Interim findings from the Uni Connect Raising Higher Education Aspirations evaluation in Lincolnshire

Anthea Rose, Lucy Mallinson


This short article summarises the evaluation findings from the end of Year 1 Phase 2 Uni Connect Raising Higher Education Aspirations project in Lincolnshire. This national initiative, funded by the Office for Students, delivers targeted Higher Education outreach activities to young people in Years 9 to 13 in areas where the Higher Education participation of young people is much lower than expected based on GCSE-level attainment. These areas often coincide with where universities focus their widening participation efforts to help them meet their Access and Participation Plans. In Lincolnshire the project is managed and delivered by LiNCHigher, one of 29 local learning partnerships involved in the project nationally. The data were collected between March and July 2020 during the Covid-19 national lockdown when all schools were closed and draws primarily on data collected from six case study schools. Evaluation activity comprised an online student activity survey, semi-structured interviews with School and College Leads, LiNCHigher Area Engagement Officers and two student focus groups, conducted just prior to lockdown in early March. The evaluation found that, prior to Covid-19, interventions were beginning to have a positive impact on the Higher Education aspirations of all students and that schools both welcomed and valued the initiative highly. The evaluation report made several recommendations, including ensuring workshops are more interactive.


Uni Connect; Raising aspirations; Outreach activities; Covid-19

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