In the Summer term of 2022, DANCOP funded a project delivered by Inspiring Leaders. The programme was delivered to 8 schools and was designed to aid students in developing their confidence and leadership skills, with the aim of supporting them in making the right next steps in their education/employment. 120 pupils from 8 schools from the Mansfield/Ashfield areas were chosen to take part, with students who were at risk of NEET being specifically targeted for the programme.
Projects of this nature are vital in these areas, as statistics indicate that Mansfield is in one of the lowest performing areas in terms of social mobility (Social Mobility Commission, 2016), as well as having one of the lowest percentages of post 18s in higher education or having no qualifications compared to the national average (Mansfield District Council, 2020).
The project aims to address these issues by specifically targeting NEET learners to increase their skills in confidence, leadership and guiding students to develop self-efficacy. Sessions that help students develop these key skills such as confidence, resilience, leadership and self-efficacy have been shown to increase students’ likelihood to succeed later in life, both in their education and careers (Gallagher, T. L., & Ciampa, K. 2020).
Inspiring Leaders achieved this by providing each learner with structured programmes of support, which included fortnightly support sessions/workshops focused on developing strong careers plans, developing effective oracy skills and support in creating a personal action plan with clear goals to achieve during the project. The project also included motivational talks on social mobility, life choices and personal careers thinking.
Evaluation and results
Each learner who took part were asked to complete a pre and post project survey which asked them questions about their self-belief, perceptions, knowledge, future careers and goals. A total of 66 surveys were collected from both pre and post questionnaires. Below is a collection of responses from these surveys:
Q1: I am motivated to do well in my studies:
The surveys indicated that there was a 12pp increase in those that agreed with the above statement (53% pre – 65% post event). This represents an extremely positive result as most of the learners who took part felt that their motivation to do well had increased as a result of the programme.
Q5: Higher education is for people like me:
The surveys indicated a 17pp increase in those who felt that higher education was for them (19% – 36%). Although the percentages are still low, this is unsurprising due to the area, schools and pupils who were specifically chosen. However, this still provides a positive result for this programme.
Q10: I am more engaged in school attendance and learning:
The surveys indicated a small 4pp increase in responses to this question (67% – 71%). Despite the small increase, this does indicate that the programme has met its overall aims of increasing confidence and learner engagement in school.
The questionnaire responses overall indicate that the programme was successful in meeting its aims. Learners demonstrated that they had increased confidence in their abilities, an increase in motivation to study and engage in school learning, and an increase in attitude and confidence towards attending higher education in the future. As mentioned, these schools are in low attaining areas, with a high risk of NEET and one of the least socially mobile areas in the country. Programmes of this nature have therefore been shown to increase students’ capabilities to succeed in their future educational journeys and careers.
You can see a video summary of the project below: