BREAKING NEWS:  Key findings of our independent evaluation cited young people are better able to demonstrate:  significantly improved educational outcomes at year 10; raised educational attainment at key stage 3; strong, resilience and resistance to peer pressure


its just the engagement and the jokes it makes you feel welcome.

Horizons course participant

I like the guys from stop and search because they could talk to us on our own level so we can understand what they are saying so we can take it on board and use it when we are out on the street.

Pupil, a Croydon school

The facilitator was very talented, very skilled and had an in-depth knowledge of working with young people. I think he makes the difference on the course. He has the ability to adapt to all of the different young people in the group.

YOT worker

As teachers we don’t have knowledge of these things [violent crime], or their rights. We’re not employed to do this. There are people out there who are better qualified to do this.

School teacher

This is quite unique I think because it’s very well thought about…the fact that all the different sessions link one to another. So you build up a picture which makes a big difference…even months after the group they still remember the group.

YOT Worker

I really liked their role play. The way they paused while they were doing the role play and asked the question so that we could think and answer it at the end of the role play. … this was the only activity that I participated in and asked questions.

Pupil, a Croydon school

VOYAGE impacts are backed by a theory of change devised by the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2007 and all our impacts have been independently evaluated by Ecorys in 2014. Key findings of our independent evaluation cited young people are better able to demonstrate:

  • significantly improved educational outcomes at year 10

  • raised educational attainment at key stage 3

  • strong, resilience and resistance to peer pressure

  • an increased sense of personal and social responsibility

  • improved confidence through presentational practice and public speaking

  • improved approach to study and attitudes to teachers and education

  • increased understanding and trust in the police

  • increased societal and community participation beyond programme involvement

  • increased understanding and willingness to contribute consultative structures and influence services.

Below is a more detailed analysis of the impacts of VOYAGEs programmes which contain useful reflections from a range of our clients.

A recurring theme of the consultations with teachers and YOT workers was the important role that VOYAGE facilitators/tutors played in effectively engaging youth. For example young people that attended Horizons YOT courses were uncertain about taking part, but the fact that they liked the tutor encouraged them to continue to attend after the first session of the course.

The fact that facilitators/tutors spoke to the pupils using the ‘right’ language was also felt to be important in ensuring that the pupils stayed engaged.

In terms of facilitators/tutors acting as role models, some of the young people consulted, who participated in either Horizons or Young Leaders for Safer Cities for example, felt that their tutor was a positive role model for them. This was particularly the case for a few of the young people consulted that had taken part in Horizons. The fact that the young people were aware that the tutor had experienced similar issues to them and were from a similar background was important to the young people.

The YLFSC course several teachers fed back that they felt that the sessions had a greater effect on pupils because it was not their usual teacher delivering it. In addition it was felt that the VOYAGE tutors were more knowledgeable and skilled in delivering such sessions.

All VOYAGE Programme of each strand was generally well received by school teachers, YOT workers and young people consulted. Young people and staff felt that the content of each of the courses linked to topics and issues that young people faced and understood. It was also generally felt that the sessions were pitched at the right level.

For the ongoing courses, in particular the Horizons YOT course, the fact that the courses built on themes that were developed throughout the course worked well to help the young people reflect on the issues discussed.

The interactive learning approach adopted by VOYAGE was also considered to work well across the different strands to encourage young people to reflect on the topics that were discussed. For instance, school teachers highlighted that the one off sessions were very informative but were also kept interesting by including role plays and question and answer sessions. Teachers consulted generally felt that this was the right balance and this was supported by feedback from pupils.

Peer learning and group discussions were felt to work particularly well. In particular, one YOT worker commented that these were powerful tools to motivate young people as participants were felt more likely to listen to, and learn from peers, who have been involved in more similar situations than their case worker.

For the Horizons course the support and involvement of the YOT team was essential to the smooth and effective running of the course. The YOT team’s role included ensuring the young people attended; attending the session and passing on feedback to each young person’s case worker to ensure that their information on each young person was up to date; and informing the Horizon’s tutor of anything that they needed to be aware of.