FOUR Scottish students will progress their academic dreams by attending the prestigious Harvard University Summer School thanks to a charity which supports care-experienced young people.

Téa, Carys, Lauren and Stephanie will jet off to Boston, Massachusetts this weekend before their classes begin next week.

The programme is a fully immersive seven-week university experience with rigorous academic requirements. The group will live on campus with other students from around the world, study two university-level modules and take part in campus life.

Charity Who Cares? Scotland believes that all care-experienced people – those who are or have been in care such as children’s homes, foster care or who are looked after by relatives or at home with social work involvement – should be able to achieve their academic goals regardless of the challenges many care-experienced people face in accessing education, such as placement moves and school changes.

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Despite these obstacles, care-experienced school leavers in Scotland have seen improving levels of attainment in recent years.

Who Cares? Scotland is seeking to continue this positive trend and this year with the support of South Lanarkshire, East Lothian and Midlothian Councils, is sending a record number of four students to take part in the Harvard summer school programme.

With aspirations to become a High Court Judge or the Prime Minister, Téa, from Midlothian, will take courses on Superheroes and Power and Public Speaking.

Carys, from East Lothian, a budding writer, will study Creative Writing and an Introduction to Psychology.

Hoping to become the first set of twins in space at the same time, Lauren and Stephanie from South Lanarkshire, will both study The Life & Death of Stars and Marine Life & Eco Systems.

When asked what message she would share about care-experienced people, Stephanie, who wants to be the first female British ESA Astronaut, said: “We’re just as capable as other people. Just because we didn’t have the same start in life doesn’t mean that we can’t go on to achieve great things.”

The initiative has proven extremely successful at supporting those with experience of care to arrive at positive destinations following their scholarship. Since 2010, the charity has supported 22 students to attend with previous applicants going on to attend university and further education colleges.

Carys, Téa, Stephanie and Lauren will have the chance to realise and harness their skills at Harvard

Louise Hunter, chief executive at Who Cares? Scotland, said: “The Harvard Summer School programme helps care-experienced people discover just how much they are capable of and sets them up with key skills for life.

“We believe that everyone should be entitled to the best education possible. There can be barriers for care-experienced people in accessing the education they deserve. Although work is being done to address these challenges, such as the Care-Experienced Student Bursary and minimum entry requirements for further education institutions; this opportunity can broaden horizons significantly.

“Supporting care-experienced young people to realise their academic potential is vital. When we help people succeed, everyone benefits.”