It has been three years since The Promise Scotland was launched after one of the most comprehensive studies of the nation’s care system ever attempted, with a consultation of 5,550 people, a far-reaching commitment to care experienced children and young people was pledged.

Supported by all of the political parties, its broad ambition was the creation of a new structure of care, centred on children and families – a commitment reiterated by the recently-appointed First Minister, who set out his policy priorities for the next three years.

Education is a core tenet of the report, recognising the unique challenges faced by young people within the care system and how a co-ordinated approach to their attainment is essential.

There is clear evidence to demonstrate how children and young people in care have some of the poorest attainment rates in education, and care leavers are a third more likely to drop out of their studies. Their lives can often be characterised by poverty, disrupted family life and changes to care placements and schools which can be detrimental to attendance. It is also extremely important to recognise any trauma which may have led to a first experience of care.

Colleges have an important role to play in supporting Scotland’s care system and provide a vital scaffold for care-experienced young people. A positive experience of education can have a lifelong impact and it is essential the further education sector does everything it can to honour the pledges made, to improve the life chances of every student and give them the opportunity they deserve for maximum attainment.

These ambitions cannot be achieved in isolation. It is essential that a coordinated approach is undertaken, with the public and third sectors working together to review every aspect of the learning journey to make sure that every step is fully developed.

Many positive steps have already been taken but this is a huge endeavor and one where every single touch-point must be considered – from first inquiry to graduation and the onward journey to employment, further training or university.

Most colleges offer guaranteed interviews for individual courses, fast-tracked access to funding and a named contact to support students as they progress through education, however, while awareness of some of the challenges faced by care-experienced young people in the education system is high, there is still much to do to help students achieve their full potential. Support must be embedded at the application stage for young people as they plan their future pathway, ensuring signposting to financial, emotional and practical support that makes transitions successful.

Working together is absolutely paramount to these goals as we #KeepThePromise for Scotland’s young people. That’s why, earlier this year, Glasgow Clyde College welcomed key organisations and students to its Promise event to make pledges of commitment to support and improve the outcomes of people with lived experience of the care system, and why we will commit to future events to continue to raise awareness. It’s with acts of Promises that we can work together to make a real difference.

Claire Glen is Assistant Principal of Glasgow Clyde College