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AIB Schoolmate Programme Evaluation Phase III: Mature Operation Phase

Research Staff

Clíona Murphy, Tina Byrne, Fiona Daly, Gary Broderick

About the Project

The overall objective of AIB Schoolmate is to 'touch and significantly improve the lives of Irish children most at risk of missing school' as a result of drug/alcohol abuse, education and poverty, or homelessness, and the effect that any of these causes might have on children. Schoolmate is part of the AIB Better Ireland Programme, which came into being in August 2001, providing a focus for AIB's corporate donations activity. AIB Schoolmate Programme began to be rolled out in early 2002 and in general terms the overall aim of the programme was to support a range of measures aimed at helping prevent school failure and educational disadvantage. The programme was to operate across three charities; Barnardos, Focus Ireland and the ISPCC and was to operate over more than twenty sites nationally. Schoolmate funding helped to develop new actions in new or existing sites; in other cases, it helped to consolidate and strengthen existing activities. To date the Children's Research Centre has documented three evaluation phases of AIB Schoolmate Programme: Phase I, the Programme Development Phase, 2002; Phase II, the Implementation Phase, 2003 and Phase III, the Mature Operation Phase, 2004.

What did the research focus on?

Each report presents the findings from the annual evaluations of AIB Schoolmate. The Mature Operation Phase examines the development of each Schoolmate activity since the Implementation Phase. This phase reviews how the recommendations, which evolved out of 2003's evaluation, have been implemented and identify overall changes that have occurred over this period. These recommendations vary across the different sites according to specific implementation and interpretation of the Schoolmate brief. The overall objective of the evaluations is to ensure the continued effective delivery of the Schoolmate Programme to its target population.

What did the research involve?

Each evaluation is conducted using a mix of: Consultation meetings with senior personal in each charity; informal discussion with Project staff, for the collection of data on the current state of progress; site visits across all the project sites; case studies to elicit what it is about Schoolmate activities that makes a difference to the children and their families, and to identify what those differences are (one case study per site); Census: each site participates in a postal census, which is self-administered. The census is used to collect baseline quantitative data in relation to Schoolmate activities, Schoolmate participants and information about the operation of each project. Data collected within each organisation is considered confidential to the organisation. The findings of the evaluations are presented in a way that strives not to permit the identification of staff, families or children outside the limits of the project and all efforts are made to ensure that each site is also presented in a non-identifying way.

Timescale and final products

The evaluation runs for five months from April 2004 to September 2004. The final output from the project is an evaluation report which consists of executive summaries, documentation of the findings and conclusions and recommendations for each of the charities.


Last updated 15 March 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).