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Better Together Youth Work with Schools

Oct 18, 2023

Better Together Report

In recognition of the worrying rise in school absence rates following the pandemic – peaking at over 9% in May 2023; the myriad challenges facing young people (notably the risk of online harms, exploitation and the cost of living crisis); together with an unmet demand for mental health services – the NYA has commissioned an independent review of the impact of youth work delivered with schools. The review was overseen by a panel of experts from across the education and youth sectors, co-chaired by former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton MP and former Shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green, OBE. 

The Better Together: Youth Work With Schools report is the result of a call for evidence and a survey of schools and youth work organisations, as well as interviews with young people. The report draws upon case studies and interviews collated from over 200 organisations, illustrating where youth work is taking place with schools and alternative provision, the different models of delivery and the impact on pupils.

Youth Work in Schools Report by NYA

Review Findings

The report highlights how the holistic approach taken by youth workers, alongside teachers and pastoral staff can support young people to develop a positive relationship with their school and help address barriers to attendance.

It also shows that:

  • An overwhelming majority of submissions (95%) agreed that youth work in and out of schools has a positive impact on young people’s health and wellbeing, directly affecting their attendance, behaviour, and attainment.
  • Youth workers, working in and out of schools, can help to identify the contextual factors which school staff may be unaware of and help young people to navigate and overcome some of the challenges they may be experiencing that may be preventing them from engaging with school.
  • A lack of funding and perception that youth work is an ‘add on’ rather than being an essential part of whole school or targeted approaches is identified as a challenge for rolling out youthwork with schools more widely.
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