Higher Education Access Tracker

To monitor the outcomes of specific outreach programs, we use the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) to assess our support for learners from under-represented communities in Higher Education and physics. 

Full details can be found on the LJMU Outreach Privacy Notice and contains information about:

  • The information we are collecting
  • Why are we are collecting data, and the legal basis for this
  • Who has access to this data
  • How the University protects your data
  • The amount of time the University keeps your data
  • Your rights
  • What happens if you do not provide data
  • Transfers of data outside the UK
  • Automated decision making
  • Data protection complaints process 

For more information on how HEAT may use your information, please see the HEAT privacy notice.

External Evaluation

Every 5-7 years, The Schools' Observatory commissions an independent external evaluation. We do this to ensure that we continue to offer a quality service to our users. 

Evaluation 2020

In 2018 The Schools' Observatory adopted an internal strategy and evaluation framework guided by a set of Universal Learning Outcomes, which address the broader aims of the project, primarily influencing attitudes to STEM subjects. In 2019 we commissioned an independent evaluation to see how the project performs against these new outcomes and inform ongoing development. Hope-Stone Research produced the evaluation and report.

Read the full Evaluation Report 2020.

Highlights include:

  • In-depth case studies, including focus groups, lesson observation and interviews, were carried out in 12 schools across the UK and Ireland, covering various age groups and demographics.
  • Over 50 schools answered an online questionnaire, plus another 140 independent users (including international schools).
  • The Schools' Observatory has a strong positive impact on attitudes to STEM with 61% of students reporting that they “feel more interested in STEM” (0% were less interested).
  • The impact of The Schools' Observatory continues outside the school, with 83% of secondary students using the website outside lessons and 75% sharing what they did with friends and/or family.
  • Use of The Schools' Observatory also increases student confidence, with, for example, 71% saying they felt “more able to share skills and knowledge with others".
  • The Schools' Observatory has helped students to rethink their potential careers, with an increased interest in STEM careers.

Previous Reports

The previous report from 2013 from the Centre for Science Education and the Centre for Education and Inclusion Research at Sheffield Hallam University is available here.

Internal Evaluation Framework

Alongside the two external evaluations which The Schools' Observatory has commissioned over the last 10 years (2013 and 2020), we have also developed our own framework for the internal evaluation of our activities and resources.

Our mission is to make the Universe accessible to everyone, empowering them to do more and know more.

To meet this vision, we are guided by a strategy and a set of Universal Learning Outcomes which encompass the impact we wish to have on our audiences.

These ensure that those who engage with The Schools’ Observatory will:

  • Understanding: 
    • Experience the wonder of space and astronomy
    • Gain appropriate understanding and knowledge.
  • Skills: Develop the skills to:
    • Become critical thinkers
    • Apply the scientific method
    • Collect, analyse, and interpret scientific data
    • Apply maths knowledge to real-world contexts
    • Improve their technical literacy
    • Share their knowledge with others
  • Values: 
    • Cherish the Earth as a unique planet
    • Understand their place as a global citizen
    • Value the opportunities that a STEM career provides
    • Understand the role of astronomy and STEM in culture and society
    • Understand the power of astronomy and STEM to benefit the world
  • Feelings: 
    • Feel valued and welcomed
    • Be empowered to ask questions 
    • Feel a sense of achievement
    • Be confident in their abilities
    • Feel inspired to continue their learning
  • Behaviour: 
    • Deepen their engagement with STEM
    • Take part in more STEM activities 
    • Be more likely to pursue STEM careers
    • Become an advocate for STEM