Football Beyond Borders releases its 2018/19 Impact Report.

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Football Beyond Borders releases its 2018/19 Impact Report.

By Senior Learning and Insights Coordinator – Gabrielle Hamill

More committed to impact than ever before.

Before joining FBB, Michael was identified by his school as being at risk of exclusion. Often overwhelmed by emotions, he expressed himself through anger and received frequent negative behaviour points in school. 

Michael joined FBB in Year 8 and the impact on his behaviour was immediately visible. His passion for football gave him an opportunity to develop his emotional resilience and showed him how to work effectively in a team. Michael’s behaviour points halved within two terms. With FBB, Michael learned how to reflect on his actions and how to deal with difficult moments not only on the pitch but in school too. Michael is now in Year 9 and is no longer at risk of exclusion.

Michael is one of the 130 young people who we worked with in 2018-19 who were at risk of being excluded at the start of the year. And like Michael, 95% of our at risk students finished the year still in school. 

The previous year, 73% of our at risk participants finished the year still in school. In writing this Impact Report we were keen to unpick the reasons for this huge improvement in our outcomes.  We traced it back to a number of factors, in particular:

  • Hiring a Head of Interventions,
  • Developing our approach to supporting our at risk participants and;
  • Training the team on providing trauma informed support. 

This meant that in 2018-19 we had a team fully committed to supporting Michael through the barriers he faced to succeeding in school. 

That said, having a 95% outcome rate also raised some questions that we will be seeking to understand in more detail. We are reviewing our enrolment criteria to better understand who our At Risk participants are, whilst working closely with schools to ensure that our enrolment criteria is being followed as intended.

With more scrutiny of our enrolment criteria and a better understanding of who our participants are, we anticipate that our outcomes next year will be lower than 95%. For us, this isn’t inherently a bad thing. It will mean that we are more confident in the quality of our impact by working with young people who are truly at risk of being excluded.  

Jaiden joined FBB during Year 8. As a shy person who lacked self confidence, he didn’t believe in his academic abilities. As a result, Jaiden found himself disengaged in his lessons and was frequently in detention for low level disruptive behaviour. During the course of his first year with FBB, Jaiden wrote the central piece for our public product ‘Be Your Best Self’, and participated in numerous projects which helped boost his confidence and gave him a path to learning in areas that he was passionate about. Now Jaiden is engaged in the classroom at school, his work is championed by teachers, and his positive outlook has impacted the behaviour of his classmates around him. 

Our work focuses on building the social and emotional skills that young people need to succeed in school. By consistently linking our classroom and football projects to participants’ wider school and home lives, the social and emotional skills that are developed in FBB sessions translate into improvements in school. This is why, like Jaiden, 72% of our participants improved their behaviour at school. 

Whilst we remain confident that our approach drives these behaviour improvements, we are also keen to test this further and build a stronger evidence base to support these findings. A key area of change for us this academic year is around our relationships with our partner schools. In 2018-19 we struggled to get data from a number of schools, and this meant that whilst we did see that we are having a positive influence on young people’s experience in school, we aren’t able to confidently rely on these findings to prove our impact or make improvements to our programme. 

Using school data to inform our practice is fundamental to our approach: it enables us to link learnings made in FBB to young people’s school experience, and is one of the core tests of whether FBB is improving young people’s journeys through education. This year we will be working closer than ever with our partner schools to learn from them on the best ways to gather and share this data.

Both Michael and Jaiden had very high FBB attendance. This figure, coupled with testimonials from teachers, parents and our Project Leads, means we believe that attending FBB sessions was the driving force behind Michael not being excluded from school and Jaiden enjoying life at school. This year, we want to be able to prove our impact by confidently linking our inputs to our outcomes. This means getting to a point where we can understand which young people we best support; how session attendance affects our outcomes, and making changes to our programme design to reflect these insights. 

In 2018-19 our ability to make these links was limited by our confidence in our session attendance data. To improve the quality of this data we are building a strong impact culture within FBB, where everything we do is linked to our young people’s outcomes. Part of building this impact culture includes making the use of data part of our daily practice. By December 2020, all our practitioners will be using session attendance data, schools’ behaviour points and their reflections to tailor our sessions and interventions to ensure that all our participants, especially our at risk young people, receive the support they need to achieve our meaningful outcomes. 

As we continue to grow, we are committed to strengthening our impact to ensure that as we reach more young people every year, they all receive the best support that FBB can give to them. That way, each young person FBB works with should finish school with the skills and grades to make a successful transition into adulthood.