Roots to Success is an aspiration raising project for pupils at local primary and secondary schools in York.

Roots to Success is a collaborative project between the University of York, York St John University, York College and Askham Bryan. The scheme has been in place since 1998 and its aim is to engage with pupils over an extended period of time to raise aspirations about higher education.

During 2020/21, our Access and Outreach programmes will be delivered virtually with some face-to-face events. We will be guided by government guidelines and University policy. We will work directly with programme participants and our school and college partners to keep you informed of progress.

View our Widening Participation Privacy Notice (PDF , 503kb) for students participating in one of our WP activities.

Contact us

Roots to Success

Roots to Success
+44 (0)1904 324044

"Roots to Success has helped me to think positively about my future. I have thought about the range of careers that I could do and most importantly the steps I have to take to achieve my goals."

Year 11 pupil

  • To provide the opportunity for students to create their own skill set to build their future in higher education
  • To provide students with the experience and understanding of higher education to allow them to make informed choices
  • To provide students with the confidence and self esteem to consider that higher education is an option if they wish to pursue it
  • To dispel myths about higher education and student finance
  • To raise aspirations, not only for higher education, but for lifelong learning.

Secondary schools

We are proud to have all ten secondary schools in York involved in the Roots to Success project, some of which have been involved since 1999:

  • All Saints School
  • Archbishop Holgate's School
  • Fulford School
  • Joseph Rowntree School
  • Millthorpe School
  • Vale of York Academy
  • York High School

The project began with 80 Year 9 students from just three local schools. Very successful visits took place in June 1999 and this encouraged the development of the project, which was then supported by funding from the Higher Education Funding Council and Aimhigher.

Our activities now involve hundreds of students in Years 9 - 13 on an annual basis.

Primary schools

In 2007, we started an exciting new Roots to Success project working with ten York primary schools, running workshops and visits for Year 6 students from across the city of York. We now work with nearly 500 pupils annually.

Working in collaboration to offer an extensive programme of activity are:

The project's success depends on partnership work. All partners contribute to steering and delivering Roots to Success activity, with overall project management based at the University of York.

Year 6

The Seeds to Success programme shares the principles of Roots to Success; demystifying higher education and provoking thought and discussion about future careers. Following introductory workshops in each of the 10 schools delivered by further and higher education representatives, the students enjoy day visits to:

Core element - Years 9-11

Schools select their Roots to Success cohorts, based on specific eligibility criteria, to undertake a three-year programme beginning in Year 9, and continuing through to Year 11. This programme is designed to nurture their confidence and aspirations as they progress through school, and offer timely sign-posts to further and higher education along the way.

Year 9

In the spring term of Year 9, school students visit one of the local further/higher education providers. They spend the day learning about further and higher education and what life is like as a student. Every February students and their parents or carers are invited to York St John University to celebrate their involvement in the Roots to Success programme. The evening offers students and families the chance to learn all about the programme and the partners.

Year 10

During the year, students attend a one or two-day extended event at either the University of York or York St John University. Students have a more in-depth look at the world of higher education, with the chance to experience academic and student life taster sessions. The extended visits have proved a very popular part of Roots to Success.

Year 11

In the spring term of Year 11, a progression event for all Year 11 Roots to Success students takes place. This is an opportunity to reflect on the whole initiative as well as being a very interactive event where the students also look ahead to their education and life choices post-16.

Year 12/13

We offer a series of workshops about post-18 options, for example, applying through UCAS, and student finance.

Evaluation undertaken over the years indicates that young people have got a great deal out of their visits and seem much more positive about carrying on with their learning. A higher percentage of the Roots to Success cohort continue their education at post-16, compared with all York Year 11 students. The partners realise none of this work stands alone. It links to other activities within school such as the careers education and guidance programme.

Contact us

Roots to Success

Roots to Success
+44 (0)1904 324044