David Kerr , Marian Morris , Julie Nelson
01 March 2003
This is the first year report of a three year evaluation project carried out by NFER. 118 interviews were conducted with individuals involved in the 11 Round 1 consortia developing post-16 citizenship, including the 11 Project Managers; the citizenship coordinator in a selected partner organisation in each consortia; staff delivering the citizenship project in those partner organisations; 84 young people participating in the local projects; and external partners to individual consortia. In addition, management data for the project was analysed. The first year of the evaluation was designed to:
- assess the extent to which the development projects were progressing in line with their agreed action plans, and working towards meeting their own objectives
- begin to identify the conditions necessary for the success of post-16 citizenship
- begin to identify the forms of citizenship provision that appear the most effective
- examine the initial impact of involvement in post-16 citizenship on young people’s skills, attitude and knowledge.
This is the report from the first year of the evaluation
The evaluation found that, during the first year of development:
- As expected, most (at least eight) consortia and their partner organisations had focused on establishing the necessary report structures, developing programmes and materials and seeking to clarify what citizenship meant. The remaining consortia indicated slightly more ambitious objectives related to finding ways of helping young people to engage with citizenship learning, assessing skills and knowledge and sharing good practice.
- There was no clearly recognised or understood definition of citizenship education across the demonstration projects and the consortia were still working towards establishing a shared working definition of active citizenship post-16. There was a recognised need to gain a balance between the development of knowledge, skills and understanding and community-based activities. At least six of the consortia were working on establishing a clear linkage between the community involvement and political literacy strands of citizenship.
- In eight of the 11 partner organisations, young people were positive about their experiences during the first year, although they often did not see these as 'citizenship education' or 'active citizenship'. Young people's demonstration of citizenship-related skills through active involvement in planned events and activities was greater than their demonstration of citizenship-related knowledge and understanding at this stage.
- Seven of the Project Managers, and coordinators and delivery staff across eight of the 11 partner organisations believed that a key success towards getting active citizenship working on the ground had been securing the active involvement and enthusiasm of young people.
- Programmes of citizenship delivery within projects were reported by Project Managers, coordinators and delivery staff to have been particularly successful where young people had been given responsibility for organising events and identifying their own areas of interest.
- In seven consortia, coordinators and delivery staff said that the consortium model had been helpful. It was reported by five of the seven consortia to have specific benefits where Project Managers were able to adopt a strategic overview, to undertake development work and to facilitate networking amongst thier partner organisations in order to strengthen capacity to get active citizenship working on the ground.
- Whilst the distribution of funds towards project management in some consortia limited the funds available to partner organisations in principle, in practice no partner organisations reported having concerns about this. Where Project Managers had more substantial amounts of dedicated time (one and a half days a week or more) they were in a position to have a more strategic role. In contrast, where management time was limited, their capacity to adopt a strategic role was said to have been overshadowed by administrative demands. Such Project Managers were often frustrated by the little time that they had available to concentrate on supporting partner organisations in developing their programmes, identifying useful teaching and learning approaches or identifying staff development needs amongst other things.
- Data received from the projects suggests that just over half of the young people were female and that eight tenths were white. The only other substantially represented group was Bangladeshi young people (less than one tenth). Around half were studying at level 3 and just over one sixth at level 2. Very few were working at pre-entry or entry levels, or with EBD, SEN or EAL.