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 College. The scheme has been in place since 1998 and its aim is to engage with pupils over an extended period of time to support young people in York to make informed decisions about their future.

During 2022 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.

Applications for Roots to Success are open to pupils in Year 8 and 9 - apply now.

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 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
  • Barlby High School
  • Fulford School
  • Joseph Rowntree School
  • Millthorpe School
  • Sherburn High School
  • Vale of York Academy
  • Woldgate School
  • 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 now works with hundreds of students from Year 6 - 11 across schools in York and the surrounding areas.

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:

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:

Year 7

In the Autumn term of Year 7, students attend an engaging assembly which brings the pupils' learning journey into context. The interactive session aims to help students understand education transitions and build confidence.

Core element - Year 8 and 9

An exciting live launch hosted by all partner institutions, to welcome year 8 and 9 pupils and parents on to the Roots to Success programme, takes place in January. The launch will enable pupils and parents to get to know each of the higher education institutions and to find out more about the activities they will be a part of whilst on the programme throughout their time at secondary school.

In February, Year 8 pupils will take part in a 'What’s the Point in GCSEs?' Workshop. This interactive, in-school session will cover why we do GCSEs, tips on making subject choices followed by putting GCSEs into a career context.

In April and June there is an exciting opportunity for Year 9 pupils to visit the campus of one of our Higher Education Partners for an interactive experience of university life.

Year 10

Student Life sessions, taking place in school in November, are a great opportunity for Year 10 students to meet current university students and hear first-hand what it's like to live and study at a university.

Select Year 10 students will have the opportunity to spend a two-day overnight visit to the University of York’s campus where they will experience university life first hand. 

Year 11

There will be a range of sessions available for schools to book for Year 11 pupils, covering everything from student life and student finance, to university life and revision tips.


In 2021/22, Roots to Success will work with whole year groups in Years 7, 10 and 11, with activities and themes designed to support all pupils.

The Roots to Success programme for Year 8 and Year 9 pupils is designed to provide information, guidance and support for students who meet one or more of the following criteria. 

  • You are from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background 
  • You have experience of Public Care 
  • You live in a neighbourhood with a low progression rate to higher education 
  • You are eligible for free school meals 
  • You are seeking asylum in the UK or have been granted Refugee status
  • Your parent(s)/carer(s)/guardian(s) did not go to university or they went to university as a mature student during your secondary education
  • You have a disability or long term health condition
  • You are from a military of service family
  • You are a young carer

How to apply

Applications for Roots to Success are open to pupils in Year 8 and 9. They will close to pupils and parents/carers/guardians on Sunday 7 November 2021.

Apply to Roots to Success

Supporting applications for School Coordinators will close on Sunday 14 November.

School Coordinator supporting application form

Contact us

Roots to Success

Roots to Success
+44 (0)1904 324044