How we measured social impact
Over the last few years we’ve done a lot of work in developing our approach to impact measurement. We started, as many people do, with a sense that impact measurement was simply a way of justifying our work and checking that we had made an impact, after the event. To do this we got the students to self-assess how confident they felt in different skill areas at the beginning, middle, and end of the year of our programmes and used that to demonstrate progress. (You can see what that looked like here).
Over the two years though, we’ve tried to re-think what we do impact assessment for. We started with our mission, which is to ensure that one day, all students leave school equipped with the enterprise skills, experience of work and aspirations to succeed. We decided that in order to achieve our mission we needed to be able to accurately measure progress against it, and also to work out what was most effective out of what we did.
So we worked with businesses and education experts to define exactly what students needed to be capable of at the point they left school in eight different skill areas, like teamwork, leadership and communicating ideas. Then, because we work with children from the age of 5 we created a set of levels to say what we thought children should be able to do at each age in order to be on the right trajectory to be ready for real life at the point of leaving school.
The result has been that all of our programmes have become a lot more focused and better targeted at the level that will do most to support students’ progress. We can also share this information with schools so that the teachers can provide better individual support to students based on their progress.
Obviously, it’s still invaluable to funders, school management and corporate partners to show that our programmes work but even more so, it now drives us internally to make our work as powerful and transformational for the students as possible.