Engage in Education

Engage in Education provides small group and one to one support for pupils in Years 9 and 10 who are at high risk of exclusion. The programme, which was created by Catch22, focuses on pupils with low attainment, prior records of truancy and exclusion, and special educational needs. Targeted pupils receive training in areas such as emotional literacy and communication skills, and support from a keyworker in areas of identified need over 12 weeks. Catch22 and school teachers are also trained to support pupils’ communication needs by the charity ICAN.

Why are we funding it?

Prior research evidence suggests that behavioural interventions can lead to improvements in academic performance alongside a decrease in problematic behaviours. However, the majority of this evidence comes from America and there is wide variation in the effectiveness of different programmes. Engage in Education involves training of staff in communication skills as pupils’ behavioural problems are often linked to hidden communication difficulties. An initial pilot of Engage in Education in 2011, funded by the DfE, worked with around 1,000 pupils and suggested promising improvements in attendance and attainment, and reductions in exclusion. However, the evaluation was mainly qualitative.

How are we evaluating it?

The evaluation is being conducted by a team from Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology, and is funded by the European Commission. The evaluation is set up as an effectiveness trial. Effectiveness trials aim to test whether an intervention can work at scale in a large number of schools

The evaluation is structured as a randomised controlled trial: 20 schools will receive the Engage in Education intervention and 20 schools will provide an active control group, receiving a workshop delivered by a volunteer from the community. The evaluation will look at the impact on attainment and a range of behavioural outcomes.

To view the project's evaluation protocol click here.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report is due to be published in Spring 2015.