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Agenda Item No. 5

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING):8TH FEBRUARY, 2016

 

REFERENCE FROM VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE: 14TH OCTOBER, 2015

 

 

“514    UPDATE REPORT ON BARRY ELIM CHURCH “CAN DO” PROJECT (MD) –

 

Committee received an update report on the progress made on the Barry Elim Church “Can Do” project as requested by the Committee at its meeting on 9th July, 2015.  This was accompanied by a presentation given by the Project Manager, Kantz Misra.

 

Mr. Misra advised that the Project had evolved from a project in Cardiff in called ‘Cardiff Beats Bullying – I Can Do It’. The ‘Can Do’ was a three year pilot project within two secondary schools, Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren, all pupils were Year 8 pupils.  The project aimed to target pupils at risk of non-engagement due to confidence or anxiety issues and at risk of poor attendance due to difficulty adjusting to life at secondary school.  Both of these issues may contribute to the risk of pupils becoming disengaged from education, employment and training (NEETs).

 

Mr. Misra advised that the desired outcomes of the project were to improve pupils’ self-confidence, increase resilience and self-esteem and reduce anxiety related behaviour and foster the pupils desire to succeed and engage in the school environment.  He advised that there was limited intervention for Year 8 pupils and it was hoped that the project would help pupils’ chance of success, particularly as they would be required to make subject choices in Year 9.

 

The Committee was provided with an overview of the methodology used in the project, which included: 

  • The Heads of Year identified pupils to put forward for the project through the schools’ management systems (NBAR/PASS) and through teaching staff’s personal knowledge of pupils.
  • Group sessions – For pupils referred onto the project, were held once per week and ran for 10 weeks with a maximum number of 10 pupils per session.
  • One-to-One Coaching and/or Mentoring – For pupils who do not function well in a group.
  • One-to-One Coaching – A minimum of four meetings every fortnight.
  • One-to-One Mentoring – If the school, pupil and coach agree that the pupil would benefit from additional support, the relationship becomes a mentoring relationship.
  • Initial assessments are made using the Butler Self Image Profile and School Life Questionnaires.
  • Exit assessments revisited the Butler Self Image Profile, School Life Questionnaires and included pupil and teacher feedback.

Pupils completed initial assessment forms using the Butler Self Image Profile forms and School Life questionnaires.  The Butler Self Image Profile lists 25 self-image characteristics and pupils were required to indicate against each characteristic where they felt they were at the start of the project and where they would like to be by the end.  The School Life questionnaires were also completed by pupils on the same basis.  These forms were also revisited by the pupils at the end of the project as exit assessments in order that they could gauge where they felt they were at the end of the project in relation to where they wanted to be at the start of the project.  Pupils and teachers also completed feedback sheets.  Anonymisedexamples of these documents were provided at the meeting for Members to view. 

 

Following completion the information and feedback from the project was collated and results were attached as a results card at Appendix 1 to the report.  Mr. Misra advised that most pupils on the course from Summer 2014 to Spring 2015 found it to be helpful.

 

40 of the 47 pupils put forward for the project from April 2014 to March 2015 completed feedback using the Butler Self Image Profile categories.  The feedback received indicated either some or great improvement in their self-esteem.  The course also reported improvement in perceptions of working harder (25 pupils), increased confidence (23 pupils), being less lazy (23 pupils), and less worried (23 pupils).

 

The results of the School Life Questionnaires completed by the pupils showed how many of the pupils had moved up the scale in terms of various issues such as teamwork, planning and organising, achieving better results at school, not giving up and doing the best I can.

 

Further information was provided to the Committee in relation to the results of the Coaching and Mentoring sessions.  Feedback showed that 34 of the 39 pupils that completed these sessions found the coaching and mentoring relationship good to excellent and 30 found it to be helpful.  58% of the pupils advised that they would like to be coached or mentored at a later date and 26 stated that they wanted a 4-6 month review on their progress.  The self-image exit assessment suggested that the main improvements were in being less cheeky, feeling more intelligent and less moody.

 

From both strands of the project (Group sessions and one-to-one Coaching/ Mentoring) of the 26 pupils whose attendance was below 94% prior to starting, 16 showed an improvement in attendance, with 6 showing a significant improvement of above 6% and 1 pupil improved their attendance by 12%.  3 pupils’ attendance was below 85% they showed a mean improvement of 10% compared to their previous year’s attendance.

 

Mr. Misra advised that the project did not claim to be solely responsible for improving attendance and advised there were many bodies involved in improving pupil attendance and many reasons why the pupils did not attend school, but hoped that the project was having a positive impact in this respect. 

 

The Committee was informed that of the pupils who attended from Summer 2014 to Spring 2015, 15 pupils were in receipt of Free School Meals, there were no Looked After Pupils on the project, and one pupil had a social work intervention and one had a hospital care package.

 

Following the presentation, Mr. Misra and the Children and Young People’s Partnership Manager invited questions from the Committee.  The following question and answer session took place.

 

Question/Query

Response

Did the   pupils complete the exit assessment on the same Self Image Profile form they   had used to complete the initial assessment at the start of the process?  As, if so, the information provided by the   pupils could be susceptible to desirability bias as the pupils would be aware   that others would see the results after completion.

Yes, the   exit assessments were completed on exactly the same form as the initial   assessments in order that pupils could measure how they had achieved against   each of their set of goals at the inception of the project. It was clarified   that the pupils completed the forms on their own.

It would be   helpful to see the feedback from the schools on the project.

One of the   schools involved in the project had provided the project team with positive   feedback on the project.

What   percentage of Year 8 pupils attended the project?

60 pupils   from the year group had been entered onto the project in the last year which   constituted approximately 20% - 25% of the entire year group. 

Had any   pupils been unable to be admitted on the project due to capacity issues and   were any pupils referred onto the project by the Head of Year?

Although   unable to advise whether there were capacity issues, the pupils did have a   choice as to whether they attended and a list of pupils was provided by the   Head of Year and the schools helped to target pupils that may benefit from   inclusion on the project.

Were the   pupils who had identified issues with planning or organising their work given   any assistance following the conclusion of the project? 

Although   there was no follow up for pupils following the end of the project a report   was provided to the schools and they were at liberty to follow up with the   pupils as they felt necessary. 

 

Furthermore,   some pupils would not see themselves as having a problem with certain   characteristics in the Self-Image questionnaire therefore they would not   expect to see an improvement in all characteristics at the conclusion of the   project.

Did pupils   decide if they want to be included in the project?

The project   was not a compulsory part of pupils’ education and if pupils are compelled to   attend they would be less likely to want to.    They met with pupils in relation to the coaching and mentoring   elements of the project and asked whether they would be happy to continue.  The way in which the project was promoted   was that it would enhance the pupils’ life skills and give them the chance to   draw out their potential to achieve in the school environment.

Was the   project part of Challenge Cymru?

The project   was not part of Challenge Cymru and only operated in Bryn Hafren and Barry   Comprehensive schools and solely funded through the Voluntary Action Scheme   grant.  Alternative funding options   were being explored including the individual schools’ Pupil Deprivation   Grant.  However, if this was not   successful the project would stop in March 2016 and it was likely that in the   future extracurricular Youth Provision would be scaled back.

 

Bryn Hafren   had recently joined the Education team’s NBAR tool now known as the SELFIE Programme   (Social and Emotional Learning for Improvements Elsewhere) , which   had been created from the National Behaviour and Attendance Review   (NBAR).  It was a self-developed tool   which could potentially be sold to other Local Authorities.  The Education team was working with View   Point on this project and it was anticipated that it would provide excellent   data and be promoted through the Joint Education Service of the South Central   Consortium.

Were there   any quantitative methods that could be used to measure the success of the   project, for example in terms of improvement of attendance as the current   methodology used qualitative methods and was therefore subjective to each   pupil?

Although   attendance can be measured using quantitative methods, this would not   necessarily indicate how well pupils were performing whilst at school.  The project aimed to increase pupil   engagement as, although pupils may be present at school, they may not   necessarily be engaged.

Are pupils’   families involved in the project?

The   families were not involved as it was a short term project.  If it was a smaller scale project the team   could perhaps work with the families in order to try and prevent long term   problems. 

Had any   pupils been referred onto Families Achieving Change Together (FACT) team?

It would be   for the school to decide if a pupil needed to be referred to the FACT team,   although any pupil issues identified throughout the project would be   highlighted to the school.  The   Children and Young People’s Partnership Manager advised that he was not aware   of any pupils on the project being referred to the FACT team and these pupils   were well below the threshold for a referral.

Would the   Committee be able to view the GCSE results of the first cohort of pupils on   the project?

It was   likely that the project would be over by the time the first cohort of pupils   had completed their GCSEs therefore the team would not be able to collate   this information.  Furthermore, the   project was a very small intervention therefore it would be surprising if it   could claim credibly that it had improved GCSE results.  There are many projects involved in the   improvement of exam results.  A tool   was currently being developed which would help to identify which projects   were interlinked and may contribute to better exam results.  A Member stated that the Can Do project was   very small project with a small budget, therefore it should not be expected   that it would have such a large impact.   

Could the   individual schools look at continuing the project via grant funding?

Discussions   in relation to funding and whether the schools wanted to fund the project   themselves had already begun.

 

Following consideration of the report and the presentation the Committee

 

AGREED – 

 

(1)       T H A T the progress made to date on the Barry Elim Church ‘Can Do’ Project be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T officers and those involved in delivering the project be thanked for the work they have carried out so far.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for information.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order that the Committee was apprised of the progress made with the project and to note the progress.

 

(2)       To acknowledge the work carried out by all those involved in delivering the project thus far.

 

(3)       In order that the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) can consider the contents of the report and progress made in delivering the project.”

 

 

 

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee: 14th October, 2015

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