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Evaluating WP initiatives: Overcoming the Challenges

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 10:00 to 16:30
The Hub Theatre, The Open University, Milton Keynes

Post Event

Following a very successful event, please now find below, the presentations from the day. 



Pre-event information 

Final programme is available here.

Registration is now closed.  

The Open University, and Queen’s University Belfast widening participation teams, with the support of the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) and ​Network for Researching and Evaluating University Participation Interventions (NERUPI), invite you to attend this one-day event, which seeks to address some of the challenges HE providers are facing in evaluating their widening participation initiatives, and  to explore some of the alternative evaluation methods being adopted.  Evidence-based practice is increasingly being prioritised by Governments across the four nations of the UK with increasing pressure on HE providers to demonstrate the impact of their widening participation spend.   This presents challenges for many, as outreach initiatives are rarely undertaken in isolation, with targeted participants in schools ranging in age from primary through to secondary.   Evaluation of the impact of outreach aimed at those returning to learning after a long period away from education presents similar challenges, made particularly difficult as the target group is likely to be dispersed across a range of settings.  A drive towards the use of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to overcome some of these challenges has been questioned, particularly around the ethics around targeting specific individuals for ‘treatment’ and which potentially excludes others who may be equally deserving of ‘treatment’.

This workshop will be of interest to:

  • Academics and practitioners working in widening participation (WP);
  • Research and evaluation officers;
  • Policy-makers and those responsible for developing Access and Participation Plans.

Confirmed speakers are:-

  • Dr Liz Marr, interim PVC-Students, Open University
  • Annette Hayton, Head of Widening Participation, University of Bath
  • Richard Shiner, Head of Access and Participation Evaluation, Office for Students
  • Joanne Moore, Research, Fellow, University of Exeter
  • Rachel Moreton, CFE Research
  • ​Lindsey Bowes,  CFE Research

The cost of the workshop is just £99, which will include lunch and refreshments.  If you have any dietary or other needs please email once you have registered.

If you are a member of staff at one of the organising Institutions, you are entitled to a 10% discount (Queen’s University Belfast, the Open University, or staff working at institutions who are members of FACE or NERUPI). If so, please register using the discounted ticket option in the link at the top of the page.


Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 10:00 to 16:30