National evaluation of Uni Connect icon

National evaluation of Uni Connect

The National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), now known as Uni Connect, was launched in January 2017. A total of 29 partnerships were funded to deliver a ‘sustained, progressive and intensive programme of support’ to pupils in Years 9 to 13 who live in areas with low absolute levels of HE participation and where participation is lower than expected given GCSE attainment. During Phase 1, which ended in July 2019, CFE worked in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, the Behavioural Insights Team and economists from the University of Sheffield and LSE to undertake a formative and impact evaluation of Uni Connect and a programme of capacity building to support partnerships to develop and implement their local evaluation plans. The Phase 1 report for the Office for Students was published in October 2019.

CFE is continuing with the impact evaluation in Phase 2 which runs until autumn 2021. Two further waves of a large-scale longitudinal survey of learners in target schools and colleges will be undertaken. The survey data will be linked to tracking and national administrative data to understand the impact of Uni Connect on learners’ knowledge, attitudes towards and progression to HE. A meta-review of local evaluation evidence on the impact of Uni Connect activities will provide insights into effective outreach, adding to the evidence base on what works in access and participation.

Dr Sarah Tazzyman image

Key project contact

Dr Sarah Tazzyman

Sarah joined CFE in 2016 bringing a wealth of evaluation experience and policy knowledge in the field of higher education. She offers expertise across a range of policy areas including access and participation, part-time learning, financial support and doctoral study. Her research methods training and background in psychology provides specialism in the design and implementation of experimental methodologies including randomised controlled trials and quasi-experimental methods. She leads on projects that require more complex quantitative analysis. Sarah also supports the access and participation community to build their evaluation capacity through workshops and webinars. Her project portfolio informs HE policy makers, higher education providers and other sector bodies including the National Strategy for Access and Student Success.