Centre to re-analyse wealth of existing education data focusing on children’s social care

10 December 2018

The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care (WWCCSC) is to re-analyse previous trials commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to identify specific insights for children who have cleared a statutory threshold in the children’s social care system.

The purpose of the re-analysis is to identify which interventions work differentially for Children In Need (CIN) and Looked After Children (LAC) as opposed to the general population of young people or for young people in receipt of free school meals.

The hope is that re-analysing the data from focusing on these young people will provide much needed insights that will help professionals – be they teachers, social workers or others – to make decisions to support these children and young people, as well as providing a spur for further research.

The primary focus of the reanalysis will seek to establish what effect the interventions trialled had on those children identified as in need (CIN) through to those being looked after in the care system (LAC). The project will also seek to compare the effect of the intervention with these children and young people with other wider groups included in the original trials. Although these trials were not originally designed to answer these specific questions, it represents the best collection of data of this sort in the world, and the best way to quickly gain information on what works for these young people.

In total, the project will cover c.70 trials commissioned and evaluated by EEF between 2011 and 2017. The findings that emerge from the re-analysis will form part of both the EEF’s and the Centre’s evidence stores and will inform future research and guidance for practitioners.

Michael Sanders, Executive Director the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care said: ‘I’m incredibly excited about this project to work out what it is in education that works specifically for children and young people in the care system, and what doesn’t. Re-analysing such a wealth of data represents a huge opportunity to rocket propel the evidence base in this area and to really make a difference to children and young people’s outcomes and the social workers who are so passionate to improve those outcomes. We hope that by late summer 2019 we’ll be able to present our findings to the children’s social care and education communities alike as to what impact interventions in the education environment have on children in care.’

Michael added: ‘It’s my hope that by working with the EEF in this way we will see more partnership projects with the EEF and that together we can support each other’s research and share learnings for our cohorts that will be translated and adopted into real practice improvements and evidence.’

Sir Kevan Collins, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said: ‘On far too many measures – whether around education, health or employment – outcomes for these groups of young people are poor. We know very little about how best to support them too. This new analysis of data from dozens of our trial will give us much-needed evidence and insights into how best to support these vulnerable groups of learners.’

Sir Alan Wood, Chair of the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care said: ‘For all children, be they in care or not, education has a huge impact on their lives. Our job at the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care is to understand and share what works in improving all the outcomes that impact on a child or young person’s life outcomes when they near or pass the threshold for care. So, understanding what impact specific interventions in education have on these children and young people should provide a true step change for all those with an interest in improving these people’s life chances.’

Sir Alan added. ‘It is hugely encouraging that the Centre will be working with the EEF at this stage of our journey, so I would like to thank the team there for helping to make this happen and look forward to further collaborations in the future.’



Guy Goodwin, What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care
Tel 07583 146982

Georgia Parry, What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care
Tel 07773 647480

Notes to editors

What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care

The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care seeks better outcomes for children, young people and families by bringing the best available evidence to practitioners and other decision makers across the children’s social care sector. Our mission is to foster a culture of evidence-informed practice. We will generate evidence where it is found to be lacking, improve its accessibility and relevance to the practice community, and support practice leaders (e.g. principal social workers, heads of service, assistant directors and directors) to create the conditions for more evidence-informed practice in their organisations.

The Education Endowment Foundation

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is a grant-making charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus-The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. The EEF is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.