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We are interested in joining HEAT, what do we need to know?

HEAT welcomes enquiries from potential new member organisations. You may find it useful to browse the content of this website but we advise that you start with the sections below where we set out some important information for prospective members.

Evidence impact

HEAT helps members to evidence:


  • How effectively are we targeting outreach to widening participation students?
  • To what extent does outreach have an impact on student attainment at Key Stage 4 or Key Stage 5?
  • What is the Higher Education progression rate of outreach participants (compared to their peers)?
  • When should we start working with students to have the most impact?
  • What framework of activities have the most impact on progression rates?
  • What distance do our participants travel to get to Higher Education?
  • How do our outreach participants perform in Higher Education compared to peers?
  • What are the destinations of outreach participants, post Higher Education?

Being part of the collective

HEAT is a membership organisation – it is paid for and directed by the collective of subscribers, who make decisions about the Service offer. Not only do we ask that you buy into the membership through subscription, but also the concept of contributing to the development of HEAT. For that reason, we require prospective members to complete a quick application explaining why they would like to join.

Allowing your data and results to count nationally

Subscribers to HEAT receive the tracking results for their outreach participants but their data is also added to the aggregate member dataset which provides a powerful, rich set for interrogation. These results are shared with all members who benefit from the rigor of analysis undertaken with a significantly larger dataset where we are normally able to break down cohorts into a variety of intersections and provide important context to the results. The resulting aggregate reports are also shared publically and circulated to colleagues in the Office of Students and the Department of Education.


For further information, please visit our Tracking, Research and Evidence page.

Delivering and developing APPs

The HEAT system supports members to develop, deliver and report on their Access and Participation Plans (APPs). The tools and datasets we offer support all stages of the work Providers must do for their APPs, from evaluation planning, to recording the data that underpins monitoring and evaluation, to providing the outcomes for that evaluation and to report progress towards your APP targets. When embedded within your Institution, HEAT can support you with all stages of your APP reporting. 


As the Office for Students (OfS) have focused on significantly increasing the “volume and quality of evaluation”, HEAT have responded to this challenge by considering how this relates to the planning of evaluation. Providers must submit detailed Plans for each Intervention Strategy including a theory of change linked to interim and longer-term outcomes, as well as information on how each outcome will be monitored and evaluated, including details on the methodologies. The HEAT system provides the tools to meet these requirements. 


The diagram below shows four broad stages involved in developing and delivering an APP. Starting with the Planning of an intervention’s evaluation, with this being the stage that will capture much of the information the OfS require in terms of evaluation planning. The next three stages relate to delivering that plan, Targeting appropriate schools and colleges based on institution profile data, then Recording Student and Activity records and Monitoring that data to ensure delivery is on track, and finally Evaluating student outcomes. The tools and features within HEAT that align with each stage are listed to the right (1.1 to 4.3).


The green arrows on the right illustrate how all four stages are linked and any evaluator will need to refer back to data from earlier stages as they move through the steps. For example, evaluation plans should sit alongside data for monitoring and evaluation so that they can be consulted once the anticipated data becomes available. It therefore makes sense to store all data on the HEAT system, so that the information and data captured under each stage can be easily linked. Key fields on HEAT’s Activity record such as the Descriptor and/or Programme Title fields can be used to integrate data recorded at each stage.


Figure 1: HEAT’s Tools & Features to support the development and reporting of APPs

Figure 1: HEAT’s Tools & Features to support the development and reporting of APPs


Supporting guidance for HEAT’s tools and features relevant to APPs


The following supporting guidance is available to members for each of HEAT’s tools and features listed in Figure 1 (Member access only; HEAT login required).


Optimise your use of HEAT

You need resource in your organisation to optimise your use of HEAT. You will need staff resource to lead on your organisation’s use of HEAT: to configure the system, manage users, undertake internal training, populate the system with data, attend working groups (optional but recommended), run reports, receive and circulate information to your wider team and contribute feedback to any development in the pipeline.

Getting the most from the Service

Many members use HEAT to access tracking data for their outreach cohort, which is undoubtedly a significant benefit of the subscription, but there are numerous other outputs and features that may add value to your organisation. There is a direct correlation between the staff resource you allocate to HEAT and the added value you get from it.


We operate on an equal pay, equal say basis. Core members are paying the same subscription regardless of level of engagement in the Service. Typically, only very small outreach providers join on alternative subscription models, which are tailored to suit their needs. If you are joining HEAT purely for the tracking results, you need to think about whether you are getting a good return on your subscription. We know from experience, that members who engage fully with HEAT are getting better value for money.

Member eligibility

There are various different Membership Types, details of which can be found in our list of membership types. Please note: We aim to offer an equal data service to non-English universities but this requires negotiating access to administrative datasets in devolved governments (which is an ongoing process). We encourage any non-English universities interested in joining HEAT to make contact so we can keep you updated.


The membership flow chart provides the basics of our process for deciding the eligibility of an organisation to join the three main types: Core, Affiliate and Associate. The online application form asks prospective members to set out why they wish to join HEAT and to justify any application which sits outside of the eligibility criteria (if applicable). Our Membership Application Panel make decisions on any prospective member applications to ensure that all members fit the ethos of HEAT.


Membership Flowchart

Image of a flowchart showing the criteria for an organisation to qualify to apply for each of the different types of HEAT membership. Firstly, if the organisation is not an outreach provider then they are not eligible to join. If they have an APP and access spend over £400,000 they are eligible for Core membership. If they don’t have an APP and are an FE college then they are eligible for Affiliate membership. If they are a Third Sector outreach provider then they will need to complete an application for the panel to consider what type of membership they might be eligible for.

Next steps

We recommend browsing this website and downloading the HEAT Welcome Presentation for an overview of the service. When you are ready please email HEAT Support to ask for a Prospective Member Information Pack, which will include details on the Subscription Fee, an example copy of the Legal Agreement and our Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notice.


Please ensure when contacting HEAT Support that you indicate which type of membership(s) you are interested in.


We will also offer an informal chat to answer any queries that may help with the decision-making process. Once you are fairly sure you would like to join us, we will ask you to complete an online application form, explaining your reasons for joining HEAT, which is put forward to a panel of members. They will consider if your organisation is a good fit for HEAT.

Banner Image courtesy of the University of Kent