Looking back and looking forward: thoughts on my time at Franklin Scholars

I can remember meeting with Jessica Barratt, the founder of Franklin Scholars, for the first time and getting very excited about the potential of powering up young people to help others. I had spent my career being impressed by the witticism, energy, and ‘know how’ of the young people I worked with; helping young people enact change in others seemed like something I wanted to help make happen.

Five years later, I have decided to move on from Franklin Scholars. I was brought in as Programme Director to mould and shape our peer-mentoring programmes so that they were efficient and impactful. I am incredibly proud of the beacon programme we have now, and its ability to enact meaningful impact on our participants. Now it’s time for more schools and young people to experience those programmes.

Looking back, there are a few truths that I’ve been reflecting on and the Franklin Scholars team encouraged me to share them here (you can thank them for this!).

 

Relationships are magic

Humans are complicated beings. Broad individuality makes any one person hard to define, which therefore makes 1:1 relationships so infinitely wild. The potential outcomes that are generated by two people who show compassion for each other are endless. As a quick thought experiment, try to define the impact of one of your parents. Try to make a comprehensive list of all the things you’ve gained from a good colleague. Largely impossible? That irrationality has made my job of evaluating Franklin Scholars very challenging, but it’s also provided the most rewarding experiences in the work that we do.

Moments that stand out to me include the Y10 who taught his Y7 mentee chess because he thought it would help the mentee focus; the pair that still have lunch together every week even after the formal programme has ended; the Franklin Scholar who used the experiences with their younger sister to bring out the best in their mentee. There’s a spirit in these relationships which is so powerful, I just think they’re magic.

Social and Emotional Skills are recognised as important but still frustratingly difficult to measure

This debate on how we talk about (and measure) the social and emotional aspects of interventions has been going on for decades. Character, non-cognitive, soft, working skills - everyone has a good enough gist of how those words are defined, although they all simply try to capture how humans react to other people and changing situations. 

Even with all of the momentum and enthusiasm to develop these skills in young people, progress on measuring outcomes linked to social and emotional development has been slow. There’s conflicting evidence on malleability, and our inability to reach consensus on definitions means we’re a long way off being able to measure any of them - let alone use evaluation to plan effective intervention.

Some of these skills, and how they balance, are implicitly linked to values. Values are political. Politics is rough going (where have you been?). So I don’t know how many of these challenges are going to get addressed soon, but it’s something I have spent years thinking about. One of the things I’m most proud of is that Franklin Scholars has not shied away from these difficulties and even with very few resources, we have always tried to improve how we measure our intervention’s impact in this realm.

Young people’s capacity is boundless

For anyone who has the privilege to work with young people, it is clear that they are generally not tired, or weary, or sceptical. They’re energetic, wonderfully naive, and optimistic. How do we take advantage? How do we use that energy to make sure that young people can take themselves and others further than we oldies have thought possible? How do we give them the mechanisms?

What’s been exciting recently are the examples of young people going to scale - the Parkland Teens in the US, or the climate change march last week. Young people are starting to shake the stereotype that they are not politically engaged. So how do we let them in?

My next step is with the Greater London Authority encouraging more young people to take part in social action and volunteering, so here’s to more of this in the future.

Thank you to everyone who has made my time at Franklin Scholars so enjoyable - the partners who have provide invaluable support, the individuals who have made incredible sounding boards, the enthusiastic staff members of our partner schools. Franklin Scholars is special, and you’re all special for being involved and for helping us make it what it is now. See you all soon!

Olly Offord joined Franklin Scholars in September 2014 as the organisation’s second staff member. As Programme Director, Olly helped scale up our programmes to work in schools across six regions in England and led the development of our numeracy curriculum. Prior to Franklin Scholars, Olly trained as a teacher through the Teach First programme, and taught Maths in Doncaster. He was awarded as one of Britain's Dream Teachers in 2011, before joining the Hackney Pirates as a Creative Educator.

Calling new partner schools!

As some of you might have noticed from your email inboxes, Franklin Scholars has launched an outreach campaign to increase our number of partner schools in the 19/20 academic year! Now that we have five solid years of programme development and implementation under our belt, and aligned with our new strategic vision, we are actively working to increase the number of schools that we serve every year.

How can our programme help you?

Our beacon peer mentoring programme is a year-long intervention where we recruit and train your most promising older students who then provide a year-long programme of mentoring and academic support to younger students experiencing challenges in school, be they academic or socio-emotional. More information about our programme (with literacy and numeracy focus areas), our impact, and what the students think can be found here, on our website. Our programme is effective at closing the attainment gap, and we track progress in each school through school-specific impact reports on participant progress and wellbeing.

Our programmes can be used on a number of different year groups, depending on your needs. For example, we have experience in running Year 10 - Year 7, Year 12 - Year 7, and Year 12 - Year 9 programmes. We have also done training days in Sixth Forms and provided programming for Primary Schools.

We use data to track how our programmes benefit students. As such, we are thrilled that for the 19/20 academic year, an independent assessment will likely be undertaken of our programme (which will confirm how our intervention helps students, and allow us to further improve our intervention as well).

What kind of partner schools are we looking for?

We work with schools across England (having worked in 50 schools across six different regions!) and our programme is designed to fit within a wide range of school contexts. We are looking for partner schools interested in improving academic as well as social and emotional outcomes for key pupils in the student body. Our intervention is highly structured with in-school training and assistance provided at specific points during the year. The schools that benefit the most from our programme, are those who work in partnership with us to ensure appropriate student referral into the programme. In addition, positive impacts from our programme increase in schools that continue working with us year-on-year.

It’s important that schools nominate a programme leader to be our main contact point throughout the year; this programme leader can expect to spend approximately one hour per week on the programme (supervising the students, who are trained to run the programme by themselves). We know, however, that school workloads are high. For this reason, we will be rolling out more support for programme leaders in the 19/20 school year, including weekly virtual ‘office hours’ where our programme staff will be ‘on call’ to help address any issues the school might have (in addition to our existing support mechanisms).

Are there opportunities for programme subsidies and discounts?

We know that school funding landscapes are tight, and we have therefore reduced the costs of our programme as much as we can. We also know that the number one reason why schools decline to work with us is because they cannot afford our programming. For the 19/20 school year, we are offering the following subsidies and discounts to schools who qualify:

1) Select schools in Category 5 and 6 areas may be eligible for a one-time £1,000 subsidy (a 20% discount on a 30-student programme) of our programme in the 19/20 school year. This is thanks to generous donor funding received specifically for this purpose.

2) Schools that sign up for two years of our intervention, will be eligible to receive a 10% discount on the cost of the programme over two years (whether they sign up for a 30-student or 60-student programme).

3) Schools that successfully refer us to another school will be eligible for a one-time discount and schools are able to reduce the per-pupil cost of our intervention by 25% by signing up for a double (60-student) programme instead of a single (30-student) programme.

What are the next steps?

We’re spending the next few months actively speaking with schools across England, working to develop new partnerships and answering questions about whether our programme is right for you. These conversations typically start with a phone call or an in-person meeting, with follow up meetings as needed. We often provide references to existing partner schools and are happy to set up school visits for potential partner schools to see our programme in action! As schools begin to articulate their 19/20 budgets, we continue to provide information as needed, with decisions on school partnerships made between April and June. Since our interventions are aligned with the academic year, our programmes will kick off in September 2019!

Interested in finding out more? Contact us for more information!

Three cool things that Franklin Scholars have done this year - and it's only February!

This year (like every year!), our Franklin Scholars continue to amaze us with the cool and exciting things they are doing in their schools and communities. Check out our top three for 2019…and it’s only February!

  1. Shahid, one of our Franklin Scholar from Manchester Academy, was named an #iwill ambassador for his work with Franklin Scholars and social action to get the voices of young people heard. There are only 250 #iwill ambassadors (50 in each new cohort), so this is a great achievement!

  2. Shaan from Langdon Academy gave a keynote speech at the annual Anne Frank Trust lunch! This lunch was attended by hundreds of guests and has already raised almost £450,000!

  3. Last but certainly not least, Penny from Chellaston Academy published an Op-Ed in the Huffington Post about ‘ditching the influencers on Instagram’, and how this helped Penny love her disabled self. Read more on the Huffington Post website, here!

Photos courtesy of #iwill , Langdon Academy, and Huffington Post.

Launch of our numeracy programme!

Did you know that 38% of students don’t progress in numeracy during their first year of secondary school? For this reason, and thanks to support from Nesta’s Maths Mission team, we are pleased to announce the development of a brand new numeracy curriculum for our year-long peer mentoring programmes. Built around the latest in evidence-based research, our programme focuses on the mastery of number using a cognitive load approach. With success in piloting the programme across three schools (preliminary impact results are promising…see p. 19 of this report!), we are gearing up to roll this out to more schools in 2019.

Similar to our existing literacy programmes, our numeracy programme involves the recruitment and training of older students (called Franklin Scholars) who then provide year-long programmes of support to boost, strengthen and stretch younger pupils vulnerable to dips in progress.

Our rigorous programmes challenge and equip the Franklin Scholars to lead weekly workshops for younger pupils. While the Franklin Scholars help their mentees boost academic skills and develop the resilience to tackle the challenges that lie ahead, they themselves develop a sense of purpose, self-worth and responsibility.

Interested in finding out more? Check out our programmes page, get more information on our impact, and contact us for a chat!

Looking back on 2018!

Unbelievably, it’s already the last day of 2018…and what a fantastic year it has been! Here at Franklin Scholars, we took our programme to new heights, laying the groundwork needed for a big 2019. Not only did we reach a range of new schools, but we expanded our academic programme to include a numeracy curriculum, and we began the transition to new leadership and new partners. Curious about what we were able to achieve? Check out our top five achievements, below!

1. Working with over 30 schools in six regions of England!

The 2018 calendar year really saw us increase our reach, as we worked with almost 1,500 students in 31 schools delivering our signature, year-long peer mentoring programmes! Want to know what schools we work with? Check out our partnerships page!

2. Developing our numeracy programme with Nesta support!

Throughout 2017 and 2018, and thanks to support from Nesta’s Maths Mission team, we developed a brand new numeracy curriculum for our year-long peer mentoring programme. With success in piloting the programme across three schools (preliminary impact results are quite promising…see p. 19 of this report!), we are gearing up to roll this out to more schools in 2019. Interested in learning more? Contact us!

Our fantastic new numeracy resources!

Our fantastic new numeracy resources!

3. Two successful Festival of Ideas!

Some of our favourite events of the year are our Festivals of Ideas! These events bring together schools for one-day workshops on collaboration and problem-solving. This year’s two festivals (at St Clement Danes School in Hertfordshire and Chellaston Academy in Derby) were attended by students from 13 schools! These one-day workshops are a fantastic way for students to boost and practice important skills; 76% of students left our events feeling more confident talking to new people!

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4. Improving our impact assessments through our Teach First Innovation Partnership!

Here at Franklin Scholars, we are always doing our best to monitor and evaluate our programmes at the school level, and to assess the impact of our interventions. Over our five-year history, we have worked to improve our impact assessments to become more and more robust (want to read past impact reports? Click here!). As a small organisation, though, we are always looking to improve how we measure our impact while keeping efficiency and resource-limitations in mind. Lucky for us, as one of only eleven Teach First Innovation Partners, we have been given the opportunity to improve our M&E systems as well as how we visualise our data. This will help us improve internal decision-making, quickly spot which school programmes need more assistance, and better forecast our resource needs. Amazing!

5. Hitting our five-year anniversary and looking forward!

It’s almost impossible to believe that Franklin Scholars has hit our five-year mark! Looking back, it’s great to see how much the organisation has grown…not just in the number of people we reach, but also in the types of programming we deliver. Looking forward, 2019 is set to be an exciting year for us. With a new CEO and renewed focus on scaling-up, we anticipate a year of expanded school services and diversifying our partnerships as well. Interested in working with us? Contact us!

Happy holidays and a fond farewell!

Dear Friends,

This Christmas we have some extra special greetings to make - one fond farewell and one warm welcome.

Five years after founding Franklin Scholars, I could not be prouder of what the team has achieved. Through 49 school partnerships we have supported over 3,000 young people across 6 regions of England.

Students have seen their academic progress accelerate, and their resilience and leadership skills develop. But what I continue to find most inspiring is how, year after year, so many young people are continuing to put themselves forward to help others in their school communities.

Jess at one of this year’s Festival of Ideas!

Jess at one of this year’s Festival of Ideas!

I set up Franklin Scholars because I knew that children come up against all sorts of challenges as they pass through school - not just academic but, often more significantly, social, emotional and mental health related challenges. But I also knew that in every school there is this huge, wonderful pool of other young people who are really well placed to help.

We do it because everybody needs a champion. Because human connection and relationships can move mountains. Because no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.

Giving young people the opportunity to mentor others isn't rocket science. But it works. Before they even take their GCSEs, these Franklin Scholars are developing a sense of purpose, self-worth and responsibility, recognising that they have a part to play in society. And this is the stuff that sticks.

As Benjamin Franklin put it, "When you're good to others, you are best to yourself."

And so it is with very mixed emotions that I'm stepping aside from Franklin Scholars in the new year. But primarily, looking back: pride; and looking forward: hope.

We have recruited a fabulous new CEO in Kim Reuter, who joins us after a decade working in international development, research programme management and public policy. Kim will be developing the strategy to take Franklin Scholars to new levels of scale and sustainability, growing our impact to reach thousands more young people in the years to come.

I'm so excited to watch the organisation grow and flourish and would like to take this opportunity to publicly welcome Kim, while also thanking the rest of the team - Olly, Georgia and Laina - for all the hard work and all the laughs along the way.

With warmest wishes to all of our friends, colleagues and supporters for a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019,

Jess, Founder of Franklin Scholars

Franklin Scholars successfully pilots our new numeracy programme!

Great news! Over the last year, Franklin Scholars conducted a pilot to integrate numeracy into our beacon peer-mentoring programme. Funded by Nesta and Tata under their Math’s Mission Project, and with the help of three partner schools, we have been able to develop a unique, year-long numeracy curriculum that seamlessly integrates into our existing peer mentoring model.

The development of a new curriculum has been no easy feat. From ensuring that best practice is followed, to researching the maths curriculum, we have worked hard to ensure that the programme not only makes maths fun, but does so in a way that aligns with a number of broad educational objectives. This iterative process has been assisted through consultation with a range of maths consultants and teachers, ensuring that our resources to take advantage of cognitive load theory, and the mastery of number.

The programme has made them better at numeracy. What we’ve been doing is working on one section at a time, the A cards, the B cards and then the final card. With the A’s he needs a lot of assistance, B’s he’s getting there. And then with the final one he can do it without assistance.
— Year 10 Franklin Scholar Mentor

We approached our pilot with great optimism, remembering the many lessons learned from our previous work with schools. Initial results from the pilot programmes are promising and showing positive impacts on student progression (preliminary impact results to be published in our next impact report!). In addition, these pilot programmes have helped us understand how schools may need additional and different support in the implementation of our numeracy curriculum, as opposed to the literacy programme.

One great surprise has been the ease with which students were able to put energy behind the numeracy elements of the programme. From the outset, we knew that mindsets and attitudes towards the subject were a potential challenge. This was supported by our experiences of mentor training, where many stigmas and misconceptions were brought into the programme by students. But in actual fact, mentors seem to have been able to build a really productive learning environment, which is really promising!

The students are really applying themselves in ways they don’t necessarily seem to normally.
— Maths teacher

Looking forward, we are excited to have received additional funding from Nesta to continue the roll-out of our numeracy programme, which will begin in early 2019. Interested in working with us? Check out our programmes page and contact us to have a chat!

Five years at Franklin Scholars: Looking back on the early years!

Now that Franklin Scholars has got more than half a decade under its belt, we’ve accumulated quite a few moments that still keep us smiling, years later. From individual moments with students who have learned how to mentor a peer, to a successful Festival of Ideas, the ‘moments that keep us going’ span almost every one of our partner schools. As we move into another year - sure to be full of fantastic new memories - we look back at some of our favourites:

1. When the US Ambassador visited our Franklin Scholars schools!

Back in spring 2014, Franklin Scholars organised two visits for the US Ambassador to visit the Brentford School for Girls and Thomas Tallis School. In these visits, the Ambassador fielded thought-provoking questions from students, with one Brentford Student saying, “it was good to hear the ambassador speak and the fact that viewpoints were shared and echoed was enjoyable and informative.” At the Brentford School, two Franklin Scholars were even awarded special US Embassy coins to recognise their work with the Franklin Scholars programme (the coin being traditionally awarded by Ambassadors to their guests). So cool!


2. Piloting the Junior Franklin Scholars Programme!

Here at Franklin Scholars, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to bring our peer mentoring model to new groups of students. In 2015-16, we piloted the Junior Franklin Scholars program where Year 8 students were selected to support Primary students in Year 3 and 4. Meeting every Wednesday lunch time, the programme helped students in Year 3 and 4 to develop their confidence and social awareness, as well as support their literacy skills. Following the completion of the program, 75% of Junior Franklin Scholars reported enjoying team work more while 67% were more confident in developing their own ideas.

Looking forward to 2019, we are re-visiting the idea of working with primary schools. Why? Because we believe that a strong foundation for emotional and social skills development can never start too early! Interested? Contact us!


3. Franklin Scholars recognised as #iwill ambassadors!

In 2014 and 2015, two Franklin Scholars were recognised as #iwill ambassadors, which now number 250 young ambassadors working to promote youth social action. Speaking about her time with Franklin Scholars, and after being given the opportunity to meet HRH Prince Charles, one of our former Scholars said, “When I heard Franklin Scholars were looking for mentors for Year 7 at my school, I thought about how at that age I’d have appreciated the support of an older student, so I volunteered to help. It’s honestly been an amazing experience.” One of our #iwill ambassadors was even in the news!


4. Partner school wins a Pupil Premium Award for work with Franklin Scholars

In 2015, we were thrilled to find out that the Brentford School for Girls won a Pupil Premium Award for their work with us and with the Brilliant Club! Whenever we work with a school, we always look to create a meaningful partnership with the school, working to help them meet their targets for student progress. So of course we are always thrilled when our schools are recognised for going above-and-beyond!

5. A visit by Princess Beatrice to one of our first partner schools!

In 2014, Princess Beatrice visited one of our first partner schools, to learn more about our programme! As reported in the news, Sam and Holly Branson as well as Noah Devereux accompanied Princess Beatrice during the school visit as part of their work for Big Change.

At the time, Sam and Noah said: “We were completely bowled over by the energy and enthusiasm of the Franklin Scholars. Each question we were faced during the Q&A was considered and relevant and every one of the students demonstrated a real understanding of Life Skills and why they are so important as they questioned us on teamwork, resilience and perseverance.”

Franklin Scholars celebrates our five year anniversary!

Franklin Scholars started as the brainchild of Jessica Barratt in mid-2013, when she returned from working in Mozambique on childhood education programming. Upon her return to the United Kingdom, and determined to apply those ‘lessons learned’ to the British context, Jessica set to work researching the ins-and-outs of peer-to-peer mentoring. Sensing that she had stumbled upon an innovative idea, Jessica pitched the newly-named ‘Franklin Scholars’ program during a Teach First Innovation Weekend and found herself face-to-face with the inaugural Franklin Scholars cohorts at the Langdon Academy and St. Mark’s Church of England Academy just a few months later.

Five years later, Franklin Scholars has grown from just two schools to serving over 20 schools per year through its signature program: partnering Year 10 students (called Franklin Scholars) with Year 7 students and guiding them through a year of interactive mentoring and coaching. Growing from a staff of just one person, to a team of four, we have now worked with almost 3,000 people from 49 schools across six regions in England.

A hallmark of the Franklin Scholars approach is continuous learning, informed by a growing set of monitoring approaches and impact assessments. In 2017, we found that - within the Franklin Scholars program - 64% of Pupil Premium-eligible Year 7s made expected levels of progress (compared to 60% in the wider school population), 96% of Year 10s said that the program has made them more resilient, and 90% of parents think that Franklin Scholars has had a positive impact on their child.

Looking forward, Franklin Scholars is excited to be launching a numeracy programme (to complement our established literacy programme) as well as continued expansion into new schools! Want to work with us or find our more? Let us know!

A recent Festival of Ideas!

A recent Festival of Ideas!

Being a Franklin Scholar at Walthamstow Academy

Doing the "Human Knot" challenge during our training.

Doing the "Human Knot" challenge during our training.

The Franklin Scholars are some of Walthamstow Academy's most promising Year 10 students, who have been recruited and trained to provide a year-long programme of mentoring and literacy support to Year 7s who have struggled in the transition from primary to secondary school.

Prior to starting the programme we received two full days of training. The first day consisted of us learning how to properly engage with the Year 7s and the relevant topics/activities that we would need to carry out with them. On the second day of training we met with the group of Year 7s who would be taking part in this year's programme and we were given some time to interact with each and every one of the Year 7s. This was beneficial to both parties as we got a basic understanding of each other and this also helped them to feel more comfortable around us as we were then assigned to our individual mentees.

From that point on the Franklin Scholars sessions have been taking place every Tuesday and Wednesday during form time. Each and every Year 10 mentor has built a strong bond with their Year 7 mentee.

We think that the Franklin Scholars programme is an amazing opportunity seeing as being Year 10s we know how overwhelming it can be to be in Year 7 due to the drastic change of environment. Through this programme we get to support the Year 7s at the start of their secondary school journey. I am one of the many proud members of the Franklin Scholars team in Year 10 and we believe that when one teaches, two learn.

The 2017-18 cohort of Franklin Scholars at Walthamstow Academy

The 2017-18 cohort of Franklin Scholars at Walthamstow Academy

Festival of Ideas 2018 - St Clement Danes School

Just before Easter, students from 5 schools in the Hertfordshire area came together at St Clement Danes School for a day of community-focused collaboration and problem-solving. Students tackled challenges ranging from encouraging more girls into STEM subjects and careers, to elderly isolation. After a public speaking workshop, participants then pitched their ideas to a Dragon's Den-style panel, who awarded development cash prizes to those that had the most potential.

The overall winners were students from Rickmansworth School with their elegant plan for "Memory Mornings" - coffee mornings hosted at the school for the local elderly population to share memories and interact with the younger generation and each other.

Here are some pictures from the day... 


What the attendees thought...

  • The day was "amazing" and "a rollercoaster";
  • Students left feeling "proud", "buzzing", and "more confident";
  • 100% of teachers enjoyed the event and agreed or strongly agreed that students had developed practical skills;
  • Students reported a 79%increase in their self-efficacy and a 68% increase in their confidence communicating with new people.

How to support Y7s once they've stopped getting lost

Phew! You're half a term in. By now you're starting to get a picture for how the rest of the year will pan out, just about, and started to establish the priorities now the initial mayhem has died down.

You're also somewhat able to name the Y7s - definitely the one who's the spitting image of his brother (behaviour included), definitely the one who found day one too overwhelming to leave reception, and definitely the one clipping at your heels with persistent questions. The other hundred-odd are a work in progress, but getting there.

Unfortunately, the names you're most able to recall are the students who you're worrying about; the one's who you're concerned won't make the progress they need to in the long-term.

They can now find their way round, and they've figured out their timetable, but they don't seem settled, they're not knuckling down, and they're struggling with the academic nature of secondary.

So, what to do?

The Power of Peer Mentoring

1. Start to talk to parents

It's the start of their secondary career, so you have a really good, genuine excuse for getting in touch with parents and engaging them positively - you want to keep them up to date with how their child is getting on, and what they can do to build a really strong platform right in Y7.

Build it up slowly - don't dive in with a 'meeting', but start with a text, a phone call, an informal catch up at the gate. And keep it positive. Suggest little things they can do to support in some of the areas you're worried about (e.g. 'you can ask about their english lesson and what they're reading when they get home').

2. ‎Coach the individuals

Like (1), this about starting small. Grab <5mins with one of the students you're worried about and have a quick, supportive chat with them. Think of it like a sports coach or football manager pulling their player to the side-line for a second.

What has been your favourite part of this week? What have you found hardest? What could you do differently next week to make it less hard / less likely to happen again? What could I do to help you with that?

Repeat this regularly enough, and hopefully you'll notice them making changes around school. They'll also know that they've got a supportive adult in their corner - so win, win.

3. Enlist the experts

The experts being older students from within your own school. They have a specific and recent knowledge of what it's like to start at your school - what it's like to wear the uniform, how to adjust to the homework, how to interpret the first English text. That knowledge isn't available anywhere else! So the key will be to power it up in the most effective and genuine way you can.

Have you got specific subject prefects, or stand out students who you can ask to help? Are there some older students who you think could use a leadership role to develop themselves?

At Franklin Scholars we have our leading peer-coaching programme, as well as a range of ways we can support you with this one, so get in touch if you'd like to make the most of peer-tutoring and mentoring in your school.

4. ‎Cross-phase CPD

This one's more of a long term one, I'm sorry. But it's a goodie! Often Y7s can seem to arrive out of nowhere - and if they're not where you expected it's often tricky for teachers to know how to take a few steps back. What did they do in primary? How have they been taught previously?

Can you or your teachers get in touch with a local Y6 teacher? Can they visit? Can that teacher offer them specific advice and support about how that subject is being taught in their school?

Equipped with the expertise of an active primary teacher - you could be better placed to scrub up the basics of the Y7s you're most worried about.

Our 2016 impact report is now online!

What a great year it’s been! In the 2015-2016 school year, we supported 210 Year 10 students (our ‘Franklin Scholars) with 21 hours of specialist training across 14 partners schools. These Franklin Scholars then provided 25 hours of 1:1 support during in-school sessions to a further 210 Year 7 students.

What’s more, we piloted a range of new interventions, including a Franklin Juniors programme, a ‘Stay on Track’ initiative within a Pupil Referral Unit, as well as individual training days for schools looking to run their own mentoring programmes.

As always, we have been working hard to track the impact of our interventions in schools and this year’s impact report is more promising than ever. As detailed in our impact assessment, more Pupil-Premium eligible students make expected, and above expected progress, on the Franklin Scholars programme. In addition, we find that Franklin Scholars is a successful intervention for reducing the gap in progress between disadvantaged students and their peers. Want to know more? Dig into our impact report here!

A day in the life: Why I love working with Franklin Scholars.

My day starts with a quick rattle through my inbox before sitting down with Jess (Franklin Scholars CEO) to catch each other up – on a new partnership she’s developing with a group in west London, on the visits to schools I’ve been doing the last few weeks, on the logistics of our upcoming Awards Ceremony, on how we continue to think about measuring skills from our ABCD Shield. It starts as quick bullets, before becoming a more in-depth discussion on how we need to approach some of the weightier challenges. Meaty.

I remember where this whole thing started - sat in a small coffee shop in East London. Officially, Jess and I were both scouting each other out; gauging if I would be a good fit for the job that was being advertised. What it became was an enveloping discussion involving our conviction that students had a unique power to support others in their school, that the development of social emotional skills is all-important, and that by creating a network of skilled and engaged Franklin Scholars we could produce … well, endless beneficial outcomes. I told Jess at the end of that meeting that I would most definitely be applying.

That’s what I love about my job; that I get to work with someone that I share a vision with and get to work, on a daily basis, to make it happen.

In the afternoon, I’m off to one of our partner schools to run a booster training session with our Y10 Franklin Scholars. Today we’re breaking down and planning out long-term goals to make them a little less daunting. It’s introducing tools that the older students can use with their younger mentees, but it inevitably is also training for how they could use them themselves. As a worked example, one of the Franklin Scholars starts to tackle world peace! 

I put myself in a café and open up my laptop. I spend the rest of the afternoon handling emails to and from our teachers and senior leaders, creating the slide deck for the workshop I’m doing later in the week, phoning potential venues for the awards ceremony, evaluating an event we hosted in Bolton the previous week.

Sometimes my day will end with an event, where you get to share a free drink with people doing related things – there are a lot of passionate people out there. But today I’m winding down with a home cooked dinner and catch-up TV before starting a different day tomorrow.

We're hiring! Seeking Programme and Partnerships Officer – deadline 18th May. Details at www.franklinscholars.org

Our 2014-15 impact report is online!

Now that we’ve got two full academic years under our belt, we are thrilled to release our first impact report. Since our inception in 2013, we've worked with over 700 young people from 16 schools across 3 regions through our year-long programmes.

We have been working hard to track the impact of our interventions in schools and we are thrilled to share the first insights into the impacts that our interventions are having! Want to know more? Dig into our impact report here!