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Care to Go Higher pilot cohort successfully graduates

Fourteen foster carers and staff from children’s homes and leaving care teams in Bradford and Leeds graduated from GHWY’s Care to Go Higher pilot CPD programme in February 2020 after successfully completing the series of sessions.

GHWY developed the programme in partnership with Leeds City Council, who committed to facilitating the participation of foster carers and other staff. It involved 12 hours of contact time spread over six months and was designed to equip participants to support care experienced young people to make informed choices about their education.

The graduation, held at Leeds Beckett University, was attended by Ceri Orton, Social Work Manager at Leeds City Council. Also present were Jancis Andrew, Head of the Virtual School for Leeds City Council and Helen Sykes, Manager of GHWY, who delivered speeches.

Jancis said: “The councils involved have high aspirations for their care-experienced young people, and greatly value their foster carers, staff in children’s homes, leaving care teams and personal advisers in delivering those high aspirations. I hope the learning from the programme will support staff working with care-experienced young people to influence them to make positive choices about learning and education, be ambitious and to achieve their potential.”

Helen congratulated the graduating cohort on their achievement and thanked them for their commitment, dedication and enthusiasm. She also extended thanks to Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City College for their support in hosting the programme, and the Universities of Bradford and Huddersfield for contributing to individual sessions.

Natalie Aldridge, GHWY’s Collaborative Outreach Officer and programme developer, said: “This has been a very enjoyable pilot. It has been extremely successful, not only in terms of the journeys of participants but also the learning GHWY has taken from it.”

The programme will be rigorously evaluated and the next steps developed through post-completion surveys and focus groups. Early findings suggest a significant increase in participant knowledge and perspectives. The bespoke approach to the content supported applied reflections and ensured relevance for the audience, and a drawn-out approach to the programme helped embed the learning and a culture of supporting progression.

The pilot was developed as part of GHWY’s commitment to work together to support access to, success in and progression from HE for those from under-represented groups. Care-experienced young people are a key group that is under-represented.

Read more about the programme.