Evaluation & Data

Monitoring and evaluation are important processes to identify what works. The evidence of what works is for the tens of thousands of young people whose schools and colleges are working with HeppSY. Based on the evidence, HeppSY practitioners renew existing projects and activities and develop new ones annually to meet young people’s learning needs.

This page contains the essential facts about HeppSY evaluation.

What is monitoring? Monitoring in this project is like a school’s student attendance record system. HeppSY collects the students’ information from 47 schools and colleges in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.

What is evaluation? HeppSY evaluation assesses the students’ learning outcomes through robust evaluation tools. For different activities and projects, the students are asked to respond to a quiz, poll or survey, complete a creative task, write a reflection log, or answer questions in a one-to-one interview or a group discussion.

What we evaluate

The HeppSY Programme is evaluated annually through monitoring and evaluation reports about the students’ learning outcomes. The Learner Survey is the core of the HeppSY programme evaluation. We need large numbers of students from all 47 schools and colleges working with HeppSY to respond to the survey every year so that the survey respondents’ learning outcomes can represent the learning outcomes of all the young people HeppSY intends to work with.

HeppSY endeavours to produce bespoke evaluation reports for all partner schools and colleges based on the Learner Survey. The robustness of the evaluation reports for schools and colleges largely relies on the number and make-up of the students in each school or college who completed the Learner Survey annually.

HeppSY also commissions external evaluators to evaluate the programmes’ impact.


Alongside running projects to help students improve their academic performance and make informed choices about their future, we also systematically evaluate the projects by collecting student feedback at the beginning and end of their learning journey.

Aligning the projects under three strands: Targeted Outreach, Strategic Outreach, and Attainment Raising, HeppSY practitioners aim to implement evaluations for the following projects in the academic year 2023/24:

StrandsProjectsStudent Year GroupsEvaluation Methods
Attainment raisingGrade ShifterYear 11Surveys (at the beginning and the end of the project); Interviews
GOALS Breakfast ClubYear 7 – 9Surveys (at the beginning and the end of the project)
The Elephant Group – Meta MethodYear 10 – 11Surveys (at the beginning and the end of the project); Reflection log
Strategic OutreachHE CanYear 9Learner Survey at the beginning, a short survey at the end of the project; Interviews
SHE CanYear 9Learner Survey at the beginning, a short survey at the end of the project; Interviews
HEadstartYear 12 or Level 3 Year 1Learner Survey at the beginning, a short survey at the end of the project; Interviews
Targeted outreachCentral offerYear 11 – 13 and Level 3 Year 1 and 2Learner Survey in Winter term; Reflective quiz at the end of each activity
Campus tourYear 11 – 13 and Level 3 Year 1 and 2A survey after the campus tour
Sheffield College self-led projectLevel 3 Year 1Learner Survey at the beginning, a short survey at the end of the project;
Barnsley College self-led projectLevel 3 Year 1Learner Survey at the beginning, a short survey at the end of the project;

Learner engagement

Number of wards engaged: 45/45

Number of centres engaged: 45/45

Proportion of sustained and progressive engagement: 
8084 Engaged once (42.6%)
10894 Sustained engagement (57.4%)

Number of total engagements: 38623

Number of learners engaged: 18978

Number of activities: 982
  • Over 30,200 young people in South Yorkshire were eligible for HeppSY activities in academic year 2022/23.
  • HeppSY worked with 18,978 young people across 982 sessions.
  • 10,894 young people participated in more than one HeppSY activity.

Over 7,880 learners who worked with HeppSY since the academic year 2017/18 have progressed to higher education, according to the records released by the Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA) in 2022. The statistics do not include the students who entered higher education qualification courses in further education colleges or private higher education providers.

  • Among the cohort expected to enter higher education in 2020, 3,635 students progressed to higher education.
  • Among the cohort expected to enter higher education in the year 2021, 3,498 students progressed to higher education.
Students in the atrium of university

Student data collection

At the start of the academic year, HeppSY collects student data for all new students in HeppSY schools and colleges. The first step is publishing a HeppSY privacy notice in each school and college. Parents and carers are notified of this by our partner schools and colleges through newsletters and have the option to opt out of data collection. After the notice period, schools and colleges share student data with us for monitoring and evaluation.

Data Collection Process

Privacy Notice
Schools and colleges publish HeppSY Privacy Notice on their websites.

Parents and guardians
Schools and colleges inform the parents and guardians to read the privacy notice.

Students and their parents and guardians can opt-out if they do not consent.

Data sharing
Schools and colleges upload student datasets to the secured drive for HeppSY.

Monitoring and evaluation
HeppSY practitioners process student data for monitoring and evaluation.

Data protection is a lawful duty that HeppSY takes very seriously.

HeppSY collects the students’ data on the grounds of public task. It means that the data collection is for the public’s interests, such as improving social equality, ensuring effective use of funding and gathering evidence of what works. If HeppSY does not collect the students’ personal data, HeppSY has no means to allocate limited resources to support the students in need. In that case, these students would lose the opportunity to narrow or close the knowledge, information and attainment gaps between them and other more fortunate students.

HeppSY always puts the security and integrity of personal data first. The drives used to store the students’ personal data are exclusive and protected with multiple security checks. The files with students’ personal data are encrypted even in the secured drives. All HeppSY staff must pass a strict Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. All the Evaluation and Data team members hold enhanced DBS certificates in order to process the student data.

HeppSY also puts the students’ rights to their personal data at the heart of the data protection policy. The students participating in evaluations are well informed of the aims and processes, and their data will not be processed without their consent.

Please read HeppSY Privacy Notices for more information.

Students and parents can download our privacy notice explaining the type of data being collected and how the data will be used here: Full HeppSY Privacy Notice (General) 2023/24

If a student is invited to participate in an attainment-raising project, including Grade Shifter, GOALS Breakfast Club, or The Elephant Group – Meta Method, please refer to: Full HeppSY Privacy Notice (Attainment) 2023/24

If a student is invited to participate HeppSY funded research or evaluation activities, please read:  Privacy Notice for Evaluation/Research Participants

Contact us

For more information, please contact the Evaluation and Data Team at heppsydata@shu.ac.uk

School cases

Netherwood Academy Logo

A cohort of Netherwood students’ progress from 21/22 to 22/23


Netherwood Academy is a secondary school located in a rural area between Barnsley and Rotherham with 1,200 students enrolled. Over one-third of students come from low-income families, making them eligible for free school meals. Nine out of ten students live in areas with fewer than average young people progressing to HE after compulsory education. 

Engagement with HeppSY

In the academic year 2021/22, Netherwood Academy made good use of the HeppSY workshops provided for Year 10 students, with 944 times of attendance.

Students’ change in a year

The Year 10 students in Netherwood Academy participated in two Learner Surveys and answered the same questions in the Winter term of academic year 21/22 and then 22/23. The comparison of their learning outcomes reveals significant progress in one academic year.

Figure 1: Improved expectation to progress to sixth form or college

Improved expectation to progress to sixth form or college

From Year 10 to Year 11, 8% more students expected to progress to sixth forms, and 4% more students expected to progress to colleges after the current study.

Figure 2: Improved perceived fitness for higher education and sense of belonging

Improved perceived fitness for higher education and sense of belonging

From Year 10 to Year 11, 13% more students strongly agreed “higher education is for people like me”; 22% more students strongly agreed “I would fit in well with others”; 21% more students strongly agreed “I have the academic ability to succeed”; 20% more students strongly agreed “I could cope with the level of study required”.

These positive changes mean more students are confident in their future studies and have started considering higher education. Of course, students’ progress is driven by multiple factors. HeppSY activities are part of the contributing factors. 

Impact reports

We want to ensure that the HeppSY programme offers support to students as intended, so we need strong and thoughtful evaluation practices. Every year, we report on how our programmes and projects are working, either in general or for specific partners or groups of students.

From November 2017 to 2023, HeppSY conducted an annual Learner Survey to evaluate the students’ understanding of higher education, their expectations, and important factors related to their academic performance and choices. Annual partnership reports provide insights from the analysis of survey data. Please click the report covers below to read the reports.

As an important part of our impact evaluation, several matched cohort analyses have been submitted to the OfS evidence bank by HeppSY. The cohort analyses involve tracking groups of students longitudinally to determine associations and causal relationships between participation in outreach activity and outcomes related to HE progression, attitudes and knowledge.