NEON Summit: Taking NCOP into the next phase: challenges and opportunities

NEON Summit

  • Date


  • Time

      9:30 am - 4:00 pm

The NCOP project is reaching a vital point as it moves into its second phase. NCOP’s will not only be expected to deliver targeted outreach within current wards, they will be required to establish outreach hubs across England. This is a crucial time to review the progress that NCOP has made, and also discuss its future, both in the next stage and beyond.


To support the work of NCOP partnerships, NEON is holding a summit on ‘Taking NCOP into the next phase – challenges and opportunities’ in Birmingham on Friday 10th May 2019, with contribution from Jenny Ann Allen, Access and Participation Funding Manager, Office for Students and Lindsey Bowes, Research Director, CFE Research.


This key event will enable NCOP practitioners to:

  • Discuss the delivery objectives for the NCOP project as it enters its second phase
  • Hear from policymakers and other partners
  • Learn about evaluation and how it shows that NCOP is making a difference
  • Examine what makes NCOP sustainable
  • Understand how outreach hubs and progression curriculum can work
  • Share best practice and discuss some of the challenges of the second phase


The summit will enable NCOP partnerships to gain a clear understanding of the next two years and ensure that they are best equipped to further the widening access to higher education agenda in their own local area.


This is an interactive discussion based event that will create the opportunity for NCOP practitioners to exchange practice and build relationships with colleagues from other partnerships.


Places are strictly limited and are offered on a first come first served basis.


Draft programme

09.30.Registration & refreshments
10.00.IntroductionDr Graeme Atherton, Director, NEON
10.10.Keynote speaker
Evaluation of NCOP: 1st phase
Lindsey Bowes, Research Director, CFE Research
A: Evaluation – offering the evidence that NCOPs work
Emma Church, Widening Participation Research & Evaluation Coordinator, EMWPREP
Co-presenters: Hannah Merry (HH+) & Victoria Spink (DANCOP)Higher Horizons+ and DANCOP are two consortia of the OfS National Collabortive Outreach Programme (NCOP), both offering a wide variety of intensive activities that form part of a sustained and progression programme to targeted learners from specific wards underrepresented in HE. Last year both ran residentials during the summer term, and individually collaborated with EMWPREP to support of their evaluation of these activities.This workshop will therefore share an outline of the different residentials offered, the evaluation frameworks designed to support them, the mechanisms deployed to effectively target, monitor and track participants, an exploration of the key findings and recommendations. It will also provide an opportunity for the group to the assess the successes and pitfalls of the evaluations and what new procedures may require adopting in the face of changing policy and strategy to ensure appropriate types of evaluation are being undertaken in respect of the level of outreach activity being delivered when looking forward to NCOP Phase 2.
B: Building relationships with schools and colleges
University of Wolverhampton, Dan Howells, Head of Access and Outreach and Director of Aspire to HE and Jo Goodman, Senior Partnership OfficerOur Aspire to HE Lead Teachers working in our partner schools, not only share our vision for young people, but crucially know their target NCOP learners best. The Aspire to HE Innovation Award was established so our partnership could support schools to develop bespoke interventions that allow young people to make the most informed and ambitious decisions about Higher Education.

This session will cover the reasons for establishing the Innovation Award and will also highlight some of the unique interventions that have been designed for NCOP learners by our partner schools. In addition, we will also share some of the challenges with this approach and our vision for the Innovation Award in the next phase of NCOP.

12.00.NCOP, The Outreach Hubs and The Others – challenges and how we overcome them: A discussionAnt Sutcliffe, Head of Higher Horizons+ (North Midlands and North West NCOP) leads an open discussion on the new guidance from OfS insisting that we collaborate with CEC, NCS and others.
13.30.Keynote speaker
NCOP Phase 2 and beyond
Jenny Ann Allen, Access and Participation Funding Manager, Office for Students
14.00.SessionsA: NCOP Outreach Hubs
Claire O’Neill, Head of Southern Universities Network, University of Southampton & Holly Yorston, HEON Manager, University of SurreyIn this session, we will look at the potential scenarios that we are exploring to create the outreach hub within the context of sharing a local authority areas (across two NCOP partnerships) and across the large SUN region (two counties, five local authority areas). Through discussions we will give an overview of the preparation and current projects we are running that will aid the set-up of the hubs to the ideals of what we would like to achieve and the challenges that we foresee.
B: A Regional Progression Framework: Supporting all students to reach their full potential
North East Collaborative Outreach Programme, Rachel Morrison, Senior Project Coordinator and Tanya Harrison, Project Manager (Schools)The North East Collaborative Outreach Programme (NECOP) will present its Regional Progression Framework, a tool to support educational practitioners in planning progressive and sustainable higher education outreach for learners across a range of settings.   The workshop will:
• Discuss the development and underlying principles of the NECOP Regional Progression Framework.
• Explore how the framework is positioned within the current careers and education landscape through alignment to best practice frameworks, including highlight how it supports schools and colleges in meeting their statutory requirements.
• Demonstrate how the framework has supported the work of the NECOP partnership in practice.
• Explore plans for further development of the framework in response to the NCOP Phase 2 guidance.
15.15Discussion groups
Making NCOP sustainable
15.45Closing remarksDr Graeme Atherton, Director, NEON
16.00.End of event


Membership organisation rate: £149 – 25% discount for NEON members only
Non-member organisation rate: £199


Date: Friday 10th May
Time: 9.30am registration, 10am start until 4.00pm
Location: Birmingham, 5 minute walk from Birmingham New Street station