The intervention evaluated here is one of two ‘youth social action’ projects jointly funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, the U.K. Cabinet Office, the Pears Foundation and the Stone Family Foundation. It was delivered by the Youth United Foundation (YUF) and involved uniformed youth organisations being established in schools in six areas in the north of England. YUF helped to set up new units of The Scout Association, Fire Cadets, Sea Cadets or St John Ambulance in participating schools. The number, duration, and frequency of sessions varied: most groups met weekly, sessions lasted two hours on average, and the average number of sessions in the academic year was 24. Activities were delivered by trained staff from the uniformed youth organisations and in some cases also involved adult volunteers, including teachers.
This project assessed the impact of participation on pupils’ academic attainment, and on wider outcomes such as self-confidence and teamwork, using a randomized controlled trial design. The wider outcomes are of particular relevance because the participating organisationsshare core aims of inspiring young people to do community work and volunteer, to learn new skills, and to be active citizens. Seventy-one schools were randomly allocated to either receive the intervention or not. Of 7,781 Year 9 students, 3,377 reported in the initial survey that they would like to take part in the kinds of activities offered, and 663 took part in uniformed youth group activities during the 2014/2015 academic year. A process evaluation was also conducted to collect information about the mode of delivery and programme implementation, and feedback from teachers, pupils and parents.