12 months on from our under-represented groups showcase: what have we achieved? 

A year on from an event that showcased the work of Go Higher West Yorkshire’s (GHWY) four under-represented group (URG) networks, we look at what each one has achieved. 


The May 2023 showcase event brought together members from networks that focus on Black Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Students; Care-Experienced and Estranged Students; Disabled Students; and Males on Free School Meals. Each network meets three times a year and works towards collaborative outputs.  

The showcase, which was held at Leeds Beckett University, identified three common themes: collaborating, role models, and student voice. 

Black Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Students Network 

Network members are progressing a Systematic Review to explore the barriers and facilitators to Higher Education (HE) access for students from this group. The research, which systematically brings together findings from journal papers, is currently at the Data Analysis stage. This means reflecting on our own backgrounds 

Shames Maskeen (Leeds Trinity University), who co-chairs the Network, collaborated with Helen Sykes (Head of GHWY), to secure Advance HE funding for cultural competence CPD.  

Care-Experienced and Estranged Students Network 

In September 2023, our members committed to a common definition of care-experienced 

 We trialled a collaborative approach to Estranged Students Solidarity Week 2023.  

In March 2024, myself and Louise Harrison (North East Raising Aspirations Partnership (NERAP)) co-presented at the National Network for Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) conference 

Disabled Students Network 

The focus of this Network has been continued dissemination of our Transition Pack for disabled learners to improve the experience of disabled students in HE. The e-resource, which is updated annually to stay current, was well-received at the Virtual School conference 

My colleague, Susan Darlington (GHWY Partnership Assistant), and I are developing e-learning to help HE staff better understand and support disabled students. 

Males on Free School Meals Network 

In September 2023, Jonathan Holland (Leeds Beckett University (LBU)) and I co-presented at the Driving Impact Working Class Boys conference about our work on lack of male student ambassadors in HE 

Since the conference, LBU has updated its job description and seen a small rise in its male student ambassadors. We are obtaining data from our other members as well. 

Responding to feedback 

In response to delegate feedback, we have been piloting a spotlight on URGs in our newsletter for HE providers. This helps members stay updated on the activity of other groups, to then share and learn from each other.  

Event feedback also included a desire for physical copies of our key resources. We designed and printed postcards to provide an overview of these, which included a QR code that takes people to the resource on our website. These were handed out at events, including the Elevate event in November 2023.  


We are proud of what we have all achieved through collaboration. I look forward to continuing to co-ordinate our work on under-represented groups at GHWY. 


Tahera Mayat, GHWY Collaborate Outreach Officer