The HEAT Research and Analysis Team would like to announce the forthcoming Joint Outreach Coverage Project to examine the coverage of outreach delivery across England. This will be a collaborative research project, co-funded by the Office for Students. The project will use data collected by three tracker organisations: HEAT, Aim Higher West Midlands and East Midlands Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Partnership (EMWPREP). We are also hoping to include data from large Third Sector organisations (subject to Data Sharing Agreements).
The project will take place between June 2020 and May 2021 aiming to make available to the Sector:
- An Activities dataset at school/college level to determine how far outreach activities are reaching those they are intended for, including:
- Numbers of activities delivered in each school/college
- Year Groups worked with in each school/college
- Location of activities delivered with each school/college
- Number of providers working with each school/college
- A Students dataset at area level to examine:
- Numbers of unique students worked with in each area, exposing gaps in coverage
- The profile of students worked with in each area, including year groups and their level of disadvantage and prior attainment, these being factors known to influence progression to HE
- Intensity of outreach activity packages received by students in different areas (more/less intensive)
- An exploratory Outreach Metric to examine the contribution outreach providers make to progression to HE across the sector, using multiple composite measures. This metric aims to study sector contribution and therefore add to the current focus on institution-level benchmarking.
- A Critical Reflections section where we look at the limitations of the available data.
The potential benefits of this project to our sector are multiple. It will help us determine at a national level how far WP outreach is getting to those students for whom it is intended. When we know these geographical ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ spots, we can target and plan more effectively, helping both schools/colleges and learners. This will be especially helpful to those in under-served communities and more isolated areas like those in rural and coastal locations. It will enable more agile, responsive delivery in future, as we refresh the data annually.
A project Steering Group will be set up to agree on deliverables and to oversee the pilot and outputs. The first phases of the research will be piloted using existing data and presented to the Steering Group. The HEAT Research Group will also have the Joint Coverage Project as a standing item on its meeting agenda.
An Advisory Group will also be created, including both practitioners and academics still to be confirmed. For academic colleagues, the project could potentially contribute to the achievement of Research Impact in the REF2021 assessment, as work which makes a difference to society beyond academia. Interested parties should contact HEAT if they wish to join this group.
If you have any questions about the project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.