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At any one time HEAT is working on a number of projects over and above its membership offer, finding new ways to work with sector partners and to combine HEAT’s data with other data sources to add value.

HEAT works closely with other tracking services, the Office for Students, TASO HE and others to investigate themes such as the geography of outreach delivery, links between outreach delivery and educational outcomes, and the impact of nationally funded outreach programmes. Below you can find links to our current projects:

Using HEAT to record and evaluate post-entry interventions

Here at the HEAT Service we have been thinking about our tools and resources in relation to the new Access and Participation Plans (APPs) that will run from 2024/25. In response to discussions with members about the new APPs and the Equality of Opportunity Risk Register (EORR), we are now exploring how we can support members in using HEAT to record and evaluate the post-entry interventions they will be reporting in their new APP, as well as continuing to support members in recording and evaluating their access interventions.


We already know, from speaking to members, that they are now looking to systematise the recording and evaluation of interventions across the whole student lifecycle. This is often being driven by ‘APP Evaluation Managers’, some of whom are relatively recently appointed. We believe that the existing HEAT system already has many features that can support those managers looking for solutions to managing a cross-institution and whole student lifecycle APP (Figure 1).


A screenshot of a slide detailing the potential benefits of using the HEAT database for APP recording and evaluating across departments and the student life cycle. 1. Oversight & QA Abilities for APP Evaluation Managers: The database can provide APP Evaluation Managers with a 'one-stop-shop' system for APP reporting. 2. This provides oversight of the wide array of APP interventions being delievered across an Institution, giving control and quality assurance abilities over the data needed for APP reporting. 3. Aligned with OfS Guidance: Extends the use of a system aligned with the OfS and TASO's guidance on evaluation, capable of meeting Type 2 and Type 3 evaluation standards. 4. Lifecycle Evaluation Approach: Students' participation in Access & Post-entry interventions, including any Student Ambassador work they do, would be linked and stored in one place.

Figure 1: Potential benefits of using the HEAT database for APP recording and evaluating across departments and the student life cycle


Some APP Evaluation Managers, or equivalent, are already considering making the case within their institution that HEAT should be a one-stop shop for standardising their APP recording and evaluating. They are finding that they need to plan and report on an APP written and delivered across multiple departments, that may all be using different systems and tools for recording, monitoring and evaluating both access and post-entry interventions.  Using one system such as HEAT would provide APP managers with the oversight and quality assurance to report across their plan.


We will be working with a number of individual members as they discuss with HEAT a ‘vision’ of how they would want to use the existing HEAT Service for recording their post-entry work, and then sharing what we learn with the whole membership. We hope to identify what additional extras members might need, helping us to develop tools and resources specific to the post-entry area of work.  We hope that highlighting individual member’s experiences will support and inform the whole membership.


If you would like to discuss using the HEAT system to record your institution’s post-entry interventions, please email or

National Outreach Coverage

The National Outreach Coverage Project is a collaborative research project, co-funded by the Office for Students, to examine the coverage of outreach delivery across England.


The project used data collected by three Tracker Services: Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT), Aimhigher West Midlands and East Midlands Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Partnership (EMWPREP) and data from large Third Sector organisations not currently using a Tracking Service.


The project took place between June 2020 and July 2021 with the aim of making available to the Sector an Outreach Coverage Dataset providing details of outreach activities delivered per School or Further Education (FE) College in England between 2017/18 and 2019/20.



The following resources provide the outputs from this project and can be downloaded using the links below:


National Outreach Coverage Dataset

Supporting Information

Maps visualising the Dataset



The resources can be used to:

Identify schools and colleges in England which have received relatively little outreach delivery over the last three academic years.

  • Outreach Providers may wish to use this information to inform which schools and FE colleges they choose to target in the future, ensuring coverage of outreach is maximised within their operational area. Please Note: The latest delivery year (2019/20) includes outreach delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic and thus delivery is likely to differ from previous years.

Identify schools and colleges in England which have or have not received certain types of activities over the last three academic years.

  • Outreach Providers may wish to use this information to inform the nature of the outreach offer they target towards these schools/colleges in the future, ensuring coverage of outreach is optimal within their operational area.

Identify schools and colleges in England which appear to have received disproportionately high volumes of outreach delivery over the last three academic years.

  • Outreach Providers may wish to use this information to inform which schools and FE colleges they choose to target in the future, although we must be careful not to reduce outreach delivery too far. It is also important to take into account the overall school/college population in a region, detailed at school/college level in the Number of Pupils column and the profile of those students, indicated in the % eligible Free School Meals (FSM) column, when identifying over-served schools/colleges.

Determine how many other Providers are working in schools/colleges in your operational area.

  • This information can help provide additional information about the engagement of the school or college with Outreach Providers. Where your organisation may be struggling to engage with the school/college, it may be useful to know whether the school/college is engaging with other Providers.

Facilitate collaboration between Providers working in nearby areas.

  • The dataset provides activity counts by Type of Activity and Type of Outreach Provider (Higher Education Institutions (HEI), Uni Connect Partnerships and Third Sector Organisations). Where Providers are not currently sharing data, this dataset may help Providers work together to ensure coverage of outreach is maximised and activities offered by different Providers complement each other. The dataset may also help Uni Connect Partnerships ensure there is minimal overlap with HEI-delivered outreach in their area.

Identify ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ spots nationally, as well as the contribution of different Types of Outreach Provider to all outreach delivered nationally.

  • However, a note of caution here: as discussed in more detail in the Limitations section, there are likely to be regional differences in the extent of the original data capture of outreach delivery. Therefore, comparisons of outreach delivery between regions are not advised, as in some regions outreach delivery has been relatively under-recorded.

If you have any questions about the project or feedback on the resources please email us at HEAT Support.


TASO HE and HEAT work closely to compliment each other’s work where possible. We worked in collaboration to analyse HEAT’s aggregate longitudinal tracking dataset of outreach participants and investigate the relationship between outreach participation and success in key educational milestones. These milestones include: Key Stage 4 (KS4) attainment, Higher Education (HE) access and access to a Top Third HE Provider.


The full report, published by TASO HE, is now available.

Uni Connect

Uni Connect partnerships are provided with the same annual Track reporting as the core membership. This includes partnership-level dashboards and datasets as well as aggregate-level reporting which collates data for all HEAT member Partnerships.


Our latest Uni Connect HEAT-HESA Track Impact Report (based on HE entry up to 2021/22) found that:

  • Students who take part in an intensive package of Uni Connect activity consisting of at least eight contact hours are up to 21 percentage points more likely to enter Higher Education than a closely matched group of students who took part in less than three hours of Uni Connect outreach.
  • The Higher Education entry gap is particularly pronounced for Further Education learners who live in Uni Connect target areas; those in receipt of an intensive package of Uni Connect activity were more than twice as likely to enter Higher Education than a closely matched comparison group.
  • Between 2017/18 and 2022/23, almost half of the outreach activities recorded on HEAT were delivered by, or in partnership with, Uni Connect partnerships.

To find out more, please visit the Uni Connect HEAT-HESA Track Impact Report.

Attainment Raising Outreach: Exploring the Tensions involved in Targeting

With the cost of living crisis feared to damage the life chances of disadvantaged young people, it is critical that activities aimed at narrowing the school attainment gap are targeted towards those learners who need them most. This paper adds to the debate around attainment raising outreach by, first, proposing that lower attaining learners are the most appropriate target recipients, before examining the extent to which these learners have engaged in the attainment raising outreach recorded on the HEAT database.


To read more, download the report Attainment Raising Outreach: Exploring the Tensions Involved in Targeting

Banner image courtesy of the University of Kent