This protocol sets out an evaluation of Worcestershire’s Back to School Intervention. Back to School, developed by Worcestershire Children First, is an intensive programme to identify and support the children most likely to struggle with the return to school following national school closures in 2020. The intervention offer includes a dedicated worker providing support to each child and parent via regular contact, and using a bespoke Signs of Safety tool to help access tailored support including an online programme of Emotional Health and Wellbeing sessions.
The evaluation presented is a difference-in-differences evaluation of the impact of Back to School on school attendance. This is accompanied by an implementation and process evaluation as well as a study of the cost of delivering Back to School. We specify in this protocol a set of conditions needed to go ahead with the difference-in-differences analysis. As these conditions have not been met, only the implementation and process evaluation and the cost evaluation will be possible.
The implementation and process evaluation aims to provide a more detailed understanding of the implementation of Back to School and inform future rollout and evaluation. This will comprise interviews with staff and families to understand what has been delivered, barriers and facilitators to delivery and the experience of those delivering and receiving the intervention including how acceptable the intervention is and perceived outcomes. It will also include families who have not taken part in Back to School, to understand how Back to School differs from other services, and families who have withdrawn from Back to School to understand barriers to engagement with the programme.
The cost study will collect data from schools and the Local Authority to assess the cost per pupil of delivering Back to School.