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Why Evaluate?

Why Evaluate? was a digital conference on widening participation, evaluation and COVID-19, hosted by Villiers Park.

Villiers Park Educational Trust brought together experts with a shared interest in how evaluation can support better, more impactful outreach and widening participation activities. The conference included  keynotes, presentations, panel discussions and workshops from a range of sector experts. You can find videos of the sessions, presentation slides and summaries of questions and comments below.

Why Evaluate? 2020

Broadening approaches to impact evaluation

Professor Chris Fox (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Wednesday 13 May


Questions and comments summary


Implications of COVID-19 on outreach evaluation

Rich Shiner (Office for Students), Professor Colin McCaig (Sheffield Hallam University), Joanne Moore (Researcher and Evaluator)

Chair: Sir Les Ebdon

Friday 15 May

Questions and comments summary 


Everything’s Broken: COVID-19, learning from failure, and the importance of reflexive practice

Chris Bayes (University of Lancaster), Gino Graziano (University of Southampton), Julian Crockford (Villiers Park)

Monday 18 May


Presentation slides

Questions and comments summary


Practical and ethical challenges raised by COVID-19 for outreach evaluation

Greg Brown (HEPPSY), Lucy Clague (Sheffield Hallam University), Annette Hayton (NERUPI), Rae Tooth (Villiers Park) 

Chair: Beth Issacs (Office for Students)

Tuesday 19 May


Data driven practice: Making data meaningful

Matt Short (Southern Universities Network)

Wednesday 20 May

Video (coming soon)

Questions and comments summary


Using qualitative visual methods to evaluate and evidence the impact of Widening Participation initiatives

Dr Jon Rainford (University of Bedfordshire), Dr Samantha Child (Oxford Brookes University)

Thursday 21 May

Questions and comments summary


Coming out the other side: Reflections on a mixed methods Widening Participation evaluation

Dr Rachel Spacey (University of Lincoln), Rebecca Sanderson (University of Lincoln)

Friday 22 May


Realistic practice and robust evidence in Widening Participation: Quasi-experimental designs

Dr Sonia Ille (University of Cambridge)

Tuesday 26 May


Confidence and cooperation: Putting possible selves to work

Catherine Brentnall (Ready Unlimited), Jakob Werdelin (Werdelin Education)

Thursday 28 May


Mixed methods response to Office for Students' new requirement for Access and Participation Plans

Jo Astley (University of Derby), Anna Davey (DANCOP), Dan West (University of Derby)

Tuesday 2 June


If you have any questions about the conference or would like any further information, please contact

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