At SHINE, we’ve always supported programmes with the potential to make a long term difference to children’s lives. That’s why we particularly target students between the ages of 8 to 13, helping them get back on track before it becomes more difficult to close the gap at an older age. However, targeting these age groups sometimes leaves us asking, what happens next?

Since 2014, we have been working with Claire Brinkman, a volunteer professional economist in conjunction with the charity Pro Bono Economics (PBE) to explore the feasibility of an economic impact analysis for SHINE on Saturday. This was an important step in investigating the long term effects of one of our flagship primary school programmes.

The final output of this project is a detailed methodology for carrying out a full economic impact analysis of the SHINE on Saturday programme with a step-by-step approach to measuring both the economic benefits and costs. In addition, the results of an initial, small pilot study, using data from one school are presented. It is estimated that pupils who attended SHINE on Saturday would have gone on to achieve 1-2 additional GCSEs at grade A*-C on average. This could have resulted in a gross improvement in economic productivity of around £6.3 million across all pupils from that particular school who had attended SHINE on Saturday. However, it should be noted these are preliminary results only, and the full impact assessment based on data from more schools, along with full economic cost data, still needs to be implemented, in order to more robustly estimate the economic impact net of all relevant costs.

The PBE study proposes that SHINE on Saturday mainly affects pupil’s non-cognitive skills, such as motivation, perseverance, and self-control, and considers the resulting economic benefits. According to the work of economist Jim Heckman, interventions which improve children’s non-cognitive skills, unlike those that simply target cognitive skills, are far more likely to have a lasting impact on academic attainment. Further benefits of improved non-cognitive skills include better chances of finding employment, and receiving higher wages later in life. The report also recommends that further research into the connection between the SHINE on Saturday programme and non-cognitive skills is needed.

According to SHINE’s CEO, Clare Gilhooly, “The research undertaken by Claire has helped us to better understand the importance and influence of non-cognitive skills on a child’s longer term development, and how this could be acting as a driving force for the academic gains we have observed over many years of SHINE on Saturday. This is already having a significant influence on the way we measure impact and success. The report should be helpful for any education charity that wants to understand and measure their economic impact.”

We are hugely grateful to Claire and Pro Bono Economics for producing such a high quality and informative report. You can read the full scoping study here, or click here to find out more about SHINE on Saturday.