Helping Impetus to define its approach to Alternative Provision

05 July 2021

The Client

Impetus transforms the lives of young people in the UK from disadvantaged backgrounds by ensuring they get the right support to succeed in school, in work and in life.

Young people from low income families have done worse at school and work for decades. But, with the right support, every young person can succeed. Impetus are a driving force behind great charities working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the UK. They find what works by combining the lessons from their charities with their own research and share this learning to influence relevant policies and resources so that all young people get the support they need.

The Challenge

In 2019, Impetus decided to review and refresh its education domain strategy. Determining how and where to target its efforts in the alternative provision (“AP”) market was to be an important strand of this new strategy.

AP describes education outside school, arranged by local authorities or schools, for pupils who do not attend mainstream school for reasons such as school exclusion, behaviour issues, school refusal, or short- or long-term illness. The sector is particularly challenging in terms of outcomes, as well as – we discovered – in terms of data and transparency.

The Project                                                               

This project had 2 key objectives:

  • to scan the AP market in the UK
  • to help determine where and how Impetus could best invest its funds and expertise to improve AP outcomes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds

The Eden McCallum team worked hard with limited data available in the public domain to call upon to define the size, structure and cost drivers of the market. They identified historic and forecast trends, profiled key participants, mapped current outcomes, and analysed current and potential sources of AP funding.  This was all drawn together with Impetus to identify where and how to focus Impetus’ limited resources.

The Impact

The project findings fed straight into the Impetus investment and policy teams and into the formulation of Impetus’ approach to supporting AP. The Engage Fund launched in May 2021 is at the heart of this approach. It aims to tackle the rising number of school exclusions and improve outcomes for young people in AP in England and is co-funded by Impetus and the Henry Smith Charity.

Over the course of five years, the fund will provide £3 million of funding and support to 5 innovative organisations pioneering high-quality interventions with young people who are struggling to engage in mainstream education:

These charities will help young people develop essential life skills, reintegrate into school when appropriate and achieve the qualifications they need.

Commenting on Eden McCallum’s pro bono support for this project, Impetus CEO Eleanor Harrison said “Young people in AP settings are far less likely to pass their English and maths GCSEs than their peers in school. Without these crucial gateway qualifications, their choices and prospects are limited.

We’re so grateful to the Eden McCallum team for their extensive work exploring the extent of this issue. They’ve given us the detail we needed to create a solution for both tackling school exclusions and rethinking tailored support for children who are excluded from school, many of whom are extremely vulnerable.”