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About the YPQI Pilot (2018-2021)

With thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund, the College was able to pilot the Youth Programme Quality Intervention (YPQI) in the UK between 2018 and 2021.

Extensive research has demonstrated that the YPQI is effective in improving outcomes for young people, promoting a sustainable and supportive culture of organisational reflection and improvement, and refocusing evaluation on the quality of relationships within different settings. 

The Youth Programme Quality Intervention (YPQI) focused on the relationship between adults and young people, and the intentional practices that can support young people to develop their socio-emotional skills. We now refer to this as ‘socio-emotional skills development’ or SESD. The YPQI centred around an observation tool called the Programme Quality Assessment, or the ‘PQA’. Youth practitioners used this tool to observe the quality of their SESD practice as a team, and then use data from these observations to identify and action specific improvement goals that correlate to items in the PQA.

As well as being a tool for measurement, the PQA also provides a framework for high quality practice. It sets out four key ‘domains’ which represent high quality environments that can enable young people to develop socio-emotional skills (Safe Spaces, Supportive Environments, Interactive Environments, and Engaging Environments.) The PQA and YPQI were developed by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Programme Quality in the US.

From late 2018 to 2021, the College supported a diverse range of organisations to pilot this ground-breaking quality improvement process, with the support of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund. The pilot group involved over 100 organisations from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Informed by the experience and ongoing feedback of pilot participants, we adapted the YPQI process, training and materials for the UK context. We also trained a group of experienced practitioners as external assessors and coaches to support organisations going through the process.

Our goal for the YPQI Pilot and beyond was to build the foundations for a broad, sustainable, and long-term adoption of quality practice measurement and improvement across the UK, specifically focused on socio-emotional skills development. To support this process, we commissioned detailed briefing papers on the policy practice context for each of the four UK nations. You can find these below. You can also click on the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ buttons below to learn how the process worked, and visit Just Quality to read about the research behind the approach.

Finally, you can also read about our key takeaways from the Pilot, and how these have informed our process moving forward via ‘What we learnt from the YPQI Pilot’ below. This article introduces the next stage of our work on Just Quality, which took a broader approach to quality improvement that is focused on equitable outcomes for young people.

Following the Pilot, we are now focusing our work on supporting practitioner to implement the latest iterations of our tailored SESD measures, drawing on our learning from the YPQI and a wide range of other projects. Find out more on the Measurement Hub.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do all the acronyms stand for and what does the process involve? Find out here! 

Read here

Policy and Practice Briefings (2019)

These briefing documents set out the policy and practice context for youth work in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and provide a summary of how the YPQI process fit within and could support that context in each case. 

Read here

What we learnt from the YPQI pilot

Thoughts and reflections on our next steps for supporting a consistent and equitable approach to quality, at scale. 

Read here