NCS Trust and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award partner with The Centre for Education and Youth and UK Youth to carry out new research on education and enrichment


22nd June 2023

NCS Trust and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) have commissioned The Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY) and UK Youth to carry out new research on education and enrichment. The research will explore what works to strengthen collaboration and coordination between the education and youth sectors to increase young people’s access to quality enrichment and non-formal learning opportunities.

Why are we researching this?

This research is part of a broader project led by NCS and the DofE, working across the education and youth sectors and government, to explore policy proposals aimed at increasing equitable access to enrichment for young people. 

Enrichment and non-formal learning activities – which may include social action and volunteering, outdoor learning, sports and arts clubs, or adventures away from home – provide opportunities for young people to develop essential skills, engage with education, build confidence, improve their mental health and wellbeing, and increase social interaction. 

With the pressures currently facing teachers and education staff, schools may not have the capacity to stay up to date with the enrichment and non-formal learning activities being offered by youth sector providers. At the same time, youth and enrichment/non-formal learning providers can struggle to reach young people who would benefit from their interventions, and don’t always have the resources and relationships with schools to help them achieve this.

NCS Trust and the DofE have therefore commissioned this research, which runs from May – December 2023, to understand how collaboration and coordination between schools and local youth organisations can be strengthened, increasing young people’s access to quality enrichment and non-formal learning opportunities, and maximising the expertise, infrastructure, and resources already in place. 

How will we research this topic?

CfEY and UK Youth will conduct a literature review, and carry out new research to produce ten case studies looking at how different approaches to collaboration and coordination work in practice, and what is needed to make them happen. They will then identify common themes of good practice to inform practical, actionable policy recommendations, and scope their potential for scale through national guidance or practical demonstration projects.

The research has been developed in consultation with the Department for Education, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a range of education and youth sector stakeholders, and young people. NCS Trust and the DofE will continue to convene cross-sector and cross-government stakeholders to share learning and discuss the policy implications of emerging findings throughout the duration of the project. 

This research is informed by and builds on existing and complementary work conducted by NCS and CfEY on enriching education recovery post-pandemic, the Times Education Commission 2022 Report and the recent report Better Together: Youth work with schools led by the National Youth Agency (NYA).  

How can you get involved in this research?

CfEY and UK Youth are currently seeking prospective case study examples of effective education and youth sector collaboration to deliver enrichment opportunities to young people. In particular, grassroots and community-based youth organisations. 

To explore collaboration with us on this research project, through providing a case study or sharing relevant evidence and reports to include, please contact Baz Ramaiah [email protected], project lead at The Centre for Education and Youth.