Feeling elevated after exhibiting at the Elevate event
I cannot imagine a better way to mark National Care Leavers Week than exhibiting at an event that was designed to enable parents/carers of care-experienced individuals to effectively support their young people on their education journey and beyond.
Organised by Kirklees Virtual School, Elevate… helped parents/carers to gain an awareness of the opportunities and support that are available within Kirklees to assist with education, raising aspirations, identifying future progression routes, and improving educational outcomes for young people.
Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) was delighted to be invited to run a stall at the event, which was held at John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield.
During the event I handed out a number of postcards that promoted our work on supporting care-experienced students. This includes our Care to Go Higher CPD for foster carers, children’s home staff and personal advisers; e-learning for student facing staff in Further Education and Higher Education; collaborative Care Leaver Covenant; and adoption of a common definition of care-experienced across the partnership.
I enjoyed chatting to foster carers and also took the opportunity to network with other stalls, such as the Kirklees fostering team. They were interested to hear about our Care to Go Higher CPD and I will follow up with them about it.
The event included talks during the day on early years and compulsory education. I had a chance to attend the latter talk, which raised the importance of schools as a safe space for care-experienced learners and the role of teachers.
It was good to see our Kirklees members – Kirklees College and University of Huddersfield – both represented at the event.
I felt elevated from attending this event for two reasons. Firstly, it was good to see organisations that I had only read about and/or emailed come to life at the event, such as the Kirklees Local Offer for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Secondly, it was reassuring to hear our collaborative work is on the right lines and valued by those who support care-experienced young people.
Running a stall at the event complemented the campaign we ran on X (formerly Twitter) in support of National Care Leavers Week. This year’s national campaign ran from 25 October to 1 November. Its aim was to call on the public, professionals, carers, decision-makers, and the media to CARE: Celebrate care leavers; Amplify their voice; Raise awareness of challenges; and Encourage change in policy and expertise.
GHWY is committed to supporting care-experienced students throughout the year and not just during National Care Leavers Week. Upcoming activities include registration re-opening for the next iteration of our Care to Go Higher CPD – keep your eye on our website for details. Our Care Experienced and Estranged Students Network will also continue to meet regularly to discuss common challenges, share best practice and learn from each other.
If you would like to invite GHWY to exhibit at an event on care-experienced learners, please contact Dominic House at D.House@leeds.ac.uk
Tahera Mayat, GHWY Collaborative Outreach Officer