Child Outcomes Research Consortium part of learning team awarded £2.8 million to support programmes improving the lives of at risk young people

The Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) is proud to be part of a cutting edge learning team supporting schools and communities working with at-risk young people to learn from their own practice and make positive changes accordingly.

The learning team, which comprises the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Common Room, London School of Economics and the University of Manchester as well as CORC, has been awarded £2.8 million by Big Lottery Fund to support six areas across England involved in the £75 million HeadStart Programme.

HeadStart is a prevention programme aimed at improving the mental wellbeing of at-risk 10 to 16 year-olds, offering a range of approaches in schools and communities. These include peer mentoring, mental health ‘first aid’ training, staying safe online, tackling social media bullying and special resilience lessons.

Kate Dalzell, who leads the support offered by CORC, said ‘we are hugely excited to be a part of this significant investment in the mental wellbeing of young people.  In supporting local areas to gather and use information and feedback from children and young people we have a unique opportunity to build understanding of how to foster their ability to cope with adverse situations and thrive at school and thereafter.’

Over seven years, CORC and partners will support the six areas in collecting and analysing data, and in implementing changes based on the findings so that the approaches and interventions can be gradually improved.  Crucially, CORC will be helping local areas to share the lessons learned among themselves and beyond through the Consortium’s membership network of more than 70 schools, service providers and researchers working for and with children and young people.

Together, CORC and partners will explore whether the approaches have had an impact on the mental wellbeing of young people. In particular, whether the HeadStart programme leads to benefits in young people’s academic performance and employability, as well as whether it reduces the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviours, such as becoming involved in drugs or crime. The aim of the evaluation is to provide information on the impact of increased investment in adolescent mental health prevention.