Learn with Care to Go Higher: Making HE accessible to care-experienced individuals

As a foster carer or personal advisor, you are likely to have the most common prolonged influence on your care-experienced young person. When it comes to Higher Education (HE), however, you may not have studied at that level. This could mean you are less able to offer exposure to HE to your young person, which makes it seem less attainable or more distant to them.  

This disadvantage is compounded by care-experienced young people being more likely to be influenced by their peers than professionals, who can be another source of information without necessarily having first-hand experience of HE. 

Even before considering HE, many young people who aren’t from a care background will have been exposed to HE settings or information in one way or another. This could be anything from hearing stories from family, visiting a campus, or being involved in alumni activities. While this could sound small, any exposure can help HE feel like an attainable goal. 

There are many ways you can prepare your young person for their educational development. Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY), our 13 member institutions and key stakeholders can offer many routes to meet these needs.  

One way you can make HE seem more accessible is by considering what is referred to as a HE-in-FE provider. These are institutions that provide degree level study in a college setting. Some students feel more comfortable in college settings as they’ve got used to them throughout their studies and it doesn’t feel like as big of a transition.  

Some institutions offer subject specific visits to their campuses, open days and tours of campuses. All of these can make the bigger institutions seem more familiar to those without experience of HE. Visit the institutions’ websites for information about their open days, or visit GHWY’s website for information about those held by our members: https://gohigherwestyorks.ac.uk/news-events/events/ 

One of the most comprehensive ways to make HE seem more accessible at home is via our Care to Go Higher programme. This free CPD is designed to help people like you – foster carers, children’s home workers. and other key influencers of care-experienced young people – gain understanding of how to support care-experienced young people to make decisions about HE.  

The programme is split into six two-hour sessions and features guest speakers and various topics as well as some resources to use with young people. We even include a myth-busting section to help figure out what rumours are true or false when it comes to HE. It’s a great way to gain understanding to share with your young person.  

While GHWY can engage with students in some ways, giving those who have long-term relationships with care-experienced young people the tools they need to support them can allow a longer exposure to aspirational thinking, HE information, and even how to access support or complete an application.  

The next online programme starts on Monday, 19 February. Another delivery is currently scheduled for June. Find out more and sign up for the programme.


Dominic House, GHWY Care to Go Higher Delivery Officer