For all resources about us
- To achieve common goals on access to, success in and progression from HE for those from under-represented groups by connecting our unique range of member HE providers with each other and external stakeholders.
- To bring together members and stakeholders to ensure HE is an accessible option that is considered by a wider and more inclusive audience in our local area, and to support these prospective students in and through our institutions.
- West Yorkshire
Our strategic approach
- We support sustainability by building connections and working with those who work with our under-represented groups.
Priorities for our work
- Under-represented groups
- Informed choices
- Evidence-based practice
Enablers of our work
- Collaborative engagement and input from our diverse range of members and external stakeholders
- A flexible approach which recognises the diversity of our membership
- A sustainable approach to resourcing to enable longer-term planning
Delivery of strategy
- Collaborating to create demand for higher education
- Collaborating to respond to need
Governance and Networks
Go Higher West Yorkshire is governed by a Board comprising senior representation from each of the 13 members. It also has two ancillary groups, the Access and Participation Group and Go Higher Skills Group, along with five optional Networks.
The Office for Students has stressed the need for sustained outreach interventions that build upon one another. The GHWY Progression Framework maps out the stages on the journey to Higher Education, and the suggested activities that will help individual learners to progress.
The phases of the framework are structured around key decision points on the student journey. The journey starts with preparing for Level 2 (especially GCSE options), moves on to preparing for Level 3 (whether that’s, A Levels, T Levels, BTEC or Access), and finally progresses to preparing for HE (a degree or higher level apprenticeship). Throughout the framework, longer term ambitions and career goals are explored and linked to relevant courses, qualifications and pathways. The end point for each phase is the decision about the next step. To inform these important decisions, the outcomes for each stage on the journey are based on the four D’s that we think learners need to go higher: Dream, Discover, Debate, and Do.
The activities at each stage of the journey are suggest as a guide. To support schools and colleges, all activities are also mapped against Gatsby benchmarks.
Go Higher Network Map
Go Higher West Yorkshire is a consortium of HE providers in our local area, working together to reduce inequality in higher education access, success and progression. Go Higher West Yorkshire is part of the UniConnect programme funded by the Office for Students. The project offers activities, advice and information on the benefits and realities of going to university or college.
The following Network Map illustrates the structure of Go Higher West Yorkshire, including its central staff and those allocated to partner institutions, and how those partner institutions are represented on the
GHWY board and other key groups, as well as other external relationships.
The nature and benefits of these relationships are evidenced and explored in more depth in the Network Analysis research report also developed by Cosmos Engagement.
Impact research & findings
Higher education outreach with underrepresented groups: Go Higher West Yorkshire’s approach and impact, October 2023
Go Higher West Yorkshire’s (GHWY) Underrepresented Groups (URG) Approach and Impact Report offers a comprehensive review of strategic outreach initiatives delivered across West Yorkshire via the Uni Connect programme in 2022-2023 academic year.
This collaboration among 13 higher education institutions aims to bridge the gap in higher education access, achievement, and progression for various URGs. These groups include learners from Black, Asian, and Minoritised Ethnic backgrounds, disabled learners, Gypsy Roma Traveller communities, and male learners receiving free school meals.
The report outlines GHWY’s methodologies, including a sector best practices review, a theory of change workshop, staff surveys, and focus groups with URG learners. It identifies specific hurdles each group encounters and assesses the impact of targeted interventions. Findings of this report highlight the importance of continuous engagement, role model exposure, and tailored support for learners from underrepresented backgrounds.
Key recommendations include developing diverse, multi-faceted outreach programs, involving parents and communities in these initiatives, and enhancing staff training and evaluation. The report advocates for stronger evaluation practices and the dissemination of best practices and findings to foster more effective outreach strategies.
Evaluation of Think and Go Higher: A Metacognition-based Attainment Raising Programme
For the 2022-23 school year, the Office for Students (OfS) introduced a fresh mandate to Uni Connect partnerships, emphasising “evidence-driven collective efforts to enhance performance from Key Stage 3, and into and through Key Stage 4” (OfS, 2022a).
This directive allowed partnerships to leverage existing data and address regional-specific needs. After a thorough review and exploration, Go Higher West Yorkshire developed and launched a pilot program centered around metacognition in its initial phase.
Post-16 FE College and Sixth Form Learner Outcomes and Perspectives Research
GHWY commissioned research to analyse post-16 learner outcomes in settings associated with GHWY and help GHWY deepen its understanding of the differences experienced by learners across these settings in relation to their intentions towards and preparation for higher education. This research was carried out by Dr Pallavi Banerjee (University of Exeter), Prof. Debrah Myhill (University of Exeter), and Dr Joanne Tyssen (University Centre Leeds).
Care to Go Higher Research Report 2022
The third iteration of Go Higher West Yorkshire’s (GHWY) CPD programme for key influencers of young people in care was held from March to July 2022 with 11 participants graduating from the programme.
The large majority of the participants were foster carers and the programme was adapted between sessions to better accommodate the needs of the participants.
The sessions were run via online meetings including both session content and talks from guest speakers delivered to the participants. Each participant was given access to session resources and slides after each session and additional links/resources of relevance to follow on from the presentation.
Four of the sessions included guest speakers on varying topics including both Higher Education (HE) professionals and care-experienced students. The guest speakers were sourced via our partners and provided a variety of unique insights.
Higher Education Opportunities for Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Young People in West Yorkshire
These reports present the findings of recently commissioned research into the educational experiences and attitudes towards progression into Higher Education (HE) for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people living in West Yorkshire.
A short 15 page summary of the research report: Higher Education Opportunities for Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Young People in West Yorkshire. It includes an overview of key findings from the report, with a particular focus on youth voice, as well as recommendations for practice.
The full research report is a detailed and thorough exploration of the experiences of young Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people living in West Yorkshire in relation to education, schooling, and progression to HE. It includes findings from discussions with young people themselves, findings from educational stakeholders working with these communities, and recommendations for good practice.
Supporting White Boys from Working Class Backgrounds
These reports present the findings of recently commissioned research into the educational experiences and attitudes towards progression into Higher Education (HE) for white boys from working class backgrounds in West Yorkshire.
A short 11 page summary of the research report: Supporting White Boys from Working Class Backgrounds in West Yorkshire. It includes an overview of key findings from the report as well as recommendations for practice.
The full research report is a detailed and thorough exploration of the experiences of learners who self-identify as white boys from working class backgrounds in relation to education, schooling, and progression to HE. It includes findings from discussions with learners and from analysis of secondary data sources such as HESA and UCAS.
Go Higher West Yorkshire commissioned Cosmos Engagement Ltd to complete a research investigation into the experiences and challenges of white boys from working class backgrounds in West Yorkshire, to identify any areas for support they may have and how these may be addressed.
We spoke to 18 white Boys (6 KS4, 12 FE) from Working-Class Backgrounds (POLAR4 Quintiles 1-2) via a number of online interviews and discussion groups. We also held stakeholder interviews with 6 Stakeholders from 1 Secondary School and 1 FE College in West Yorkshire with a high proportion of White Working-Class Learners.
Report considers success of Care to Go Higher’s virtual CPD programme
GHWY has prepared a short report on the 2021 edition of the Care to Go Higher CPD programme that summarises the key findings from the programme and considers potential improvements for future courses.
The programme brought together key influencers of children in care from across West Yorkshire to take part in six different sessions based around topics relating to care-experienced young people and higher education. In total 27 participants graduated from the course and their views shape the content of the report.
The report analyses the findings from surveys that participants completed before and after the course as well as pre and post each session. Using the same criteria as the pilot programme for these evaluations meant that direct comparisons of results could be made, and the results suggest that the virtual programme was equally valuable in improving participants’ knowledge.
Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Learners (BAME)
These reports present the findings of recently commissioned research into the educational experiences and attitudes towards progression into Higher Education (HE) for young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds across West Yorkshire.
A short 10 page summary of the research report: Understanding & Meeting the Needs of Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Learners in West Yorkshire. It includes an overview of key findings from the report as well as recommendations for practice.
The full research report is a detailed and thorough exploration of the experiences of young Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in relation to education, schooling, and progression to HE. It includes findings from discussions with learners, their parents, and from analysis of secondary data sources such as the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and UCAS.
Impacts of Covid-19 on Learners in West Yorkshire
A supplementary report produced as a result of research with Black, Asian and minority ethnic learners and white boys from working class backgrounds. It provides an overview of the impacts of Covid-19 on these cohorts, particularly in relation to their attitudes and concerns regarding their education and progression to HE.
Go Higher West Yorkshire commissioned Cosmos Engagement Ltd to complete a research investigation into the experiences and challenges of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) learners in West Yorkshire, to identify any areas for support they may have and how these may be addressed.
We spoke to 37 BAME learners (including KS4 and FE learners) across 5 Ethnicity Segments via a number of online interviews and discussion groups.
HE opportunities for BAME young people in West Yorkshire
Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) commissioned research into how outreach practitioners can better support young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds into and through HE. Key findings include the need for a more nuanced understanding of specific ethnic groups rather than an overarching ‘BAME’ category.
The research is part of GHWY’s programme to ensure that HE in all its forms is open to all who can benefit, regardless of background; improving access to, success in and progression from HE, for those from underrepresented groups.
Care to Go Higher Evaluation Report
In this report, Go Higher West Yorkshire shares impact and insights from the evaluation of its innovative Care to Go Higher programme. The training programme is designed to equip key influencers to support care-experienced young people to make informed choices about their educational progression.
It finds that the programme has a strong impact on participants’ knowledge, understanding and perception of higher education, particularly in relation to the care-experience. It also shows that participants engage more strongly with the influence they can have over young people, and their ability to advocate for young people’s potential, as a result of participating in the programme.
It advocates for a collaborative approach to widening participation that engages meaningfully with whole communities and their specific lived experiences. Likewise, local authorities are encouraged to work with partnerships of higher education providers to ensure their corporate parenting workforce has high expectations for young people’s futures, exposure to a broad range of HE provision, and is well-equipped to support their informed choices.
GHWY: Delivering careers advice in the wake of Covid 19
Go Higher West Yorkshire has worked with C&K Careers to explore the impact of Covid 19 on the delivery of Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG). The research, which was funded as part of the OfS Uni Connect programme, also considered how things might look in the 2020-21 academic year.
The research, undertaken in July 2020, explores current and planned approaches to delivery of CEIAG activities in schools and colleges and examines challenges and potential solutions.
Potential challenges that were identified include labour market uncertainty; concerns around the priority of CEIAG; students’ IT access; and safeguarding.
Schools and colleges expected to see increased use of online CEIAG delivery this academic year alongside some small group or one to one activity face to face. They also highlighted the importance of being flexible, adaptable and being prepared for all eventualities in the current climate.
One key finding is that activities that are bitesize and available in a variety of formats are the most valuable and impactful during this period. These give Higher Education Providers the flexibility to incorporate them into planned lessons and activities and to meet student needs.
It was also found that participants wanted a variety of accessible activities and resources to meet different needs. Numerous free and paid resources are already available but schools and colleges often find navigating them all overwhelming.
GHWY CFE Data Analysis Report
As part of the National evaluation of NCOP, CFE research rolled out baseline and follow-up surveys. This report provides the results for our local area for our partnership.
Putting pupils in control: an action research project exploring progression opportunities
Go Higher West Yorkshire is a partnership of 13 Higher Education Providers, and we operate the HEFCE-funded National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) in our region. Across our partners, provision includes a diverse offer of progression opportunities for people of all ages to access Higher Education – including apprenticeships, diplomas and flexible degree programmes alongside more traditional ones. Part of our innovative programme of delivery is to work with cohorts of pupils to encourage them to think positively about their progression options and opportunities.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that progression options are traditionally limited for learners from disadvantaged postcode areas. Limiting factors are believed to be: a lack of information and awareness of opportunities available beyond immediate family or social circles, and restricted evidence-based reference points (parents or siblings’) positive personal experiences of progression. We tested these beliefs by working with young people growing up in these communities.
Our pilot project, with one of our partner schools (Castleford Academy), worked with a school selected mixed gender group of twelve Year 9 learners to support their development as ‘action researchers’ charged with exploring options and opportunities available to them when they eventually leave school and progress to the next stage in their lives.
‘My Holmewood’ Photography Project – Centre TFD Bradford
‘My Holmewood’ Photography Project – Centre TFD Bradford
Higher Education Progression Officer Katie Chetwood delivered a Photography Project which aimed to raise aspirations for young people in the Holmewood area.
Prior to the project, learners from the Holmewood area in Bradford had expressed distaste about their neighbourhood: litter, fly-tipping, reputation and prejudice were all areas of concern.
‘My Holmewood’ was a three-day intensive project, devised, co-ordinated and run to counteract the low aspirations of the area; from feedback previously received, many of the young people in the area didn’t have the confidence to access Higher Education without ongoing external support. Previous events had highlighted misconceptions about Higher Education, especially in relation to finances, what is expected from applications and lack of knowledge about the amount of support given to young people with Learning Disabilities and Special Educational and Disability Needs.
Therefore the context and desired outcome of the project, was:
- To use a creative means to engage and inspire NCOP learners and to break down barriers to Higher Education.
- To assess and look at the thoughts of Holmewood residents about their area prior to and then after the project, and evaluate impact on raising aspirations and changing opinions on accessing Higher Education.
- To create a permanent exhibition within the community of which the learners can be proud, and to inspire others.
- To create a book that will act as a legacy to the GHWY project for years to come, and aim to inspire other organisations to invest further in the community over the upcoming years and to help community members realise their full potential.
- To boost self-confidence for the learners through an awards ceremony at the University of Bradford, celebrating their work whilst helping familiarise them with the Higher Education environment.After the project, the participants all said that they looked at Holmewood with a fresh, more positive perspective. They also had a better and more positive opinion of Higher Education in general – as did some of the community members that we talked to during the process of the project. It opened up conversations about career options, finances, the education journey, and accessing Higher Education courses.
- The project has helped young people think about Higher Education options whilst raising their confidence: one person attending the course was offered a conditional place at the University of Bradford as a result in taking part in the project.
- Our NCOP also made good links with community members.
West Yorkshire pupils raise their aspirations at the Class of 2023 residential summer school
West Yorkshire pupils raise their aspirations at the Class of 2023 residential summer school
GCSE pupils from across the region opened their eyes to a future of Higher Education as they took part in a three-day summer school across six of our GHWY partner campuses
Hosted by Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds City College, Bradford College, the University of Bradford and Wakefield College, with support from Leeds Arts University and University of Huddersfield ambassadors, the residential was co-funded by GHWY and the government’s National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) – which aims to increase the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Higher Education by 2020. The aim of the three-day programme was to encourage young people to aspire, apply, enter and succeed in Higher Education.
93 year 10 pupils aged 14 and 15, who will be taking their GCSEs next year, attended the summer school from Tuesday 18 to Thursday 20 July. Throughout the three days, the pupils stayed at Leeds Beckett University’s Kirkstall Brewery student accommodation whilst having the chance to visit a selection of the university and college campuses, taking part in a series of workshops and social activities.
The residential gave the young people the chance to find out about the range of courses and Higher Education providers on offer in West Yorkshire; give them the opportunity to take part in university-level workshops; raise their aspirations; inspire them to think about applying for university in the future; and give them first-hand experience of university life so they can picture themselves as students in the future.
James Kelly, NCOP Higher Education Progression Officer at Carlton Bolling College in Bradford, said: “I think the best activity has been the university taster sessions on the second day: these were engaging and a chance for them to dive in and have a look at what a higher education course could actually be like for them. It was also a good opportunity for them to mix in with other schools which is something that they’re going to have to do at university and was a rewarding experience.”
Comments from the pupils included: “The Class of 2023 residential was great: I didn’t think I wanted to go to university but it got me thinking about what I want to do and where I want to go in life. I think it did the same for a lot of other people – it was really inspirational and a great experience”; and “The subject taster sessions gave us a great insight into what it would be like to study at university or college. It was really interesting to find out how science subjects are taught and dealt with in a university setting.”
Alex Cooper, a Leeds Beckett student ambassador who graduated this month with a BA (Hons) degree in Business Management, commented:
“I think that the young people gained a real insight into what different institutions have to offer and the opportunities available to them. I think that the inclusiveness of the event made Higher Education feel accessible and possible for the young people involved. I hope that the event inspired them to think about their future and the abundance of paths available for them to investigate.”
The three days were themed in order to reflect a higher education student’s journey: making informed decisions about courses, sampling university and college-level subjects in taster sessions, and employability and graduation. The theme of the student journey was reinforced by a bespoke ‘Class of 2023’ work book designed by Kyle Prior (Leeds Arts University).
On the second day, the pupils had the opportunity to sample subjects including: Forensic Science, Law, Social Work, Media Make Up and Special Effects, Civil Engineering, Photography, Textiles and Marketing. The employability and graduation events on the third day took place at Wakefield College’s Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre.
Go Higher West Yorkshire Class of 2024 Summer School 2018
Go Higher West Yorkshire Class of 2024 Summer School 2018
The class of 2024 collaborative summer school was hosted by Go Higher West Yorkshire’s (GHWY) Higher Education partners from Tuesday 17th to Thursday 19th July 2018. 77 students attended the residential from 12 NCOP and GHWY target schools and colleges, comprising:
• Appleton Academy (Bradford)
• Bishop Young Academy (Leeds)
• Bradford Academy (Bradford)
• Carlton Bolling College (Bradford)
• Cathedral Academy (Wakefield)
• Cockburn School (Leeds)
• Dixons Trinity Academy (Bradford)
• Immanuel College (Bradford)
• Leeds City College 14+ Academy (Leeds)
• Leeds West Academy (Leeds)
• Minsthorpe Community Academy (Wakefield)
• Ruth Gorse Academy (Leeds)
The content of the Summer School was developed in response to participant and practitioner feedback from previous years (the collaborative Year 10 residential has run since 2015). The programme was structured around the ‘student journey’, with Day 1 focusing on pre-entry options and ‘freshers’ activities, Day 2 on study and the student experience, and Day 3 on preparation for the world of work and graduation. A central driver in the development and design of the programme was that it should provide students with an immersive experience of Higher Education. Alongside core staff, participants were supported throughout by dedicated Student Ambassadors from across the GHWY partnership.
Go Higher in healthcare: Work experience programme 2018
The Go Higher in healthcare work experience programme is targeted at young people from areas where progression rates to Higher Education are low (and particularly so when above average GCSE attainment is taken into account).
The programme includes an induction session, a 2-5 day placement and a review session within which participants are encouraged to reflect on their experience and explore their personal development/ learning gains.
Castleford Housing Project Our Ovenden Photography Project
Building relationships on the Castleford Housing Project
As part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), 29 students from the Castleford area took part in an exciting project co-delivered by Go Higher West Yorkshire and national house builders Keepmoat Homes. The students, who were selected from Castleford Academy and Airedale Academy, worked with both student and industry ambassadors to explore different elements of the construction and housebuilding industry. Speaking of Keepmoat Homes’ involvement in the project, Social and Economic Manager Sarah Hopkinson said, “A big part of our offer is that we engage with the communities in which we work, and this project gives us the opportunity to help local students develop the skills that employers are looking for. We’re also hoping to provide the young people with skills that fit in with the Keepmoat Homes ethos, such as being passionate, creative and collaborative.”
Throughout a series of classroom sessions, students worked in teams to create their own housing company, using a set of bespoke resources to explore how they might develop, build and sell a housing development. As well as thinking about essentials such as costings and materials, the teams also enjoyed creating mood boards to showcase their own ideas for show home decoration.
In addition to these technical sessions, the students had the opportunity to visit a current Keepmoat Homes housing development in their local area, enjoying an exciting and informative tour of the Aurora site on Flass Lane. The Keepmoat Homes Site Manager showed the students each stage of the building process, from the foundations to the show homes, and the group were able to ask site workers questions about their roles and responsibilities and see demonstrations of site equipment.
Using the knowledge gained on the site visit and in school sessions, the students moved on to develop a presentation about their housing companies, outlining their journey throughout the project and explaining the choices they’d made about their own housing developments. The project culminated in a brilliant presentation evening at the Wakefield College University Centre, where the students’ families were invited along to see the fantastic work that their young people had been developing. Each group presented their ideas to a packed out lecture theatre, and the audience enjoyed an insightful question and answer session with industry professionals from Leeds College of Building and Keepmoat Homes.
During the post-project evaluation, the students reflected on their successes throughout the experience and spoke of developing both their confidence and relationships with students from a different school. There was a sense of real pride in the room, and it was evident that some great cross-school friendships had been forged throughout the project!
Feedback from staff and parents was also excellent, with all agreeing that the project and presentation evening had been a huge success. Speaking on the night, Airedale Academy’s Assistant Principal Tim-Tim Chambers said, “It has been great to see the result of the collaboration between Airedale Academy, Castleford Academy, NCOP and Keepmoat. The pupils had clearly not only enjoyed working on the project but had got such a lot out of it; they mentioned confidence building, teamwork, skills development, creativity to name but a few. The location was fabulous and to see the pupils present their work to so many people was amazing. All but two pupils came and the vast majority had parents and families with them. There was such a buzz about the place!”
Castleford Academy’s Higher Education Progression Officer, Sally Martin, was one of the key staff members who supported the project right the way through. Speaking of the experience, she said, “The project and presentation event have been great, and the parents who attended tonight were so pleased to see the work of their young people.”
Our Ovenden Photography Project
Our Ovenden Photography Project
The Our Ovenden photography project was adapted and developed from an NCOP pilot photography project called ‘My Holmewood’ based at the TFD centre in Holmewood, Bradford. The idea of a photography project in a community setting like Holmewood and Ovenden was to get a group of young people and parents or carers together to explore what the area they live in represents to them, using a visual medium.
Student Ambassadors as role models research
Higher Education (HE) student ambassadors are regularly utilised in widening participation work, often in the hope that ambassadors will function as role models for the young people with whom they engage.
In this report, Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) shares the findings of a research study conducted with student ambassadors from across our partner institutions.
Disabled learners’ HE transitions and student experiences
GHWY commissioned Advance HE to produce a literature review to explore and better understand the needs, experiences and concerns of disabled learners currently studying at a Higher Education Provider (HEP) institution in the UK, and the barriers that have formed part of their experiences as a disabled student. We sought to understand the varied experiences of learners with a range of disabilities and to focus primarily on social and cognitive aspects.