Governance and networks

One of the main aims and key benefits of Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) is connecting staff from across its 13 member institutions.

Member institutions automatically join the GHWY Board and two formal ancillary groups, the Access and Participation Strategy Group and the Go Higher Skills Group. They can also choose to become involved in additional networks. By working as a collective we often reach a better outcome than we might have had individually.

Our work can take part in groups and networks, which may comprise staff:

  • In similar or related roles
  • With similar or related interests
  • Responding to similar or related issues, or working towards similar or related goals

Group members often represent a range of functions across the student lifecycle.

Woman sat at a laptop making notes.

Staff have reported numerous benefits to this approach. These include:

  • Sharing learning and expertise, as well as effort and resource
  • The opportunity to understand how different institutions approach their activities
  • Having access to a range of viewpoints to challenge their own or institutional assumptions
  • A common understanding of West Yorkshire’s particular needs and how to respond to them



Go Higher West Yorkshire is governed by a Board comprising senior representation from each of the 13 members. The Board is responsible for the strategic direction of the partnership, and oversees project activities and performance.

Access & Participation Strategy Group members

The APSG brings together senior and strategic representatives in admissions, widening participation, outreach and student success from each of the HE provider members. It supports students from underrepresented groups to be able to make informed choices about their own future. It also supports staff across the consortium with learning, research and good practice in how to ensure students from a diverse range of backgrounds can stay on course and succeed in HE.

Go Higher Skills Group

The Access and Participation Strategy Group (APSG) and Go Higher Skills Group (GHSG) act as the interface between the Board and the wider partnership. They oversee operational activity and are responsible for the implementation of the strategy.

The GHSG brings together senior and strategic representatives in apprenticeships, work-based learning, skills, careers, employability and enterprise from each of the HE provider members. It works with employers, champions best practice and collaborates to support and empower people from underrepresented groups to gain higher level skills, progress into or within employment, develop their understanding of alternative HE options, and increase progression into graduate-level destinations.

Our networks

Member institutions can choose to become involved in our Decolonising the Curriculum Network or four additional under-represented group networks.

Decolonising the Curriculum

The Decolonising the Curriculum Network looks at a specific issue that is related to access and success, bringing together staff who are working towards similar goals around decolonising their area of work. Members include academics across a variety of disciplines and staff from institutional services such as access and participation, libraries and student support. 

It provides a supportive and understanding environment for participants to share information and resources. Its first output was a collaborative keynote speech at Leeds Trinity University’s Race, Equity and Social Justice Conference on 24 March 2022. 

The Network meets twice a year, with interim ad hoc meetings as required. Its Chair is Steve Gleadall (University of Leeds). 

Under-represented group networks

The following four networks arose from a larger strand of work and co-exist alongside each other. They investigate activities and approaches that we hope to use to develop an overarching framework for working with students across a broad range of under-represented groups. In addition to sharing and transferring good practice, each network is working towards one or more outputs.  

GHWY representatives on the groups include those from both the core team and Uni Connect team.

Network looking at the experiences of students from Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnicities

This Network convenes individuals from a range of roles who have an interest in ensuring equitable experiences for students from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnicities. It meets once a term and the co-Chairs are Shames Maskeen (Leeds Trinity University) and Tahera Mayat (GHWY).

During 2022/23 and 2023/24 it is working on a systematic review looking at HE access for Black Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Students. This will contribute to the knowledge base of access to HE for this group to inform an evidence-based approach. It will also bring together academic and non-academic colleagues, helping them to incorporate research into their practice.

Network looking at the experiences of care-experienced and estranged students

This Network convenes individuals from a range of roles, including those who support young people who have experience of the care system or are estranged from their families. It meets once a term and the co-Chairs are Laura da Costa (Leeds Arts University) and Helen Sykes (GHWY).

During 2022/23 it has started work towards adopting a common definition of ‘care experienced’ across GHWY’s member institutions, and delivering two collaborative events aimed at helping young people make informed choices about their next steps. This work complements the work we already do to support individuals from these groups, particularly through our Care to Go Higher programme.

Network looking at the experiences of disabled students

This Network convenes individuals from a range of roles involved in supporting disabled learners to get access to and/or succeed in HE. It meets once a term and the co-Chairs are Jo Mitchell (University of Huddersfield) and Simon Morris (University of Leeds).

In 2021/22 it developed a Disabled Learners’ Transition pack, which addressed a common issue seen by colleagues in Further Education (FE) with their students trying to move into HE. This has been promoted both locally and nationally, including via blog posts (such as, on the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) website), presentations (for example, at the Open University biennial international conference), and running stalls at relevant local events (such as, Leeds Next Choices event).

The pack will be reviewed annually to ensure it remains accurate and responds to feedback. There will also be ongoing evaluation and dissemination to widen its impact.

Network looking at the experiences of males on free school meals

This Network convenes individuals from a range of roles who are interested in supporting more males previously in receipt of free school meals to consider HE options. It meets once a term and the co-Chairs are Jonathan Holland (Leeds Beckett University) and James Rew (Leeds Conservatoire).

It has identified a struggle to recruit males into Student Host/Student Ambassador roles, to support others to consider HE. To better understand the challenge, it has looked at data around recruitment to these roles, and the wording in job advertisements. The members of the Network were asked to review their job descriptions in line with the recommendations. It is hoped this work will shine a light on the start of the application process and the need to encourage male role models.

To support our focus on local collaboration, our networks are open to staff across GHWY’s 13 member institutions. If you work at one of these institutions and are interested in finding out who your institutional representative is, or in joining any of the Networks, please contact Tahera Mayat, GHWY’s Collaborative Outreach Officer at