If you would like to know more about any of these projects, explore how the methods and approaches used could be applied to your work, or discuss training opportunities, please contact me.
Triggers and timings: the higher education decision making process amongst learners from educationally disadvantaged areas
This study uses a series of focus groups with a sample of students from school years 8 to 13 to better understand when NCOP learners decide to opt for HE -
• Commissioned by the Higher Horizons+ Collaborative Outreach Network
Supporting outreach in DANCOP’s further education colleges: a project to provide training, offer guidance and share good practice
The project will deliver WP-
Understanding learner journeys: qualitative insights into the impact of outreach
Surveying a sample of NCOP learners from four schools and academies across Essex, this project will provide a detailed and robust insight into the impact of the Network’s outreach programme, including its medium and longer-
• Commissioned by the Essex Collaborative Outreach Network
Perspectives and prospects: the educational ambitions and intentions of young white British males from five disadvantaged areas in North West England.
This qualitative study will explore the educational ambitions and motivations of young white British males from five areas of educational and economic disadvantage across North West England. The study will draw on the insights of learners at two distinct transition points in their educational journeys. The first of these will relate to school year 10, as pupils commence their GCSEs. The second will focus on year 12, as post-
• Commissioned by Higher Horizons+, Shaping Futures, Greater Manchester Higher, Hello Future and Future You Collaborative Outreach Networks
Further education colleges and widening access: understanding and addressing the progression challenges of level 3 learners from WP backgrounds
Whilst further education colleges play ‘an integral role in making HE accessible to hundreds of thousands of learners’ (Martin, 2017; Education and Training Foundation, 2016), many from non-
Views from the chalk-
This study draws on the insights of teaching professionals from a range of secondary schools and FE colleges across the Higher Horizons+ region of Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire, with the aim of exploring the impact of the network and the outreach initiatives it provides.
Understanding classroom practices that support HE progression
This study complements the work being conducted on the Triggers and Timings project. It does so by exploring the role of teachers and classroom practices in facilitating the next steps progression and, ultimately, in influencing the prospects of HE participation amongst those from the NCOP cohort.
Supporting the development of the BRIDGE project: identifying, engaging and facilitating the HE progression and sector entry of those from under-
Commissioned by the Bridge Project Steering Group, this study draws on the views and insights of a sample of key stakeholders, including employers, current students, future leaders and industry professionals, in order to explore the challenges the construction sector faces in recruiting more young people from under-
Understanding learner journeys (second phase): new qualitative insights into the impact of outreach
This investigation widens the coverage of the first phase of Understanding Learner Journeys, and builds on its findings (Raven, 2019). It does so by gather the insights of a further four cohorts of NCOP learners. However, rather than consider schools with sixth form provision, as was the case with the original study, this new phase focuses on two 11-
An investigation into the factors determining low participation rates in three areas of Suffolk and Norfolk
This study examines the influences impacting upon the HE progression of widening participation learners from a sample of three areas across Suffolk and Norfolk. The aim of this research is to identify approaches and interventions likely to have greatest impact in raising local progression rates, including to the Network's partner institutions. From these findings the project presents a series of recommendations to guide future provision.
Bucking the trend: raising HE progression rates amongst first generation, economically disadvantaged, white males
A significant widening access challenge facing the North, East and West Midlands, as well as the wider sector, concerns the progression to HE of young males from widening participation backgrounds -
Drop out amongst AS and A-
This study considers the issue of AS and A-
HE progression of males from under-
One of the identified widening access challenges faced in Leicester and Leicestershire relates the HE progression of males from lower socio-
Professional development in widening participation for school and colleges
Recognising the importance of collaboration, a series of interactive professional development workshops on widening participation were developed and delivered to teaching professionals and other key school and college contacts across Lincolnshire. A further component of this project is to facilitate and capture the insights and ideas discussed at these workshops and, from these and accompanying desk research, to produce a set of recommendations on effective WP practice that can be shared with schools and colleges, as well as university partners.
The progression of advanced apprentices: learning from the student experience
Comparatively few learners who take advanced apprenticeships (equivalent to A levels) go on to higher education. Yet, studies have revealed that a significant proportion of these learners are interested in progressing and are capable of succeeding in, and gaining from, a university education. The study draws upon the insights and experiences of local learners who have embarked upon advanced apprenticeships, along with those who, after completing their apprenticeships, have progressed onto HE. In doing so, the research sets out to better understand the learner journeys taken by these individuals. It also explores their motivations for embarking upon the 'occupational route', and the incentives and enablers that have facilitated their educational progression. The study then provides a set of recommendations for outreach practitioners and others involved in supporting and guiding those who intend to take the apprenticeship route.
The progression challenge: an investigation into factors influencing the low rates of young higher education participation found in a sample of census wards across Essex.
With much outreach work now focusing on the most educationally disadvantaged localities, this study investigates the underlying reasons why certain areas across Essex return rates of young higher education (HE) participation that are not only comparatively low but lower than expected once GCSE attainment and ethnic mix are taken into accounted. It then seeks to identify school-
The HE progression of BTEC students
Whilst those who take level 3 BTECs are capable of succeeding in HE, comparatively few progress to university. This study draws on evidenced from outreach and recruitment practitioners, careers advisors, FE tutors and HE lecturers, as well as the learners themselves, to consider the trends in HE progression amongst BTEC students across Essex, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. It then explores the underlying reasons for their comparatively low rates of progression before making a series of recommendations for consideration and implementation by school and college practitioners as well as HE providers.
Tracking the learner journey: an approach to the interrogation of large datasets
As part of the drive to adopt a more evidence-
Identifying comparator universities: preparatory work for a desk-
This project identified a group of comparator universities. In doing so, it provided the preparatory work required for a desk-
• Commissioned by the University of East Anglia, Widening Participation
Desk research to inform and support the University of East Anglia’s widening participation strategy and practice
This study commenced with a review of published reports and articles that address widening participation as it relates to undergraduate retention, success and progression, before analysing the WP initiatives adopted by a group of comparator institutions, with the aim of informing and guiding the University of East Anglia’s WP practices and strategy.
• Commissioned by the University of East Anglia, Widening Participation
University of East Anglia Outreach Activity Review
This ‘wholesale review’ of the University of East Anglia’s suite of outreach activity, comprised an audit of current outreach provision and an assessment of its effectiveness. In conducting this review, evidence was gathered from a cross-
• Commissioned by the University of East Anglia, UK and EU Recruitment and Outreach
An Evaluation of the University of Essex’s Arts Education Project
A summative (end of cycle) evaluation of the Arts Education Project developed and managed by the University of Essex. This study draws on detailed feedback from a sample of first year undergraduates taking the University’s Essex Cultural Outreach module and on which they are assigned to support the classroom activities that from a central component of the Arts Education Project. Complementing the student-
CPD workshops in widening participation for leaders, careers advisors and teachers at Derby College
Informed by an initial scoping exercise, this project provides four tailored and interactive workshops aimed at the College’s leaders, teachers and careers advisors. The first workshop addresses the concept of widening participation and why it matters, the second considers the WP cohort and the progression challenges they face, whilst the third and fourth workshops look at practices and interventions designed to address these challenges and the evidence for their effectiveness. Each workshop begins with a consideration of sector-
Commissioned by the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Partnership
An exploration of the case for using life-
Considerable emphasis is now attached to determining the long-
Making evidence work: a framework for monitoring and evaluating fair access activity across the student lifecycle
There is a growing need for evidence that can demonstrate the impact of fair access activity across the student lifecycle. Yet, on the ground concerns remain over what data to collect, how best to monitor and evaluate, and how to manage the process of evidence gathering and reporting in an effective and efficient way. This work seeks to develop a framework designed to guide practitioners in their thinking about how this could be achieved.
The role of schools and colleges in influencing the impact of widening access interventions
Whilst often mentioned in supporting the identification of suitable learners, and in encouraging their engagement on widening access interventions, the role of schools in contributing to the impact of such activity tends to be overlooked. Yet, there are good reasons to believe that what happens back in school is likely to have a significant influence in determining the success or otherwise of such interventions. This work examines the role that schools can play in embedding the learning gained by pupils who attend outreach events. It also considers the indirect impact of outreach on learners who were not directly involved in such activities, and how these positive influences can be maximised.
Maximising the benefits of widening participation activities
There is a general recognition that outreach interventions are enjoyable and worthwhile, and that they can facilitate understanding and offer new insights into higher education. This projects aims to build upon and harness the initial interest and motivation derived from participating on WP interventions. It does so by encourage learning from these events to be translated into positive behaviours and attitudes towards further study once outreach participants return to the classroom. It is based upon the principles of action planning.
The qualitative evaluation of outreach programmes
With much emphasis placed upon evidencing the medium and longer-
Mapping the education trajectories of young people from areas of educational deprivation
With much outreach activity focusing on neighbourhoods where HE progression is especially low, the study explores the educational trajectories that young people from these localities take. These trajectories are contrasted with the routes likely to be favoured by those from high progression areas. An appreciation of these variations has the potential to provide a better insight into why some areas have traditionally generated fewer HE applicants than others. It should also help direct attention to the kinds of interventions that might be most effective at widening local access, including those that focus on progression from vocational and professional programmes.
These can be run as one-