The last two months have been a busy period for the EMWPREP Team with work on the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), continual developments of the database and the release of the End of Year Reports.
Towards the end of August we held our first working group meeting to help the transition into the new GDPR and ensure compliance by May 2018. The meeting was well attended with representatives from nine full partner institutions. The main discussions were about updating the consent forms and altering the legal basis for collection and processing personal data.
For the meeting’s minutes, please click here.
Following feedback from partners, Emma Burr has been tasked with reviewing and updating the current consent forms in line with GDPR. This will involve removing questions which do not have a direct link to the analysis EMWPREP carries out.
We are currently waiting for sign off from our DPO and external agencies. Once we have received these, partners will be issued with a new set of forms to use, but until that time partners should carry on using the current version 6 form.
As mentioned in our May newsletter, we submitted our latest HESA request earlier this year in order to provide an updated progression analysis report. Data was received in late July and work on completing the reports has been ongoing throughout August and September. An initial draft overview report was released to partners earlier this month and from mid-October individual institutional reports will be available.
On September 1st our institutions received their End of Year Reports which contained detailed analyses of their projects and activities. The reports provided a helpful comparison of current and previous years’ data, which enabled institutions to assess their targeting strategy.
A lot of work has been put into the new database over the last few months and at the end of August we had a number of super users test it for us. Thank you to those who attended, as always we really appreciate your feedback.
The roll-out will commence shortly and our aim is to have all users moved over by the end of October. One noticeable change users will see is to the layout, hopefully providing easier navigation. Please click here to see the new layout.
We have been able to work with the developer to create some additional automated reports such as the new targeting summary, which shows the proportion of participants who met various socio-economic and demographic criteria such as IMD, POLAR and FSM Eligibility. This can be filtered by academic year, lead provider, funding stream, activity name and other relevant filters. Please click here for an example.
Once the database is up and running users will be provided with an updated user manual and we will be holding additional super using training. If you would like to attend, please email Emma Burr – E.L.Burr@lboro.ac.uk
End of Year Report – Findings
At the start of September each of our institutions received their personalised End of Year Reports and the End of Year Midlands Overview Report which was based on the WP funding stream for all partners.
Key findings from the End of Year Midlands Overview report:
- In total 1,661 activities were conducted by our institutions, involving 112,999 participants. Of these activities 884 were Cat 1, and 777 were Cat 2
- For all of the institutions, the HEFCE core activity type which had the largest number of activities and participants was ‘Information, Advice and Guidance’
- The largest age group which participated in the institutions’ activities overall was Secondary (Yr 7-11)
For the full End of Year Midlands Overview report please click here.
The deadline for End of Year Report amendments or additional analysis is Friday 29th September. After this date the reports will be finalised, so please email Camellia Hayes would like any amendments – C.Hayes@lboro.ac.uk
NCOP Conference Summary
The NCOP national conference saw representatives from all 29 consortia come together in London for a day of information and idea sharing.
The day kicked off with an introduction to NCOP and how it sits within the wider landscape from Chris Millward, Director of Policy at HEFCE. Within this presentation he made reference to an expectation that activity should now be ‘ramping up’ after an initial period of time needed to set up/prepare NCOP consortia and this should start to result in significant increases in engagement with the target learners. During the Q & A session a point was raised that many schools want to know whether the NCOP funding will be continuing much earlier than consortia, as they need to plan for the next academic year. Chris said that once HEFCE changes into the Office For Students (OFS) there will need to be a discussion on this at the first board meeting, hopefully this will take place within 6 months.
The next presentation came from David Robinson, Director (Post-16 & Skills) at the Education Policy Institute. He focused on a piece of research conducted into the gap in educational attainment between the most affluent and disadvantaged pupils in the English schools system. The gap in achievement gets wider as pupils move through key stages. Although the gap is narrowing, it will take 50 years for this to close completely at the current rate. This is an issue affecting widening participation as attainment is one of the strongest predictors of progression into HE. The research suggests one of the main ways in which this gap can be closed faster is to use interventions to close the smaller gaps at earlier years, however as pointed out by a comment from the room that NCOP being aimed at years 9-13 means it cannot really have an impact on this age range.
A panel of experts were then invited to discuss what they believe success looks like for the NCOP project. All panellists referred to the key aims of the programme:
- Double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education (HE) by 2020
- Increase by 20 per cent the number of students in HE from ethnic minority groups
- Address the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in HE
Some of the other ideas presented by panellists were:
- Using NCOP as a testing ground for innovative ideas/interventions
- Future proofing consortia
- Engaging with parents can have a knock on effect to young people
- Creating a cultural shift in schools/communities to value education/HE
- Linking in with projects based around social mobility in wards that are eligible for both projects
- Building links with local industry/ large companies to expose young people to
Next, we were presented to be 3 NCOP consortia from around the country around their approach to the NCOP project so far. Some points of interest were an NCOP having a pot of money available for schools for travel and staff cover costs to facilitate attendance at events; an NCOP working closely with their local Enterprise Advisor Network and an NCOP creating a joined up approach with local bodies working on social mobility, meaning schools get more projects offered to them at the same time, which in turn reduced the time burden for them to engage.
During the unconference workshop sessions a few important pieces of information were disseminated. There is likely to be a webinar from HEFCE to support to support the Q4 returns. CFE are expecting baseline data for their survey to be collected by the October half term. Some NCOPs are incentivising the completion of baseline survey, with schools being offered money per student completing and students being entered into prize draws for tablet computers/similar. CFE have been asked to provide updates regularly whilst the data is being collected. There is a 1-page flyer available to schools to explain the survey to assist NCOP with uptake.
In summary, this was a good opportunity to hear from some of the key people/organisations involved in the NCOP project as well as from consortia based throughout the country.
Our Links to the News
Over the summer we saw students receive their A-level grades and accepting their university places. This year’s statistics have revealed interesting trends relating to the demographics of the students confirming their university choices.
For instance, UCAS stated that 30,000 more women than men are starting a degree this academic year. Also, a new report by Reform has shown that access to HE for disadvantaged students has increased, however this has mainly been for lower- and middle-tier universities.
“Record numbers of women going onto university this year”
“Top universities ‘incredibly slow’ to take more disadvantaged students – report”
External Training and Conferences
3rd October (Birmingham)
HELOA Professional Development Conference: Widening Access to Higher Education
11th October (Liverpool)
Access Academy Training: Strategies to Effectively Engage Parents
16th October (London)
Supporting Student Mobility
19th October (Newcastle upon Tyne)
The Admissions Fair for Access to HE Students
31st October (London)
Improving & Evaluating Outreach in Higher Education
1st November (Manchester)
NEON Summit: Effective Outreach with Disabled Learners
14th November (London)
Access to Higher Education and Student Success Summit 2017: Managing change and unlocking the future
17th November (London)
Access Academy Training: Building Effective Partnerships with Schools and Supporting School Attainment
21st – 22nd November (Winchester)
A Vision for Higher Education in 2022, Guild HE annual conference