HeadStart Pilot Evaluation

  • Research Project Team

    • Jessica Deighton
    • Miranda Wolpert
    • Jeni Page
    • Tanya Lereya
    • Emily Stapley


    • Neil Humphrey (University of Manchester)
    • Kate Martin (Common Room)
    • Mia Eisenstadt (Reos Partners)



  • Background

    The aims of the HeadStart programme are:

    1. To improve young people’s resilience by giving them the support and skills to cope with adversity and do well in school and life;
    2. To demonstrate that investing in mental health promotion and prevention can bring savings for the public purse and for society;
    3. To build an evidence base for service redesign.

    To achieve these aims Big Lottery Fund (BIG) is providing £75 million funding over seven years to selected areas to create, implement and evaluate interventions and approaches focussed on 10-14 year olds.

    The requirements of the two-year pilot evaluation are to:

    1. Establish a common measurement framework in consultation with sites that develops a suite of measures that are meaningful, rigorous and feasible and that addresses the key questions of interest to BIG in relation to:
      1. Impact of the programme in terms of young people’s resilience
      2. Economic impact of the programme
      3. Identification of best practice to inform future service redesign
    2. Ensure this measurement framework is based on individual logic models (consistent with the HeadStart logic model) which will allow sites to rigorously articulate how the intervention and activities they plan to implement may contribute to their specific outcomes.
  • Aims

    The aims of the evaluation are to

    • Understand what works (in terms of impact on resilience and positive mental health)
    • How and why it works (consideration of mechanism, process and contextual factors)
    • Barriers and facilitators to implementation
    • The economic impact (quantification of savings due to intervention)
    • Share this learning to inform policy and practice .
  • Methodology

    • Develop (quantitative) school survey
    • Qualitative field work and inerviews
    • Capturing process data
    • Collaborating with local evaluators