Conference to share best practice when working with young males

Go Higher West Yorkshire’s (GHWY) Empowering Boys’ Voices Conference will bring together teachers, educators, and community practitioners to learn, discuss and share best practice when working and engaging with young males. 

The event, which will be held on Thursday, 4 July, will give practitioners from across Yorkshire and beyond the opportunity to hear and engage with two keynote speakers who are pioneers in this area.  

The first speaker is Mark Roberts, who was born and educated in West Yorkshire. He is the author of the bestselling books Boys Don’t Try? and The Boy Question, and regularly writes for TES on subjects including pedagogy, behaviour, and educational research. Mark currently teaches English and will be delivering an interactive session on how to build and manage relationships with boys in an education setting.  

We will also be joined by Andy Hamilton, Research Associate for the Taking Boys Seriously project at Ulster University. Andy will deliver a reflective and engaging session focusing on the core principles to consider when motivating and re-engaging boys, based on seventeen years of longitudinal action research.  

Attendees will also have the opportunity to find out more about local outreach initiatives targeted at young males.  

We hope the conference will bring together like-minded individuals who share a passion for engaging and working with young males. The day will support learning and foster conversation among individuals from a range of settings that work and support young males, and we look forward to bringing everyone together.  

The event is at capacity, however please join the waiting list for tickets, as places may become available.

GHWY’s work with males on free schools meals 

The conference is the GHWY Uni Connect Programme’s latest activity to develop knowledge and share best practice with young males.  

For the past few years we have been focusing work on what was previously described as ‘white working-class males’. We decided to shift focus to male learners in receipt of (or eligible for) free school meals because West Yorkshire is a highly diverse region. As such, we wanted to ensure we were meeting the needs of as many young people as possible by removing the ethnicity element to our work. In addition, ‘free school meals’ is already an indicator in existence for which data evidences a gap in outcomes. 

A key strand of activity with this group is our ‘Speak Up’ outreach programme, which will be delivered to Year 9 males on free school meals in the academic year 2023-24. The programme aims to develop self-confidence and self-awareness through a range of activities and interventions that increase understanding of individual skills and values, and encourage reflection and discussion. We will be delivering this with five schools across West Yorkshire between March and June.  


GHWY Uni Connect Programme works with partner schools and colleges across the region, and funds a Progression Officer (PO) role based within the school or college. POs develop and deliver targeted and sustained work with learners from underrepresented groups, bespoke to the needs of those learners and that institution. Additionally, our central project team organise and deliver on centrally funded outputs, such as our Go Higher Events, which are offered to our partner schools and colleges. 

The Uni Connect Programme is funded by the Office for Students and supports young people to make informed decisions about their future, post-16 and post-18, and focuses on delivering targeted outreach work for young people from those groups underrepresented in higher education. There are 29 Uni Connect Partnerships across the country. 


Charlotte Keyworth, GHWY Project Officer (Outreach)