NCOP Phase 1 – Over 22,000 learners engaged and counting!

Go Higher West Yorkshire is a partnership of  universities and colleges in West Yorkshire. We provide a single point of contact for information on our Higher Education Provider partners, to help with access and preparation for studying. As part of this work, we deliver the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) in West Yorkshire. The programme is designed to help young people reach their full potential and find out more about what universities and colleges have to offer.

NCOP is a programme of varied and interesting activities, events and support, such a mentoring, summer schools, university and college open days, careers information, work experience projects, and much more. Phase one of the programme started in January 2017 and aims to support the government’s social mobility goals by rapidly increasing the number of young people from underrepresented groups who go into higher education.

Together working with  partner schools, colleges and universities we have supported this goal by working with over 22,000 learners across 27 target ward schools/colleges in West Yorkshire and engaged over 11,302 young people in sustained activity throughout the past 2 years.

Take a look at some of our activity below:

[accordion clicktoclose=true]
[accordion-item title=”Young Researchers“]

Appleton Academy, Bradford; Castleford Academy, Wakefield; Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School, Leeds

What do parents and carers, aunties and uncles, teachers, community workers, and other role models in young people’s lives think about Higher Education? What do adults in NCOP target areas know about college, university, and apprenticeships, and what kinds of advice do they give young people about their options after school or college? This is what the Young Researchers sought to find out. Trained as researchers, selected Year 10 students from Castleford Academy (Wakefield), Appleton Academy (Bradford) and Mount St Marys School (Leeds) took these questions and put them to members of their own family and community.

[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Student Councils“]

Bishop Young Academy, Leeds; Castleford Academy, Wakefield; Immanuel College, Bradford

What kinds of information do young people need to help them make choices about their future? The student councils for Higher Education are best placed to answer, and address, this question. Three self-named councils: ASPIRE at Bishop Young Academy, Leeds; The Next Step at Castleford Academy, Castleford; and The HE council at Immanuel College, Bradford, received training to understand pathways into Higher Education and aspects of student/apprentice finance and budgeting. These 30 students representing school years 9 to 12 now disseminate this knowledge to both fellow students and parents/carers alike. We have seen student councils create and run information points during parents’ evenings and speak about Higher Education during form times. They have even appeared on camera to speak about their experiences of Further Education and how this sets them up for continuing into Higher Education. This year will see the student councils pass on the torch to younger year groups and, among other ideas, we have exciting plans for permanent Higher Education notice boards to be placed around schools.

[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Roving Reporters“]

Featherstone Academy, Wakefield

How do the people of Featherstone feel about their town? What impact has the local rugby league club had on the community? What do residents see in Featherstone’s future? A group of Year 9 and 10 students from Featherstone Academy set out to find out in this dynamic student-led project. Laura Bareham from the University of Huddersfield and Jayne Kaye from the University Centre at Wakefield College worked closely with the students over a number of sessions to explore their feelings about their community. The group visited Featherstone Rovers RLFC to delve into the club’s exciting history, as well as enjoying a campus visit and academic session at the University of Huddersfield. The Roving Reporters also hosted an Afternoon Tea event, where local community members shared their memories and experiences with students over a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

All of the students’ fantastic findings have now been compiled into a book. The book gives readers an insight into the attitudes of a range of Featherstone locals and explores topics such as favourite memories of Featherstone, why they love Featherstone Rovers so much, and where they see the town heading into the future. The book will be distributed throughout the local area, giving readers not only a sense of the town’s fantastic spirit and personality, but also an insight into the excellent work undertaken by the students throughout this project.


[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Work Experience Sports Camps“]

Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School, Leeds

What can a bunch of lively Year 10 lads from Mount St Mary’s School in Leeds teach a group of primary kids from neighbouring school, Saint Joseph’s Hunslet Primary? Well, it turns out, sports and much more: planning, time-keeping, health and safety, trial and error, teamwork, discipline, and confidence (they’ve also got some slick moves)! Working with Leeds Sports Academy, the aim of this work experience project was to develop leadership skills and develop their own self-belief, as well as acting as role models and teaching sports to the next generation. Not only practised professionals, these inspiring young men certainly know how to bring the fun!

[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”‘My Holmewood’ Photography Project“]



How does a positive change of perspective about the place you’ve grown up in change your attitude to Education? Katie Chetwood (University of Bradford), Fiona Broadfoot (Build a Girl) and Shy Burham (Professional Photographer) worked with a group of eight girls and a parent from the Holmewood area, to get the group to explore how photography could ignite the imagination in illuminating positive visual ways to portray the current and past history of the area.

Challenging perceptions about their immediate environment and seeing in new ways, the girls opened their minds to alternative possibilities that are available (including education) both within and outside  of the area.

The project concluded with an awards event at the University of Bradford, where the girls exhibited their final pieces. Each received certificate and a book of their work that celebrated their achievements.

[embeddoc url=”” download=”all”]

[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Performing Arts – Follow Your Dreams“]

Airedale Academy, Wakefield

What would you say if we told you that eight students were going to start a conversation about education through performing arts? Yes, you heard right! In just six workshops, Emma Hindley (GHWY) and eight musical theatre  students are devising a piece which fuses theatre and dance to entertain and promote discussion relating to education. The performance narrative will relate to barriers faced by young people when making choices, the struggles they face and the emotions experienced – along with a good helping of humour! The collaborative approach of the sessions has enabled all participants to input their ideas to the finished product, culminating in a bespoke piece of work with universal themes.

[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Access All Areas“]


What is the ‘live events industry’? This is the question that Glen Rowe, Managing Director of Backstage Academy, asked a group of 220 young people, parents, and carers as he kicked off proceedings at Access All Areas

Access All Areas was an exciting evening of performances and presentations at Production Park (South Kirkby) that showcased the variety of courses and careers available in live events. From the poster designed by Cameron Lee and Joanna Wiercigoch, to the performances, the young people showed parents and carers how it’s done.


[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Class of 2024 Residential Summer School“]

Bradford, Leeds, and Wakefield schools

What is it like study for a degree at college or university? A group of 77 pupils from 11 schools across West Yorkshire found out at the Class of 2024 Residential Summer School. From finding out about different courses and institutions, how to apply, and student finance, through staying in student halls of residence, attending subject taster seminars and workshops, to thinking about potential careers after study, the group got a real flavour of the student journey. They visited different university and college campuses, and got to spend time with current student ambassadors and find out what student life is like straight from the horse’s mouth. Students who took part in ‘movie day’ will be using what they learned in scriptwriting, media make-up and performing arts subject tasters to support the planning, production and performances at Learner Voice Live. Here’s wishing them all the best for the future, and to those of them that do decide to go into higher education, a happy graduation in 2024!


[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Castleford Housing Project“]

Airedale Academy and Castleford Academy, Wakefield

What does it take to build a housing estate?A group of twenty nine, Year 9 students from Castleford Academy and Airedale Academy found out through their participation in the Castleford Housing Project delivered by Go Higher West Yorkshire and the national housebuilder Keepmoat Homes. Through a series of classroom sessions, the students, working in small teams and supported by Student Ambassadors, took on the role of housebuilders. They created their own house building company and marketing strategies, designed a room in the show house and worked out the costs and profits of the housing development.  The students also visited a housing development in their area under construction where they learnt more about the construction site and looked around some stylish show houses! The project finished with the students presenting their exciting project ideas to their parents/carers and families at the University Centre at Wakefield College.


[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Marginal Gains Project“]

Leeds West Academy, Leeds

How can small changes make a big difference? Sean Dirrane (Cosmos Engagement), Rob Burrow, (former Leeds Rhinos and England player), and Jamie Peacock MBE (former England Rugby Captain) joined forces to explore this with a group of Year 9 boys from Leeds West Academy. The Marginal Gains project applied the theory made popular by Team Sky cyclists – that setting small goals across a number of areas can add up to big changes and help us achieve our dreams. Whether we aspire to sports greatness or academic achievement, the lads learned, marginal gains can help us to get there. Rob described them as “a great group of lads to work with” and Sean added, “I really enjoyed working with the young men and I think they’ve taken some useful lessons from the programme.” Inspired by the programme, one of the lads sums up the main lesson: “don’t be negative, always believe in yourself, and you can be whatever you want to be.”



[mediagrid gid=”250″ filter=”0″ overlay=”83″]

Moving forwards towards Phase 2

Phase two of NCOP  will commence on 1 August 2019, running for two academic years: 2019-20 and 2020-21. Building on phase one, it will support two main strands of activity as follows:

  • Targeted higher education outreach within the current NCOP wards
  • Establishing an outreach hub to help schools and colleges access the higher education outreach they need and provide a platform for wider collaboration.

Stay tuned for more information!