We are a learning organisation. We evaluate everything we do and use what we learn to improve our programmes. We evaluate our processes and our impact on our stakeholders.
Ten years of research and development of our school programme in one local authority area (1999-2009) were followed by a national pilot between 2010-2016.
A number of independent evaluations were carried out over ten years of development . These showed the model to be a robust way of creating intergenerational partnerships between local older people and local schools. The model was also shown to have beneficial outcomes for all the partners. Read the research reports here…
We continue to be a learning organisation, so we can improve our services and performance. We seek to get regular feedback from all our stakeholders.
THE NATIONAL PILOT OF THE SCHOOL PROGRAMME 2010-2016
We interviewed all the head teachers about process and impact and value for money for their schools. Here are some of the things they said to us:
What they said about the process
It is so much more successful than we ever imagined, the model felt remote but it fits like a glove, recruitment was taken out of our hands because we interview everyone who comes into school –now we know your product and what you do and we trust the way you do it. It’s been fully supportive, obviously we were dubious when it started but this is one of the initiatives that have followed up and a lot of support from the Intergen Coordinator.
What they said about the volunteers
The teachers are thrilled to bits, can’t manage without the volunteers because the have made such inroads and rapport with staff and children. Children know who they are. They are so willing to do anything to help in the classroom and they come with their ideas too, e.g. the one in reception she comes in and she is willing to work with any child.
Our year 5 volunteer –she talked about her grandparents –what she remembered. You can’t do that with a video-you can watch a film but she is quite different –she volunteered to do that. She comes to school early and she talks to them as the come in and they chat to her – she is part of the school.
They do more because of their own experience of life, they have emotional stability, calm, they are unassuming, and they deal with things on a calm, quiet basis. They deal with upset children; they sit with children and parents. They offer things like solace, a member of staff can’t provide. They can say it won’t last long. Because they have been parents. Across the board there are things that they do that no other person can do.
It’s great to see what a valuable part they can play in helping our children become good citizens of the future. I would like them to see how we work and get in board with our whole ethos.
NATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY
We ask our volunteers to tell us what they think of us, how we can improve and what difference we have made in their lives. Their responses can be seen in the Report here:
I have met so many interesting people.
Can you help Intergen? Offer your time, it is nice to be needed and I hope I will be asked to go back again.
I have had an amazing time because I go to school two afternoons a week and the children flock around me and I have got to know them.
Where else can you get out of the house, not spend money and have a good time?
What a wonderful and rewarding experience I had when I was invited to go Into School to tell a class of year 4 pupils about what life was like as a school child during World War П. The children are working on a World War II history project and had lots of questions. I found them very eager and well mannered. It must be hard for them to visualise what life was like in those days, no TV, telephone, cars, etc. How hard life was for our parents, but love and respect in the home and among our neighbours created many happy memories.
This is what Intergen is all about. The connection between older people and the children of today. We have so much we can tell them. They don’t all have Grandparents, all our memories are not necessarily found on computers, I pads or in books.
THE ANNUAL REVIEW BY HEAD TEACHERS OF THE PROGRAMME
Every school year we provide an end of year report for all head teachers so they can see how many volunteers come to their school for how many hours, how often and in what year groups and curriculum areas they make a contribution to the life of the school. We ask them to tell how we can improve and crucially if they will continue with the programme.
Key questions for head teachers:
- Are we value for money?
- Are we helping enrich the learning opportunities for pupils?
- Can we tell Intergen what needs to be improved in the service it provides?
I expected them to be probably a little less flexible than they are. I thought they would have a role and stick to it and that would be that. I am surprised at the amount of time they dedicate, asking if they can stay all day and having lunch with the children and going in to the yard at playtime to chat with them; they are really really reliable.
She shared her personal experiences during our class discussions and the children have really benefited from hearing stories about her childhood.
They do more because of their own experience of life, they have emotional stability, calm, they are unassuming, and they deal with things on a calm, quiet basis. They deal with upset children; they sit with children and parents. They offer things like solace, a member of staff can’t provide. They can say it won’t last long. Because they have been parents. Across the board there are things that no other person can do.
“I would like to express my thanks and praise for the hard work and care that Evelyn, my Intergen volunteer, has invested in my class over the last few weeks. Evelyn has a wonderfully calm and caring approach with the children. She has listened to individual children read and supported children with their writing, topic work and numeracy. Evelyn has shared her personal experiences during our class discussions and the children have really benefited from hearing stories about her childhood. Evelyn constantly seeks opportunities to keep busy; she does whatever she can to reduce my personal workload by contributing towards lesson preparation and other general classroom duties such as cutting, filing and sticking children’s work in their books.
I look forward to Evelyn’s weekly visits and the children really enjoy her company too. I therefore wanted to express my gratitude and compliments to Evelyn and the Intergen partnership.
THE IMPACT OF THE PROGRAMME ON PUPILS
We are aware the programme is one of many factors in the lives of the children, which will impact on the children’s performance and aspirations. We are actively working with colleagues in school to find ways to identify better the impact of the Intergen programme.
We did pilot a children’s voice exploration of the children’s views in a primary school to learn what the children thought about the programme and the volunteers who came into their classroom and spent time with them.
The quotes below contain some of their observations.
He is very interesting he tells us about stars and what we should look out for Jupiter and all the old money and what they were called –like one of them was called a bob –it was a nickname.
She tells you what the words mean, it’s really helpful, and it’s fun with her when you are doing guided reading.
They help the teachers…when the teachers aren’t here they can help us in music and they know about lots of things.
When you fallout with a friend she kind of sorts it all out for you and make you friends again.