Research and evaluation

Evaluation of local approaches to raising the participation age

“Probably the best piece of evaluation work I have been involved with”


What did we do?

Isos were commissioned by the Department of Children, Schools and Families to conduct an evaluation working with ten local authorities and one sub-regional grouping who were trialling approaches to raising the participation age in education or training. One of the key purposes of the evaluation was to work alongside the trial areas as they undertook activities to test and learn what worked and what didn’t for particular groups of young people, to help share these practices amongst the areas involved in the trial and to produce a published report which would help other local authorities to think through these issues.

We conducted the evaluation by reviewing and evaluating the trial areas plans to help set clear baselines and success measures for the trial period. We then conducted face to face visits to local areas to discuss progress with trial leads, other local authority staff, their partners and with school and college staff and held a workshop with all of the trial areas to help shape the findings and recommendations in the final report. We produced a clear and compelling final report which set out the main findings from the evaluation as well as clear recommendations for local areas and national policy.

What difference did we make?

The final evaluation report from Phase 1 was published in August 2010 and can be found at https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DFE-RR020. Isos have been commissioned by the Department of Education to undertake the evaluation of Phase 2 of the Trials.

What did the client say about our work?

The client said: “It was a really successful project and excellent report which has heavily informed the design of Phase 2 and is now guiding the local areas in their ongoing work...we were impressed by how deep your knowledge was of the activities in each trial area and your sound judgement of their usefulness and ambitiousness...we were also very grateful for your flexibility and adaptability in relation to our evolving needs, and for being very well attuned to both the needs of the Department and local areas.  We also got excellent feedback from the trial areas on the way you delivered the validation workshop.”

A comment from one of the trial areas involved in the evaluation following the final workshop was:  “I think Isos’ work, approach and knowledge of the activity have been excellent. Probably the best piece of evaluation work I have been involved with.”