creative mentoring research

To help us test our Theory of Change, we are delighted to be working in partnership with Derbyshire Virtual School and What Works for Childrens Social Care (WWCSC) to lead action research into the impact of Creative Mentoring.

Funding from What Works for Children in Social Care funding will facilitate a robust interrogation of impact of Creative Mentoring when numbers of children coming into to care are increasing in response to  the pandemic.

Action-based research across 10 thematic enquiries will help us better understand lived experience, barriers to learning and how emotional and educational resilience can be increased for this cohort.

Evaluation will build a body of evidence to generate wider investment of Pupil Premium Plus, Social Care and School resources in Creative Mentoring, an approach which shows positive efficacy in Derbyshire and Rotherham Virtual Schools, ensuring that any child in care can access support across the region and beyond.

The project delivered in 2021 will enable personal development and education-engagement of school-age children and care leavers. One-to-one Creative Mentoring tested as a model to aid transition at 3 key-stages in children’s lives, as foundations for longer term emotional and educational resilience to improve mental health and reduce risk of NEET.

Action research themes focus on transition Post 16, with two interventions focused on earlier transitions, fundamental to ongoing educational attendance and attainment. This helps us to better understand the transition needs of younger children and how the intervention can build foundations for resilience longer-term in preparation for leaving care.

What are the project themes?

Project themes established in consultation with National Association of Virtual School Heads (NAVSH) include:

  • Project 1

Early years Children in Care transition Childcare to Nursery and/or from Nursery to Reception

  • Project 2

Primary Children in Care (Year 6) with exclusions history transition to Secondary

  • Projects 3-10

Transitions to Employment, Education and Training (EET) engagement of Post 16 Children in Care challenged by risk factors:

  • Mental health difficulties, education disrupted
  • CSE
  • Expectant and young mums
  • Substance abuse
  • Not engaging beyond internet gaming
  • Edge of care
  • Homelessness
  • Crime

An external evaluation led by WWCSC and the Policy Institute at King’s College London will undertake an independent interrogation across 2021, providing evidence of impact across larger cohort, wider geographic area, and diverse range of CYP in need, crucial to scaling of the work we believe is critical to lives of looked after children.

We are currently seeking Referral Partners for this work. To find our more information about becoming a partner in this work, please contact our team on