dartford big feet little feet 2012 peer research review by young evaluators 2012

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This is the fourth Dartford and Gravesham Young Evaluators Report. The group of 7 young people trained in the principles of peer research carried out the review with the young people involved in a local young peoples project, aimed at reducing the risk taking behaviour and teenage pregnancy. The benefits for young people, staff and organisations through when adopting a peer research approach to evaluating and reviewing young peoples services are widely known; and it is recognised that these benefits are likely to be realised more quickly. Thsi report highlights the experiences and honest reflections of the young people taking part in the project and also sets out basic recommendations for future service improvement.

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  • Dartford Big Feet Little Feet ProjectCarried out by and report produced by the members of Dartfordand Gravesham Young Evaluators Project 2010 - 2012

    August 2012

  • ContentsForeword 3Background and brief 4Aims and objectives 4Challenges and approaches 5Our findings 6 - 12Course content 6Delivery and approach 7 - 8Parental involvement 9Transition 9Responsibility 10Expectations 11Outcomes & impact 12Recommendations 13Conclusion 14Anecdotes 15Gallery 16Acknowledgements 17

  • Foreword

    3

    As young evaluators we know the value of young people's opinions and understand that they are very important in helping to improve young people services.

    Peer research is a principle that engages people of the same characteristics. Using people similar to those that participate in the project or benefit from it, in the process of designing and carrying out the evaluation, is the best way of making practical recommendations that can lead to more benefits for future service users. By commissioning The Young Evaluators to manage the research process the young people involved in the Big Feet Little Feet Project are more likely to open up and share their true opinions, thoughts and feelings.

    Another additional benefit of using a Peer Research approach to evaluation is that it is a targeted, cost effective tool that will assist to improve a project or service. During the current economic climate where the budgets of Local Authorities have been cut, it is now more important than ever to make the most of the available funds to make sure that all projects and services for young people are the ones that they want and need and deliver the outcomes they were initially set up to achieve.

    This is the fourth commissioned piece of primary research that the Young Evaluators have carried out. Having recently completed the research and report on behalf of Gravesend Big Feet Little Feet Project, we had a better understanding of how to approach this piece of research and had learned from the process ourselves.

    This report is an unbiased summary of the findings of the interviews with the young people that took part in the project. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the young people who took part in the consultation and review of the project. The Young Evaluators Project

  • Background

    Brief

    Aims & Objectives

    4

    The Dartford Big Feet Little Feet project is a 16 week programme that commenced on March 8th 2012. It aims to reduce teenage pregnancy in Dartford by helping vulnerable teenagers to understand the risks and consequence of having children at a young age. The group consisted of five Year 9 students, one boy and five girls. A number were specifically selected from their school due to their social circumstances which identified them as potentially being at risk of becoming young parents themselves, whilst others opted to take part. The course content consists of both practical and theory sessions in a range of locations from the classroom to the nursery. After 16 weeks the young people achieve NCFE Level 1 qualification in Interpersonal Skills.

    Our research had several aims: to discover what was needed to refine the current Dartford Big Feet Little Feet Project using a peer evaluation approach, to explore the need for signposting, find out what the participants considered as being their personal achievements from taking part and where their taking part, had the biggest impact on them. The research was simply built around the outline of a number of key areas that included: course content, delivery and what worked well and recommendations for the future.

    The Big Feet Little Feet Project asked the Young Evaluators to help them find out what the true experiences were of the young people who took part in the project so that this could help in the refinement and development of the design and delivery of the future programme. We also hoped that the evaluation would help us find out what young people needed to help them as they move on from the project, a clear supportive exit strategy.

  • 5Challenges & ApproachesWe had to consider what difficulties we may face when carrying out the review and what was the best way to overcome them. As previously mentioned we were fortunate to have had the previous experience from the Gravesham research to learn from and build these into this piece of research. In addition there was one member of the group who was unable to attend on the day so we arranged that for this member to be interviewed over the phone. This way everyone had the opportunity to be involved in the process and to make sure that we had as much information as possible for us to make good recommendations based on the experiences of those taking part.

    Challenges Approach Incompatible interviewer/interviewee Ensure wherever possible that the

    interviewer and interviewee were appropriately matched

    A diverse range of abilities Verbal interviews used to avoid reading and writing to include everyone

    Rephrasing of words/sentences which the young people may find difficult to understand

    Using games and interactive activities that meet the needs of all young people taking part

    Visually engaging tools such as mind maps and graphics

    Focus Regular breaks and refreshments built into the consultation for respite and a chance to regain focus

    Provision of a less formal setting one to one chats

    The use of incentives to such as a McDonalds meal and portfolio certificate at the end to keep the participants interested and engaged in the interviews

    Participants influencing each others answers

    Interview each participant separately in one to one interviews

    Ensure that each one to one interview took place sufficiently apart from each other so participants could not hear each others answers

  • Our Findings

    6

    Course content The majority of the research focused on the course content to reflect the key aim of the brief. The young people had enjoyed the range of the sessions with the most popular being their spending time with the children in the nursery. Outside of the nursery setting they told us that the overall preferred session was visiting the Sexual Health Clinics around Kent and learning about the affects of drinking whilst pregnant.

    I like going down the nursery and playing with the kids because I like being around them and keeping them safe

    There was no one session that stood out as the least favourite, however it was clear that those sessions that were heavily writing based or similar to the school classroom environment were favoured less and equally leaving the children in the last session was said to be difficult and not something that any of the group liked doing.

    You feel like you do enough work in school When asked what could have been included but wasnt part of the core course content, we were told that it would have been useful to have a session on healthy relationships and receive some information on different sexualities, how to prevent abuse and how to look after themselves and their bodies. They also said that future talks on how a parents drug addiction affects children and how to stop smoking would be really useful. We feel this really shows how much the group value, the information and advice they get from the programme and that they see it as a good place to learn about life. The whole group responded positively when asked about their feelings and experiences around the checking part of the course. This takes place when which the young people share their thoughts and feeling on their experiences. The general group agreement was that checking taking place at the beginning of the sessions was the right time because it is a chance for everyone to clear the air about how they really feel and anything bad can be resolved and good experiences, shared. The group commented that it needs to be appreciated that it does take a few weeks for trust to be developed within the group but once it has and time has passed that everyone felt that they were in safe place and that for the most part what was said remained confidential.

    there are not many people there so its easier to express my feelings

    The group generally felt that the presentation in general was a good way to end the programme, saying they felt it was a good way to celebrate what they had accomplished and share their successes. One young person said they felt shy and embarrassed, but everyone reported that they felt proud.

    I was embarrassed because I was shy around people but they didnt force me, I did it to accomplish something

    Delivery and approach As part of our research we looked at the way the project was delivered and the approaches used. There were lots of different learning styles used in the programme to help young people stay engaged and to help them understand difficult topics. These included mind maps, worksheets, the diary, videos, activity sheets, emotion sheets, word scrambles, questions, contraception kits and timelines. We asked the group what styles they felt worked better for them and why. They told us that overall the sessions that were interactive and working together as part of a group, were the best. They also said that hearing other peoples ideas and sharing opinions was a good way to help learning and understanding. When asked about the workers who supported them through the project, the general feelings were positive. There was no one worker identified as being really difficult to work with, instead they thought the workers were fun, genuine and trust worthy. For the purpose of this report we chose not to name individual workers and these are identified in our raw data provided to the project coordinator. Th