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Pilot evaluation of Transition Support at Hartlepool Borough Council

About the study

What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) have appointed NatCen to conduct a pilot evaluation of the Transition Support programme, developed and delivered by Hartlepool Borough Council. It will provide support to children with a social worker during their transition from primary to secondary school.

Our study will improve understanding of how best to support school transition for pupils who have a Children in Need (CIN) or Child Protection (CP) plan. The study will evaluate how the programme is implemented and provide learning for future delivery. It will involve observations of teacher training and person-centred planning meetings; interviews with teachers, social workers and children; a pupil survey and analysis of administrative data (Transition Planning Profile Tool data). 

A full study protocol can be found on WWCSC website: https://whatworks-csc.org.uk/research-project/transition-support-pilot/ 

Who is carrying out the research?

This research is being carried out by NatCen Social Research.

NatCen is the UK’s leading independent social research agency. We are proud to have been carrying out research on behalf of government, charities and other organisations for nearly 50 years. We conduct several studies in schools every year and are expert at research with pupils and teachers.

We are a non-profit organisation, independent of government departments and political parties.

What will taking part involve?

For teachers

Some teacher training and person-centred planning meetings will be observed by a researcher in spring/summer 2021. The researcher will take notes about the delivery and content of these sessions. They will not write down the names of participants or the names of children in the person-centred planning meetings.

Some teachers will also be invited to participate in an interview either during the early stages of delivery in June-July 2021 and/or at the end of delivery in November-December 2021. The first interview will focus on early implementation and your views of the programme. The second interview will explore your experiences of supporting pupils with transition, how the programme has helped schools, teachers and children. Interviews will last up to 60 minutes and will be done by telephone or online (via Teams).

For social workers

Some social workers will be invited to take part in an interview, in either during the early stages of delivery in June-July 2021 and/or at the end of delivery in November-December 2021. The first interview will seek insights into the training you have received as well as your views on early implementation. The second interview will aim to understand the role of social workers in the programme, how the programme has shaped usual practice and how it has helped children and families. Each interview will last up to 60 minutes and be done by telephone or online (via Teams).

For parents/carers

All children taking part in the Transition Support programme will be asked to complete a short, 15-minute paper questionnaire at the end of the programme (October 2021). Children will complete the questionnaire at school with a teacher present. It will ask questions about their feelings and behaviours and how they feel about school. The questions are child-friendly.

Some Year 7 children will be asked to take part in an interview in November-December 2021. The interview will only take place with your consent. You can decline the invitation for your child to take part. Interviews will explore children’s views of the support they have received and how they feel about secondary school. The experienced researcher will sensitively interview each child. If a child feels upset or they do not want to answer questions, the researcher will pause or stop the interview and tell a member of school staff. Interviews will take place online while your child is at school and will last up to 45 minutes.

For children

You and some other Year 6 pupils in Hartlepool are taking part in a project called Transition Support. We are doing research to find out what pupils think about the project, including what they liked and didn’t like.

You are invited to take part in a paper questionnaire about your thoughts and feelings. It will take 15 minutes. You will do the questionnaire in October 2021 when you will be in Year 7. You will do the questionnaire at school.

We will also invite some pupils to talk to a researcher. This will happen when you will be in Year 7. The researcher will ask what you liked and didn’t like about the project, and how you felt about moving from primary to secondary school. The interview will happen online while you are at school.

We will not tell anyone what you said, not even your teachers. If you tell us something that makes us worried for you or someone else, we might have to tell someone.

What will happen to any information I give?

We will share general findings with WWCSCon an ongoing basis from March 2021 until the programme ends in December 2021. We will also write a findings report that will be published online at WWCSC, in spring 2022. We will not use any names or any information that could identify individuals in any of the reports or presentations.

Contact us

You can contact the NatCen Research team at 0808 196 1468 or transition-support@natcen.ac.uk.

Privacy notice

You can read the privacy notice here.

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