Research points to the potential benefits of developing and supporting children’s sense of motivation, self-efficacy, and confidence, and of raising their aspirations through family-based, school-based, and community-based activities. Brighton and Hove City Council commissioned three organisations to develop provisions for children and young people, aged 8-13 years, with the aim of improving personal aspirations in a sustainable way.
The Shooting Stars project, developed by Safety Net, involved six-week small-group activity programmes designed to raise the aspirations of selected eight- to 11-year-old primary school children in three schools. The Children Can Do project, developed by People Can, offered a city-wide opportunity for community groups of eight- to 13-year-olds to be supported in planning their own projects and events, and submitting their funding applications for consideration by a panel of young people who had received relevant training in evaluation and decision-making. The Evolve & Excel project, developed by Spurgeons, trained adult volunteers to provide intensive one-to-one mentoring for selected 11- to 13-year-olds in Portslade.
This research project commenced in February 2012 and ended in February 2013.
The research aimed:
Overall, there was very clear evidence that all three projects had succeeded in the basic aim of raising the aspirations of children and young people.
Findings showed that children partaking in the projects developed:
One notable factor, which supported the success of all three projects, was the buy-in from, and communication between, stakeholders in family, school and community contexts. A major concern across all three projects emerged with regard to the need for greater sustainability of the work over a longer period of time.
The research arrived at a set of recommendations regarding effective approaches for supporting the development of children and young people within the local community, as well as strategic priorities for provision for eight- to 13-year-olds in Brighton & Hove.
Findings were presented to staff at Brighton & Hove City Council in October 2012 and a final report was submitted in January 2013.
Dr Carol Robinson
Raising Aspirations Programme Research Report for Brighton & Hove City Council
Professor Robin Banerjee, Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Sussex