Wellcome, one of the world’s largest charitable funders of health research, partnered with BBC Children in Need to create Curiosity – a programme aiming to improve disadvantaged children’s and young people’s lives through informal science learning by voluntary and community sector organisations. They wanted to learn about:
They asked us to deliver a developmental evaluation during the first two years of the programme, to help them learn about what worked and what didn’t, and to help them shape the rest of the programme based on this early learning.
Our work had to be adaptive, responding to developments in the programme. But there were some core components:
We found that youth workers took a unique approach to informal science learning, and that science offered something new and different to the youth work field. Science learning complemented workers’ existing ‘toolkit’, encouraged children and young people to develop their problem-solving skills, and enriched other development activities such as sport and the arts by bringing another dimension to them.
As well as feeding back our findings in real-time, and supporting the programme board to apply the learning immediately to continue shaping the programme we also produced a learning report summarising the insights developed and our advice for the future of Curiosity. You can read our report here
How Wellcome and BBC Children in Need used our findings
During our work with them, the partners reshaped the rest of the funding programme based on our real-time findings. They also designed and commissioned an impact evaluation, to investigate the types of difference Curiosity made, guided by the early impacts identified by our developmental evaluation.