Social care: new project will use EEF trials to gain insights into educational interventions for vulnerable young people

Researchers from the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care will use data from previous trials commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to find out if there are specific insights for vulnerable children and young people.

The focus of EEF trials is to find out which teaching and learning strategies are most likely to boost attainment for all pupils and particularly those eligible for free school meals. However this project will look at the data collected through EEF trials to find out which programmes had a particularly positive impact for children who’ve been involved in social care.

The partnership between the two ‘what works’ centres will provide much needed insights that will help teachers and social workers to make decisions to support these children and young people.It is the best way to quickly gain information on what works for these young people.

In total, the project will cover 83 trials commissioned and published by the EEF between 2011 and 2018. The findings that emerge from the re-analysis will inform future research and guidance from both the EEF and the Centre.

The Centre has just published the research protocol for the project which contains more information about the project. 

Sir Kevan Collins, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said:

On far too many measures – whether around education, health or employment – outcomes for these groups of young people are poor. We know very little about how best to support them too.

This new analysis of data from dozens of our trials will give us much-needed evidence and insights into how best to support these vulnerable groups of learners.

Michael Sanders, Executive Director the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care said: 

I’m incredibly excited about this project to work out what it is in education that works specifically for children and young people in the care system, and what doesn’t. Re-analysing such a wealth of data represents a huge opportunity to rocket propel the evidence base in this area and to really make a difference to children and young people’s outcomes and the social workers who are so passionate to improve those outcomes.

We hope that by late summer 2019 we’ll be able to present our findings to the children’s social care and education communities alike as to what impact interventions in the education environment have on children in care.

Michael added: 

It’s my hope that by working with the EEF in this way we will see more partnership projects with the EEF and that together we can support each other’s research and share learnings for our cohorts that will be translated and adopted into real practice improvements and evidence.