Youth Social Action: Primary Trial

This programme will test the impact of youth social action activities on the engagement and attainment of pupils in Years 5 and 6. Many schools promote such extra-curricular activity for their pupils – for example, through the Duke of Edinburgh Award or other volunteering programmes – and there is a belief that they create a range of benefits for young people, including improved motivation, self-confidence and resilience, leadership and social skills, as well improving young people’s engagement and contribution to the community.

Participating students will take part in a mix of activities, including projects in the local community such as supporting the elderly and educational activities such as visits to museums and universities. This project has been co-funded with the Cabinet Office.

Why are we funding it?

Social action activities offer a way of drawing on resources beyond school (eg, community organisations and parents as volunteers) to improve outcomes for young people. This programme provides an opportunity to test robustly the claim that extra-curricular activities have benefits on engagement, attainment and a wide range of non-cognitive skills such as motivation, confidence and team-working. There is growing interest in such skills for making a crucial difference to young people’s employability.

How are we evaluating it?

The EEF is working together with the Cabinet Office to test the impact of youth social action. You can read more about our work together here.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation will be conducted by a team from Durham University. 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 will be structured as randomised controlled trial involving 80 schools.

In addition to the academic outcomes, this trial will test the impact of the interventions on non-cognitive skills. Durham University will work with the EEF, the delivery organisations and the Behavioural Insights Team within the Cabinet Office, to design a simple, practical questionnaire that will measure outcomes such as confidence, communication, empathy and social skills.

To view the project's evaluation protocol click here.