Formative Evaluation of Uni Connect Phase Two

We were commissioned by the Office for Students (OfS) to conduct an independent formative evaluation of Phase Two of Uni Connect, focusing on the programme’s outreach hubs.

The author(s)

  • Elpida Achtaridou Public Affairs
  • Susan Mackay Public Affairs
  • Emilio Torrini Public Affairs
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We produce a full and summary report on findings exploring outreach hubs’ strategic approach and delivery progress, including recommendations for the OfS and Uni Connect partnerships to drive impact. 

Uni Connect offers events, impartial advice and information on higher education (HE) to young people in Years 9 to 13. The programme is led by the OfS and delivered by 29 partnerships of universities, colleges and other local partners across England. It aims to support access and participation in HE through multi-agency collaborative work. Key features of the programme are its highly collaborative nature and sustained and progressive approach to supporting young people.

There have been two phases to the programme:

  • Phase One: January 2017 to July 2019 – involved delivery of targeted outreach focussed on 997 specific wards in England where HE participation was lower than might be expected given the GCSE results of the young people who lived there.
  • Phase Two: August 2019 to July 2021 – an additional strand, outreach hubs, was added to the ongoing Phase One activity. Each region in England is covered by a hub. Outreach hubs were developed based on feedback from Uni Connect partnerships and local stakeholders about the need to support underrepresented learners in schools and colleges outside those located in Uni Connect targeted outreach wards. Uni Connect partnerships have the flexibility to deliver outreach activity through the hubs based on local need so that a range of local contexts can be accommodated.

The author(s)

  • Elpida Achtaridou Public Affairs
  • Susan Mackay Public Affairs
  • Emilio Torrini Public Affairs

Society