news 30 April 2024

NCS Trust and the DofE publish landmark report in quest to give more young people access to high quality enrichment opportunities

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) and NCS Trust have published a landmark report that aims to better connect sectors and, as a result, widen access to life-changing enrichment opportunities for young people.

The Education and Enrichment Report, which is the first in-depth research of its kind, provides a blueprint for how formal education and youth sector organisations can partner, collaborate and coordinate, to improve young people’s access to positive activities and clubs outside of the classroom.

Enrichment activities such as sports, arts clubs, volunteering, social action and adventures away from home can better prepare young people for life and work. They improve young people’s essential skills, health and participation in education.

However, while schools and youth organisations work hard to provide enrichment to young people, they often face challenges in working together to achieve the same goal.

Informed by research carried out by The Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY) and UK Youth, the report reveals that:

  • Budgets held by education settings are the main long-term funding source for enrichment partnerships. A challenging funding climate for these settings is currently placing significant pressure on partnerships, with some drawing on economies of scale or other efficiencies like central Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) resources.
  • Coordination challenges are often faced by formal education and youth sector organisations when creating new partnerships. These challenges can be overcome by drawing on intermediary organisations such as community hubs, Local Cultural Education Partnerships (LCEPs) and Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) central teams, supporting with quality assurance and ongoing partnership management.
  • Trust between education and youth sector organisations is also a key component for effective enrichment delivery. The report shows that, alongside agreed impact measures, effective partnerships included strong philosophical and organisational alignment – this increased trust, whilst demonstrating the impact the partnership is having on young participants.

Read the full report

Ruth Marvel, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “Every day, we see the difference that enrichment and experiences beyond formal education – like the DofE – can make to young people. They help grow their confidence, improve their wellbeing and enable them to develop essential skills for life and work.

“Now more than ever, it’s vital that every young person has regular access to extra-curricular opportunities. This research provides policymakers, educators and youth leaders with valuable insights and practical actions that will widen access to life-changing, high-quality enrichment opportunities so all young people can thrive.”

Mark Gifford, CEO of NCS Trust, said: “NCS provides vital enrichment opportunities to help young people become world-ready and work-ready. It is crucial that all young people are aware of the enrichment opportunities available to them and that these are delivered in the most effective way through strong education and youth sector partnerships.

“This groundbreaking report highlights important examples of best practice for effective enrichment provision along with bold recommendations that could further enhance the quality and reach of enrichment to more young people.”

To address the challenges identified by this research, the Education and Enrichment Report recommends partners and stakeholders consider:

  • Establishing a new ‘enrichment premium’ which could create the long-term funding stream to improve marginalised young people’s access to enrichment, via an uplift to the Pupil Premium.
  • Creating a new framework of best practice and guidance for enrichment provision across the education and youth sectors, sparking a climate for higher-quality and more accessible enrichment via partnership working.
  • The introduction of a National Professional Qualification (NPQ) to improve teachers’ understanding of effective enrichment provision, youth work approaches, and successful partnership working.
  • Updating the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) to provide better guidance and direction for schools on effective enrichment provision, including best practice for education and youth sector partnership working.

Stuart Andrew, Minister for Civil Society and Youth, said: “The findings from this research will help to support our understanding of what young people need to reach their full potential.

“We are committed to providing young people with someone to talk to, something to do and somewhere to go. Working with the Department for Education, we are rolling out our Enrichment Partnerships Pilot in up to 200 secondary schools from September, to improve young people’s essential skills, wellbeing and engagement in education.”

NCS Trust and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award are working closely with the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Education (DfE) on next steps for the report’s recommendations and any future actions to bring these to fruition.

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