Evaluation of the Strategic Intervention Grants Programme

Robert Smith, Robat Powell, Gareth Jones, Angharad Reakes

21 December 2006

The report presents the findings of an evaluation of the Strategic Intervention Grants (SIG) programme funded by the Basic Skills Agency and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Key Findings

The research found that the SIG programme has enabled schools and local authorities (LAs) in Wales to focus on a key group of underperforming pupils whose particular needs may not have received attention in the past. The procedures for obtaining funding are rigorous but enable LAs to identify their own priorities within the framework set for the grants, and to develop activities which meet those needs. The activities can be delivered through a variety of means, including extra-curricular activities, alternative curriculum, and catch-up programmes. Most of the activities which were funded during the first phase of the SIG programme were either literacy or numeracy catch-up programmes.

Statistical evidence was collected by schools and LAs to measure the effectiveness of the SIG-funded activities. In general, the evidence suggests that the programmes are having a positive effect. However, the nature of the quantitative data and the difficulty of isolating the effect of any particular initiative make it extremely difficult to draw firm conclusions based on the available quantitative evidence.