Engage in Education provided small group and one-to-one support for pupils in Years 9 and 10 who were at high risk of exclusion. The programme, which was created by Catch22, focused on pupils with low attainment, prior records of truancy and exclusion, and special educational needs. Targeted pupils received sessions in areas such as communication skills and anger management, and support from a keyworker in areas of identified need over 12 weeks. School teachers were also offered training.
Reducing disruptive behaviour and exclusions are important priorities for schools. However, there is relatively little good evidence on this topic.
This study found no evidence that the Engage in Education intervention reduced exclusions. In fact, fixed-term exclusions, as reported by pupils, increased slightly in treatment schools in the year of the intervention. It was not possible to draw conclusions about the impact of the programme on academic outcomes in the year of intervention due to problems with testing.
Following up the children two years later, when they took GCSEs, there was no evidence that the programme had impacts on children’s educational attainment or exclusions, compared to children in the control group. The possible negative finding immediately after the intervention was not evident at the delayed follow-up.
This approach to reducing exclusions proved difficult to implement, and was relatively high-cost. EEF will consider evaluating other approaches to improving behaviour in future funding rounds, in order to improve the evidence base in this area.
- In the short term, there was no evidence that the intervention reduced exclusions. Fixed-term exclusions, as reported by pupils, increased slightly in treatment schools.
- It was challenging to deliver the programme as intended. Twenty-four sessions were planned with each pupil (12 group, 12 individual) but only around seven of each took place. Although additional support to parents via phone calls and home visits were intended, few took place (n = 164 phone calls and 11 home visits).
- There was no evidence that the intervention improved the number of GCSEs achieved (graded A – G), two-years post-intervention follow-up.
- There was no evidence that the intervention reduced fixed-term school exclusions at two-year post-intervention follow-up. The possible negative finding immediately after the intervention was not evident at the delayed follow-up.
- It was not possible to draw conclusions about the impact of the intervention on further education uptake, police arrest records, or NEET status because data access and other issues precluded analyses of these outcomes.