Reflecting on GHWY’s 2019 achievements and looking ahead

2019 has been another successful year for GHWY, with our collaborative activities building on and developing our key objective to improve access to, success in and progression from higher education for those from under-represented groups.

At the start of last year we welcomed Leeds College of Music into the consortium. Our 13 members now span many different types of HE, each of which brings a fresh perspective to the opportunities and challenges of a changing HE sector.

Our Good Practice Programme of events has continued to have meaningful impact through its shared learning and robust evaluation. With Estranged Students, which was held in June, contributed to the ongoing development of a Stand Alone Pledge, and Beyond Care: Connecting Higher Education and Corporate Parents, which was held in December, enhanced connections between partners and external stakeholders in order to improve care leavers’ access to and success in HE.  Envisaged as the first of an ongoing series of events bringing people together, the follow-up to this will see us working with attendees and interested parties to take forward actions proposed at the session.

We will continue the well-received programme in 2020, with upcoming events planned around student mental health and BAME access and outcomes. More information will be available in due course.

The launch of our Care to Go Higher pilot programme with a group of foster carers and children’s home workers from Leeds and Bradford exceeded attendance and engagement expectations. Delivery of the innovative six-part training programme, which aims to equip key influencers to support a care experienced young person to make informed choices about their education, will end in February 2020.  This will be followed by a period of impact evaluation and dissemination.

Our nationally acclaimed Care Leaver Covenant – which has been used as a case study by organisations including the Centre for Social Justice – had its second annual refresh. Launched during National Care Leavers Week, it features new partner offers and refined details that will improve care leavers’ access to information on their entitlement to support in HE.

Looking ahead to 2020, we will be launching the Go Higher Research Analysis Forum. This online discussion group will give partners the chance to share, critically appraise and assimilate learning from academic papers and policy reports.

We are also excited to be running a new resource that will help schools and colleges across West Yorkshire access the HE outreach they need. Part of the national OfS Uni Connect programme, it will also provide a platform for wider collaboration. Keep visiting the website for updates on this and our other partnership activities.