GHWY under-represented groups: reflection and future plans

I love that new academic year feeling. It’s a time of year to simultaneously look back on the previous year and plan for the coming year. It’s an ideal time to summarise the progress of our Under-represented Group (URG) Networks and look ahead to what is in the pipeline for these groups in 2023-24. 

Our members identified four URGs as key priorities in 2021-22: Black Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Students; Care Experienced and Estranged Students; Disabled Students; and Males on Free School Meals.  

Networks for each group were formed and, following the first couple of meetings, the focus in 2022-23 was on raising their profile. This has been achieved through our collaborative outputs; external recognition; and the first ever URG showcase event in May 2023. 

Collaborative outputs 

The first output for 2022-23 was the launch of the GHWY Disabled Students Transition Pack, which supports transition from Further Education (FE) to Higher Education (HE). I wrote a blog post about it here 

In spring 2023, Shames Maskeen (Co-Chair of Black Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Students Network) delivered a session as part of the Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) CPD series that is available to watch here. We are planning our CPD for 2023-24 so get in touch with Charlotte Keyworth, GHWY Project Officer (Outreach) at if you might be interested in delivering a session for us.  

In summer 2023, we were delighted to launch our E-learning for HE staff on Understanding and Supporting Care Experienced and Estranged Students. There’s a blog on it here.  

In the background to all this, the White Working-Class Males Network changed its name to GHWY Males on Free School Meals as this helped to define the students we are targeting. This was guided by looking at the pros and cons of data, namely, Office for Students (OfS) Association Between Characteristics of Students (ABCS). 

External recognition 

Collaboration is a core tenet at GHWY, and this includes co-presenting at external conferences/events. John Hague, GHWY Area Manager, and I presented at the 2023 Open University Conference on the GHWY Transition Pack. Read about it here 

The Estranged Students CPD 2022 conference saw Susan Darlington, GHWY Partnership Assistant, and I present on the country’s first collaborative Stand Alone Pledge and best practice.  

The Males on Free School Meals Network undertook work looking at male student ambassadors. Their abstract about this work for the Driving Impact Conference on 6-7 September 2023 was successfully accepted. Read about it here.

Our 2023-24 plans 

  • Work continues on the Systematic Review that will be an output for the GHWY Black Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Students Network. Read more about it here. 
  • Updates to the GHWY Disabled Students Transition Pack to reflect user feedback. 
  • Move towards a common definition of care-experienced across the GHWY partnership. Read more about it here.
  • New spotlight feature about our URG Networks in GHWY’s newsletter for HE Providers. It will kick off with Males on Free School Network in September, with the other Networks taking it in turn to submit content. Contact Susan Darlington at if you would like to be added to the newsletter’s distribution list. 

Thanks to all the Network members for their continued contribution. I can’t wait to see what next year brings and to share updates! If you or a colleague would be interested in joining any of the Networks, please contact me at  


Tahera Mayat, GHWY Collaborative Outreach Officer