bournemouth, said: “AUB is proud to become a signatory of the Stand Alone Pledge. This important commitment underlines our desire to confront the challenge of estrangement, which is a major issue for society impacting on young people.

“Estrangement happens for a variety of reasons, and we are keen to highlight our support for estranged young people, both as current and as future students, while ensuring that access to university study is open and accessible for all.”

Dr Alex Blower, Access and Participation Manager at AUB, said: “Earlier this year, our university became a signatory of the Stand Alone Pledge, which supports estranged students.

“There are many things that Higher Education Institutions can do to address various barriers to education, and AUB is committed to ensuring that we offer equity of educational opportunity to everyone.”

“AUB welcomes students from a diverse range of lived experiences and backgrounds and we offer a £2,000 bursary for students who are irreconcilably estranged from family.

“We can offer year-round halls of residence accommodation for students unable to return to their family home during summer vacation periods, and estranged students are provided with a named point of contact to facilitate and support their transition to university.”

To read more about the Stand Alone Pledge, visit www.thestandalonepledge.org.uk.

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