Research & Evaluation

The way we measure the impact of our work has evolved along with the programme itself. We try to pay attention to the big picture of our national reach, as well as keep a close pulse on the details: how are we transforming individual children to become caring and concerned young citizens?

‘[Go-Givers] provides us with rich opportunities. Child-led learning becomes the focus with pupils developing their thinking, campaigning, team-building and leadership skills. It raises aspirations and increases their levels of emotional intelligence.’

Rekha Bhakoo CBE, Headteacher, Newton Farm Nursery, Infant & Junior School (Top Performing Primary School in England 2011 and 2014) 

Overall Programme Outcomes 

Independent evaluators York Consulting collated and analysed the nine in-depth case studies conducted by our team, involving  teacher interviews and focus groups with a total of 92 children aged 5 to 11.  The following was observed:

  • Schools praised the ease of use, child appropriateness and adaptability of the resources (p.27, section 5.16).
  • Go-Givers characters provide the necessary detachment required for young children to deal with socially sensitive issues, whilst at the same time representing a fun mechanism to engage children with citizenship (p.24, section 5.8).
  • Children liked the Go-Givers characters (98%); the Kids' Zone (96%) and engaging with Go-Givers lessons (90%). 
  • 79% of children agreed they would like to get more involved in their local communities because of Go-Givers. 
  • High percentages of children agreed that Go-Givers lessons helped them to understand: the needs of others (73%); that we all have similarities and differences (77%) and to know what to do if someone was being bullied (76%). 
  • Go-Givers presents rich opportunities for literacy development. 
  • The largest single barrier to successful integration of Go-Givers into schools from a teacher's perspective is available time (p.23, section 5.3).      

Make a Difference Challenge Outcomes

Randomised Control Trial 2015

In Spring 2015 schools participating in the Make a Difference Challenge in Birmingham and Kent took part in a randomised control trial, run by the Behavioural Insights Team at the Cabinet Office, to assess the outcomes of the project.

The trial concluded that the Make a Difference Challenge was 'very effective in increasing empathy levels, problem-solving, grit, and community skills' as in each of these areas there were 'statistically significant differences' between the pupils who participated in the project and the control group. Participating pupils were 'more adept in problem-solving than the control students. Additionally, those who participated in social action showed a level of grit that was significantly above that of the young people who did not participate. Similarly, the level of community investment amongst young people was considerably higher amongst participants than control students'.

The trial also concluded that 'those who take part in the programme have a more positive outlook; stating that things in life are worthwhile more often than their peers and also reported lower levels of anxiety (a decrease of 22%).' Read the full report here.

2012-13 Evaluation by York Consulting

    Independent evaluators York Consulting designed an age-appropriate pre/post longitudinal survey to measure the impact of the project with data from 961 pupils aged 7 to 11 and found that: 

    • The Make a Difference Challenge has had a positive impact on the attitudes of young people related to community, empathy, speaking or representing their own views, giving time/money, awareness about the world around them and considering campaigning (p. iii, section 25).
    • The pre/post survey shows that just under two thirds (20 out of 32) of questions demonstrate a significant change between pre and post questionnaires (p. 41, section 5.71).

    The following attitudinal statements showed the greatest percentage change:

    I agree that…

    - Our community is being harmed because people don’t care enough about each other (14.7%)
    - If I have pocket money, I might give some of it to charity (7.8%) 

    How well do you think you would…

    - Explain your point of view about an issue people disagree on e.g. animal testing (10.7%)
    - Speak in front of your class about something in the news (8.4%)
    - Talk about a place in the world where there is conflict (6.1%)
    - Write a letter to a newspaper giving your opinion (5.9%)

    When you grow up how likely are you to take part in any of these activities to make something better?

    - Writing a letter to a newspaper (10.3%)
    - Writing to an MP or councillor (6.7%)

    • The strongest themes to emerge across the attitude questions related to community, giving time and money to charity, communicating points of view and campaigning (p.iv, section 26).
    • Broadly speaking, pupils showed the most percentage change in their intention to participate in activities that involve speaking out or standing up for an issue they care about when they are a bit older or when they grow up.
    • 84% of pupils said the MADC was ‘great’ (58%) or ‘good’ (26%).
    • Pupils most valued opportunities to present or perform, to debate and make decisions, and to take part in teamwork, as well as the opportunity to make a difference. 

    Causes chosen by children through Make A Difference Challenge


    'The government want children to be ‘in the cockpit of their learning’, but these kids were rocket astronauts as far as their learning was concerned because they were going to the moon and back with their Make a Difference Challenge. … This term, when they started their project the passion was so much more because they have experienced Go-Givers.'

    Caroline Bromley, Headteacher, Lambehurst  St Mary's C of E Primary