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Just Quality

How does the YPQI support quality, equity, and outcomes for young people, in line with the foundations of youth provision and youth work practice in the UK? How can it support with other priorities in your work with young people? 

At the heart of the Centre’s work is a fundamental belief in the relationship between young people’s experience of provision and positive change in their lives. We believe that understanding impact and quality should stand side by side, and that each should inform the other. This helps us to see evaluation as a dynamic, reflective practice in service of equity and social justice. A focus on quality within this is essential to support continuous quality improvement (CQI), outcomes, and equity for young people. 

To move forward, we believe four interconnected components are needed to sustainably embed a focus on quality and equity in youth work: 

Shared Definitions of Quality: The more we are collectively surfacing, sharing, and reinforcing a shared understanding of quality, the greater the potential for practitioners, senior leaders, and funders to prioritise and engage with the broader quality agenda, and specific continuous quality improvement processes; sharing information, building communities of interest, encouraging engagement, and strengthening the power of a focus on quality and equity. 

Capacity Building: Supporting young people to develop socio-emotional skills (SES) is at the heart of youth work practice, as recognised in the Youth Work Curriculum, the Youth Work Code of Ethics, and the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work. However, we do not have a common and consistent way to describe and measure (and therefore improve) specific practices which can support SES across the sector. Training and resources will support with building our collective understanding of quality practice, and its relationship to equity and outcomes. 

Shared Evaluation: The strength of the YIF Learning Project evaluation rested on a shared evaluation framework and data collection using common measures. Informing and shaping funding and policy decisions and the development of provision for young people calls for improving our understanding of collective quality and impact through building an open, sector–wide data set. More evidence will allow us to demonstrate the relationship between quality, outcomes, and equity with even greater confidence. 

Continuous Improvement: Finally, at the heart of a sector-wide commitment to quality must sit consistent and continuous quality improvement processes within organisations, implemented by practitioners, enabled by senior leaders at youth work organisations, and proactively supported by funders and commissioners. The YPQI offers a strong framework for this, that both complements and enhances existing quality ‘assurance’ models. 

The YPQI forms a key part of this approach, alongside other systems, tools, and initiatives for continuous quality improvement, meaningful outcomes measurement, and equity efforts. We've started to develop and collate resources to support with the priorities we’ve named above – read on to get started and get in touch (catherine.mitchell@youthimpact.uk) if you’ve got ideas, comments, or questions that you’d like to discuss. 

You can also visit our Measuring the Impact of Youth Provision page to learn more about other tools that can support you to build confidence in the quality of your provision. 

Why SES?

Why focus on socio-emotional skills in quality improvement work? 

An introduction to socio-emotional skills (SES)

This video introduces how and why we define socio-emotional skills as the centrally important outcomes of youth work and provision for young people. 

Watch here

SES updates paper

If you are looking to take a deeper dive into what social-emotional skills (SES) are, why they are so important, and learn about the adult practices that promote SES growth in high-quality youth provision, our socio-emotional skill updates paper will be helpful. The paper complements our Outcomes Framework 2.1, providing more information about the research and evidence base underpinning it.

Read here

Pursuing common good through SEL

This blog explores how a focus on social and emotional skills (SES) in our practice and evaluation could support us with a more consistent, intentional, and equitable approach to quality. 

Read here

SEL, quality, and the foundations of Youth Work Practice

A short video exploring how the Youth Programme Quality Intervention supports core elements of the Youth Work Curriculum, Code of Ethics, and National Occupational Standards – including a focus on skills development, high quality relationships, and equitable opportunities for young people.

Watch here

What’s the evidence for socio-emotional skills in the UK?

This slide deck summarises key studies that have explored socio-emotional skills development (SESD) and social and emotional learning (SEL) for young people in the UK. 

Read here

Building confidence

How high quality practice supports young people’s socio-emotional skills development 

Introducing the SEL Programme Quality Pyramid

The SEL Quality Pyramid summarises intentional staff practices that can support young people’s socio-emotional skills development. It sits at the heart of the Youth Programme Quality Intervention (YPQI), which was developed by the David P. Weikart Center for Program Quality. 

Read here

Championing quality improvement within evaluations

Steve Hillman, previous Head of Partnerships at the Centre, reflects on how the Centre's measurement tools are helping to champion quality improvement in evaluation on the Premier League Kicks Targeted programme and the Y’s Girls mentoring programme, which was developed by YMCA Scotland and has been implemented and shaped by YMCA England & Wales, YMCA Scotland and YMCA Ireland. 

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High quality practice for SEL: Safe Space

These four explainer videos introduce what high quality practice looks like, as defined by the SEL Programme Quality Assessment (PQA). There’s one video for each ‘domain’ that makes up the SEL Programme Quality Pyramid. 

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High quality practice for SEL: Supportive Environments

These four explainer videos introduce what high quality practice looks like, as defined by the SEL Programme Quality Assessment (PQA). There’s one video for each ‘domain’ that makes up the SEL Programme Quality Pyramid. 

Watch here

High quality practice for SEL: Interactive Environment

These four explainer videos introduce what high quality practice looks like, as defined by the SEL Programme Quality Assessment (PQA). There’s one video for each ‘domain’ that makes up the SEL Programme Quality Pyramid. 

Watch here

High quality practice for SEL: Engaging Environment

These four explainer videos introduce what high quality practice looks like, as defined by the SEL Programme Quality Assessment (PQA). There’s one video for each ‘domain’ that makes up the SEL Programme Quality Pyramid. 

Watch here

Embedding quality

How to centre meaningful quality improvement in your evaluation and learning efforts 

Core components of the YPQI – what does it involve?

What are the core features of the Youth Programme Quality Intervention – and how might these work at your organisation? Watch this video to understand more. 

Watch here

Where does data about ‘quality’ fit in?

This video explores how collecting and analysing data about the quality of your provision can make your evaluations more meaningful. 

Watch here

The quality and equity eco-system

How can equitable design, quality, evaluation, and organisational learning fit together to ensure that all people have equal access to the same opportunities, outcomes, freedom and privileges? 

#justonequestion – ‘quality’ series

Across December 2021 –January 2022, we ran a dedicated series of surveys exploring what 'quality' meant to practitioners in the UK Youth Sector. This slide deck summaries key insights and feedback from participants. 

Read here

Training and learning opportunities

Details on upcoming training opportunities to help you on your quality improvement journey

Embedding continuous quality improvement (CQI)

This session is a new addition to our Impact and Improvement Curriculum, a range of online and face-to-face training courses for anyone looking to embed programme quality and achieve meaningful impact in provision for young people. 

This session, focused on CQI, will help you to: 

  • Understand what CQI involves and how it can both inform and be informed by your evaluation activities 

  • Be familiar with different definitions and standards of ‘quality’ in the youth sector in England 

  • Feel confident planning or developing a process for CQI for your organisation/programme 

Get in touch if you’re interested in finding more about this training (catherine.mitchell@youthimpact.uk).

Using the SEL PQA for Level 3 Youth Work training

We are currently piloting a session to support Managers with a framework for the observation of Level 3 Youth Work students, using selected scales from the PQA to increase consistency amongst supervisors/observers. The first session ran in June 2022 and we are looking at offering additional sessions soon! 

Get in touch if you’re interested in finding more about this training (ypqi@youthimpact.uk)