What does this project involve?
The Confident Resilient Children (CRC) Project aims to support Year 5 and 6 children (age 9 to 11) to build resilience and confidence and keep them safe from exploitation and criminality. Teachers are trained to deliver 11 weekly sessions to all children, where they explore decision making. Trained external mentors then deliver eight weeks of group mentoring to a smaller, targeted group of children, identified as being at higher risk of becoming involved in crime and violence (and a further four weeks of one-to-one mentoring for some).
Why did YEF fund this project?
There are many things in a young person’s life that might mean they’re more likely to become involved in crime. Whether at the individual, family, community or societal level, an array of risk factors are associated with offending. These risk factors can help us to understand how, where and when to intervene. However, they also have limitations. Having several risk factors does not mean a child will commit crime and all children are potentially at risk. The Confident Resilient Children (CRC) model recognises this tension. Delivered by the Titan Partnership in conjunction with delivery partners Lime and Emerge Leadership, the CRC programme provides both universal and targeted support that offers guidance to all children alongside bespoke support to those most ‘at risk’. Through developing the resilience, confidence and decision-making ability of children, the CRC programme aims to steer young people away from offending.
As the universal and targeted components of CRC had not previously been delivered together, the YEF was keen to evaluate the approach. We, therefore, funded a feasibility study on CRC which was published in 2022. It found that CRC was largely delivered as intended, while teachers, and mentors had largely positive perceptions of the intervention. Teachers perceived that CRC was supporting pupils to better self-reflect, self-regulate, show empathy, resolve conflict, and develop confidence, and reported that pupils engaged well with the project. YEF, therefore, funded a further evaluation of CRC in the form of a pilot study.
The pilot aimed to further explore evidence of feasibility and assess evidence of promise and readiness for a larger scale randomised controlled trial. To explore these questions the evaluation used a pre-and-post online questionnaire with pupils, collected administrative data relating to pupil demographics and programme attendance, observed CRC training sessions and interviewed five teachers, six CRC champions, four mentors and 35 children. 997 pupils across 12 schools were included in the evaluation. 29% of the children in the study identified as Pakistani, followed by 13% identifying as White, 10% as Bangladeshi, 6 % as Black/African/Caribbean/Black, 5% as having a Mixed ethnicity, 3% as Indian, and 3% as Arab. The remaining third of children identified as Other, or as different groups at different times in the evaluation.
The pilot study ran from June 2021 to September 2022. The evaluation took place during the coronavirus pandemic, requiring both the delivery and evaluation teams to adapt to challenging circumstances.
|CRC is a mature intervention, that has been implemented reasonably consistently across schools, teachers, and mentors, and generally in line with the logic model. The overall programme is feasible and acceptable to school staff, mentors and pupils.|
|Delivery of the group mentoring component was largely delivered as intended and acceptable to mentors, school staff and pupils. However, there were some inconsistencies related to mentoring delivery. While mentoring sessions are designed to be tailored to meet pupils’ needs and interests, there were variations in reach and dosage that were not in line with the logic model. There was also a lack of clarity regarding pupil selection for mentoring, with pupils selected for a wide range of reasons with varying levels of need.|
|Effective implementation was supported by a range of factors, including the clarity of CRC resources, the responsiveness of the CRC team, tailoring mentoring content to suit pupil needs, and having single gender mentoring groups to aid group dynamics. Challenges included the volume of content to cover in Choices sessions, lack of time available for CRC Champion tasks, limitations of iPad usage, more pupils identified as needing support than mentoring spaces available, and managing mentoring group dynamics.|
|Qualitative interview data revealed a wide range of views regarding perceived pupil outcomes. One view was that there had been several changes for pupils, including increased confidence, improved relationships, self-regulation and greater resilience among children. Another view, from mentors, CRC Champions and teachers, was that they were not able to identify outcomes for pupils. The analysis of quantitative outcome measures shows limited changes. However, without a counterfactual comparison group, it is not possible to draw conclusions related to the programme’s impact.|
|Ahead of future evaluation, there are several ways in which delivery could be optimised relating to training and programme delivery. Intervention scalability could also be improved by reducing the teacher burden associated with Choices, ensuring consistency in the dosage and reach of 1:1 mentoring, and improving data collection.|
What will YEF do next?
While recognising the feasibility and acceptability of the CRC programme, and commending the project team for their delivery, YEF is not proceeding with further evaluation of CRC at this stage.