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National Evaluation of On Track Phase Two

Schools Survey Strand

Lead organisation: Policy Research Bureau

A consortium led by the Policy Research Bureau was commissioned to conduct the National Evaluation of Phase Two of On Track, a major initiative funded by the Derpartment for Education and Skills, as part of the Children's Fund, aimed at reducing youth crime. The other consortium members were the National Centre for Social Research and the Jill Dando Institute for Crime Science, University College London.

On Track, established in 24 areas across England and Wales, was originally devised by the Home Office in 1999 as a pilot or 'demonstration' programme as part of their wider Crime Reduction Programme (CRP). The aim of the CRP was to reduce crime by designing preventative and responsive measures based on researched and evidence-based initiatives that demonstrate 'what works' in crime prevention. The On Track model consisted of six types of intervention with families and young people aged 4-12 years old: home visiting, pre-school education; parent support and training; family therapy; and home-school partnerships; plus a sixth 'specialist' category. The aim was to target risk factors for youth crime, and boost protective factors. The first phase of the On Track evaluation was conducted by the University of Sheffield.

What did the research focus on?

This strand of the evaluation assessed the impact on schools and upon pupils in On Track areas. It repeats work initially carried out in Phase One, forming a second wave of data collection in 2003/2004, after a baseline wave in 2001.

Considered separately, each wave of the schools survey provided an overview of need amongst the school age population in each On Track area. To the extent that the two waves of data can be compared with one another, the schools survey provided evidence of what had changed for better or worse for children of school age within On Track areas.

What did the research involve?

Using pre-existing questionnaires we collected data from children aged 7 to 16 in a sample of primary, middle and secondary schools in the 24 On track areas. The data measured the prevalence of risk and protective factors in the lives of children in the On Track areas. These included measurements of involvement in, for example, offending, antisocial behaviour and substance misuse, and provided a description of the background individual, family, and community circumstances for children. In addition, the data provided information on the quality of the school environment. Each participating school as provided with anonymised feedback on the results in their own school.

Timescale and final products of the research

The work programme for this strand ran from January 2004 to March 2005. The final reports were published in 2006.

See Publications for details

Last updated February 2008