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The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation Impact Assessment: Year 4

12 January 2017

The fourth interim evaluation report of The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation (SpringBoard), completed by NFER, has been published today.

In September 2013, SpringBoard commissioned the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to undertake a five-year evaluation to December 2018, with the aim of exploring the effectiveness and impacts of SpringBoard. This is the fourth report based on consultations with SpringBoard pupils and member schools.

SpringBoard was set up in 2012 with the stated aim of transforming the lives of pupils from low-income families and disadvantaged backgrounds by providing them with full bursaries to attend state and independent boarding schools. The charity also has a wider agenda of increasing social mobility; SpringBoard pupils are supported to help raise educational aspirations in their home communities through sharing their experiences and acting as mentors to other young people. In July 2017, SpringBoard merged with The Royal National Children's Foundation to form The Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation.

The evaluation focuses on 123 pupils who joined 35 SpringBoard member schools in Cohorts 1, 2 and 3 between September 2013 and September 2015. Pupils join the programme between Year 7 (aged 11) and Year 12 (aged 16).

The fourth interim report found that SpringBoard continues to positively transform the lives of pupils, as well as achieving wider impacts. Pupils are experiencing impacts in four key areas: academic progress and attainment; raised aspirations, broadened horizons and enhanced future prospects; improved social skills and interactions and increased awareness of social diversity; and increased confidence and well-being. Many of these impacts are a result of pupils benefitting from a stable and secure school environment. Wider impacts include: the development of the knowledge, skills and personal satisfaction of boarding school staff; raised awareness of social diversity within schools and SpringBoard pupils acting as positive role models; and other young people in SpringBoard pupils’ home communities aspiring to follow in their footsteps or having raised aspirations.

In addition, the evaluation found that the tripartite and ongoing support from partner organisations, member schools and SpringBoard itself is central to the success of the programme. This includes support for pupils prior to being placed at boarding school through to ongoing support provided during the school year and holiday periods.

Commenting on the findings, Ian Davenport, Chief Executive of The Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation (and formerly Chief Executive of SpringBoard) said, “I am delighted with the detailed analysis and the conclusions reached by the National Foundation for Educational Research. The impact assessment model which we built together some four years ago has proved robust and informative; it has informed our development at each subsequent stage. The report powerfully affirms our stated outcome of providing life transforming opportunities to disadvantaged children and is the most powerful impetus for us to expand and help many more children”. The final evaluation report will be published in late 2018. It will include an analysis of National Pupil Database data comparing SpringBoard pupils’ GCSE and A-level examination results to those of pupils from their original schools.