Since 2009, 66 local authorities from across the country have participated in locally-led delivery projects, developing local approaches to increasing participation and preparing for RPA (raising the participation age).
These projects have given local authorities the opportunity to test different approaches to achieving RPA and to share their learning with other areas to inform preparations across the country in the build up to 2013/2015.
In the first two phases (2009/10 and 2010/11), local areas were asked to trial one of three models – information; advice and guidance; re-engagement of 16- and 17-year-olds; or local solutions.
In Phase 3 and (the current) Phase 4, the programme has been locally-led. Each area developed their own project to address their local circumstances. The key purpose of these locally-led projects is for the areas involved to identify their most important challenges, to develop and test specific approaches to address those challenges, and to support local preparations for 2013/15 in the context of an area-wide RPA plan.
Phase 3 also saw the introduction of ‘local leaders’ for RPA, local authorities that have taken a greater role in leading the programme and in disseminating learning more widely across the country. There are currently 8 local leader areas working in Phase 4 of the projects.
Independent evaluations have been carried out for all three previous phases of the programme. The evaluation reports are available to download from this page.
These reports present the learning from the project areas, including:
The latest evaluation report also included assessment of the confidence, ambition and range of activities undertaken by individual project areas.
The evaluation reports also highlighted a number of recommendations and guiding principles for continued activity, including the importance of:
In addition to the six tools outlined below, Isos partnership have developed a self-assessment tool, one that local authorities can use to determine how ready they are to deliver RPA. These tools can be used to help determine local priorities as the basis for wider planning activities.
From the Phase 2 and Phase 3 evaluations, the Isos partnership has developed a number of tools which bring together the learning and emerging good practice from the work of the project areas in Phases 1-3. These tools set out more detailed examples of what the project areas have done, to help inform other areas who are considering their approach to achieving RPA. They are not intended to provide a prescriptive approach to tell local areas what they should do – one of the most significant lessons from the projects has been that local areas need to determine their own approach to achieving RPA.
Below are details of the six tools linked to from this page:
Tool One: Projecting Participation – Part One: Understanding the cohort
This tool sets out the approaches that project areas have taken to analysing their data and identifying current strengths and weaknesses in their understanding of current and future cohorts.
Figure 1.4 on page 4 is also available to download as a separate document.
Tool two: Projecting Participation – Part Two: Determining local priorities
This tool sets out how project areas have identified their priorities for implementing RPA, set trajectories to 2013/15 and looks at different governance and leadership models.
Tool three: Managing transitions and tracking
This tool looks at the work of project areas in focusing on transitions throughout secondary education and into post-16 education and gives examples of the type of universal and target support provided.
Tool four: Establishing support mechanisms
This tool looks at the work of project areas in identifying and supporting those young most at risk of disengaging including: identification of at-risk young people; and how support can be provided through Participation Advisors and Support Panels.
Tool five: Identifying and meeting provision needs
This tool looks at how trial areas have analysed their current provision offer to identify gaps and new priorities, and gives examples of the some of the ways in which they have developed new provision.
Tool six: Communicating the RPA message
This tool presents the lessons from the projects about how they have communicated messages about RPA to a wide range of stakeholders, and looks at the range of mechanisms they have used to do this.
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Information about Phase 4 of local work to prepare for RPA, which will run from April 2012 to March 2013, with 39 locally-led delivery projects in 44 local authority areas.