WASS - Impact


Monitoring and evaluating our activities is at the heart of what we do as a team. We're committed to understanding how our activities impact the young people and students we support.

Access and Participation Plan

Our overall approach to evaluation is set out in our Access and Participation Plan (2020-2025) and covers our:

  • strategic context
  • programme design
  • evaluation design
  • evaluation implementation
  • learning.

You can find details of all these points in our Access and Participation Plan.

What do we evaluate?

All of our Widening Access and Student Success work is robustly evaluated in order to measure impact on the whole student journey--from primary and secondary school, through to university and graduation. We are particularly interested in the transition points at key moments of the educational journey, such as from primary to secondary, going into Key Stage 5, into university and beyond.

In practice, that means evaluating all our activities, from in-school outreach talks, to student success day retreats and residential summer schools.

How do we evaluate?

Our programme evaluation strategy is based on the Kirkpatrick model and measures impact across categories: reaction, learning, behaviour and outcomes. Depending on the intensity of the activity, we use a number of evaluation tools to assess this impact, including:

  • engagement tracking
  • in-person/online activity surveys (pre and post event)
  • focus groups
  • interviews
  • arts-based methods, such as collage
  • reflective diaries

This evaluation feeds into programme and annual reports and is shared widely across the University and with our partners. Feel free to get in touch and find out more.

What is our impact?

The impact of our work stretches across the student lifecycle. Some of the areas which we have seen impact are:


  • Learning about university from a young age
  • Feeling confident in transitioning to secondary school

“I found that I will progress well in my future at secondary school because it’s fun, the teachers are encouraging, and new friends are supportive. What I also found inspiring is that if you think about what we can achieve and take action, you’ll achieve it.”


  • Improved access to key information about higher education
  • Ability to make an informed decision about applying to university, or, other educational and career paths
  • Increased attainment at GCSE level
  • Ability to write a persuasive UCAS personal statement
  • Knowledge of student finance

Year 9 pupils who attended our Pathfinder days reported that the event was useful for seeing what student life is like, as well as finding out more about routes into university (90%).

98% of secondary school pupils who attended the GCSE booster schools were more motivated to achieve a level 4 in their chosen subject.

“I was able to learn about things I probably wouldn’t [have] known otherwise such as finance.”


  • Learning new skills while at university
  • Developing confidence at university, such as in approaching lecturers or working in a group
  • Improving the student experience
  • Providing opportunities to be successful
  • Reducing anxiety and stress around academic work
  • Motivating students to achieve their best
  • Improving attainment
71% of university students who took part in our Online Mindfulness Course feel capable in managing stress in the lead up to exams.

“[The BAME Careers Event] has made a positive impact in the lives of BAME students, it's an absolute necessity.”

72% of Academic Coaching participants feel confident studying effectively and independently on their own and managing their own workload.