• An evaluation of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Programme: interim evaluation.

      Hanson, Jill; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2018-10-24)
      The Context The National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) was developed to support the Government in meeting three goals: 1. Double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education (HE) by 2020 2. Increase by 20 per cent the number of pupils in HE from ethnic minority groups 3. Address the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in HE. In the East Midlands the NCOP consortia is the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Programme (DANCOP) which is a progression of NEMCON (North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network) and is comprised from several universities and colleges of further education. DANCOP’s initial two goals were: 1. Raise learners’ motivation to work hard and their understanding of the importance of education in their future: 2. Equip learners to plan for progression and make appropriate choices for post-16 study and HE. Aim/Methods This interim report includes an extensive review of literature on widening participation, collaboration and networks and details a formative evaluation undertaken by The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) using data collected from February 2017 to March 2018. It reports on the progress made by DANCOP up until March 2018 with respect to: 1. The development of an effective collaborative network 2. The extent to which schools have been engaged 3. The nature of student feedback received so far and distance travelled with respect to knowledge/attitudes/intentions pertaining to future options and in particular higher education 4. Innovations in collaborative working and widening participation The formative evaluation has so far captured data from surveys, interviews and focus groups from DANCOP team members, management group members, students and third party providers. Key Findings 1. The network is well established amongst the HEIs, external stakeholders and some FE colleges 2. FE colleges are facing an unprecedented upheaval with significant changes to the sector, pressures on staff to meet targets, mergers and redundancies. In this difficult and uncertain climate some of the college partners have been unable to engage effectively in the partnership. 3. It has taken a long time to establish the central and hub teams, primarily because of the policies and processes inherent in HEIs and FECs. Additionally it takes a long time to build awareness in schools and develop good working relationships so that WP activities can be delivered. The project life span needs to be extended for its full potential to be realised and for impacts to be properly evaluated. 4. DANCOP could work more quickly if legal issues and executive sign off could be facilitated. Dealing with the implications of GDPR has taken a lot of capacity. 5. Collaborative work has been supported by: a. Representation of key partners across different management groups b. The structural and physical location of teams and individuals c. An agile Steering Group d. ‘Blended Professionals’ who have significant experience, knowledge and skills and are able to cross boundaries to get work done 6. DANCOP has been able to engage with a large number of learners although these have tended to be located in a small number of schools. At March 2018 the majority of interactions had been delivered through the third party provider IntoUniversity. Year 11 students were the year group who have had the most engagement with activities. 7. Innovative approaches to WP can be seen already but some may not be eligible for the funding or able to demonstrate specific impacts which may be at a cost to pupils. 8. Initial feedback, both quantitative and qualitative, from pupils indicates that activities are perceived positively. The activities, in the short term at least, have a favourable impact on levels of knowledge, confidence, intentions to attend and motivation to work hard Recommendations 1. That the lifespan of the initiative is increased significantly in order to meet targets and evaluate long term impact. 2. That NCOP provides legal advice and support regarding elements such as data sharing agreements. 3. That there is more efficacious system for executive sign off on contracts for projects. 4. That colleges and hubs consider how to integrate their team members both within the institution (i.e. located structurally and physically within appropriate departments) and with each other to facilitate support, communication and collaboration. 5. That DANCOP produces a shared calendar of events for hubs and central team members. There might also be an internal online forum for all partners and members of teams to access in order to share best practice, challenges and develop resolutions. The Final Report Will include data from more students, teaching and SLT staff, Governance Board members, all third party providers and follow ups with the DANCOP team. Additionally it will include analyses of the CFE survey data from October 2017 and September 2018 to examine shift in knowledge, attitudes and intentions over time. Finally it will include case studies on innovative widening participation activities