Supporting socially and
emotionally vulnerable young
people in schools: an evaluation
of Barnardo’s Bounceback service
Dr Jeremy Segrott
Heather Rothwell
Menna Thomas
Presentation outline
 Background
 Evaluation aims and methods
 Working with schools and young people
 The wider organisational context
 Acceptability
 How Bounceback works
 Present and future impact
 Discussion
Discussion questions
1. In what ways does a service like Bounceback affect
2. How should services like Bounceback operate in
3. What is needed for school-based services like
Bounceback to run smoothly?
4. What is the potential impact of Bounceback on
young people?
• Some young people encounter difficulties just when they
are trying to adjust to a more adult role
• Health and emotional issues
• Education and training
• Practical issues (e.g. housing)
• Rates of mental health problems increase during
adolescence (Kessler, et al, 2005; Kidger, et al, 2009)
• Provision and take up of support services is an important
Extending Entitlement - supporting young people in
Wales; Cymry Ifanc
Role uncertainty
Delayed economic dependence
Impact of recession, and reduced employment
opportunities for those without skills
Need for provision of tailored support and advice on
education, employment, housing, health
Strategies to support young people in relation to
further/higher education and work (e.g. Learning
Marlborough Rd
Provides services primarily, but not exclusively, to young
people age 16 and over including:
• Support service for young parents
• Housing support service
• Seren – supporting BME and asylum seeking young
• Secondary schools counselling service in the Vale of
• Caterpillar – support service for children and young
people with mental health problems
– Bounceback service
• School-based
• Provides support for vulnerable 15 and 16 year olds as they
negotiate the transition from school to independence
• - Targets those who are at high risk of struggling to achieve
key aspects of transition such as accessing training or
employment due to emotional difficulties, social isolation and
lack of family support.
• Support begins when the young people are at school, but can
continue after they leave
• The support is participative, offered on an individual basis and
led by individual need
• Focuses on needs and wishes of individuals
• One-to-one support in a safe place
• Informal support, not counselling, led by young people’s needs
Aims to:
• be solution focussed
• build resilience
• inform, facilitate and enable access to other services
and sources of support
• provide appropriate and acceptable support for
individual young people
• Located in three schools at time of our evaluation
Schools have a key role in
promoting health (Dickinson, et al. 2003;
Kidger,et al, 2009; Spence and Short, 2007; World
Health Organization 1986)
- One way they can promote emotional health is by
providing targeted support for pupils who have identified
needs (Kidger et al. 2009)
- Important that schools engage with pupils (Kay et al. 2006;
Kidger et al. 2009)
Key characteristics of effective support services:
(a) High-quality relationships (Surf and Lynch 1999)
(b) Adequate time (Fox and Butler 2007)
(c) Confidentiality (Kay et al. 2006; Kidger et al. 2009; Fox
and Butler 2007)
External agencies can make an important
contribution to school efforts to support pupils’
emotional health (Wyn et al. 2000) . . .
But face challenges related
to their location in schools
(Ringeisen et al. 2003; Patton, et al. 2000;
Paternite 2005; Weist et al. 2001; Baruch 2001;
Kay et al. 2006)
The evaluation
• Partnership between Barnardo’s and Cardiff
• Focused on acceptability and theory-building
• Aims
• Explore the views of young people who use
• Examine the potential of Bounceback to prevent later
emotional and mental health problems
• Examine how Bounceback fitted into schools, through
investigating the views of Bounceback staff, school
staff and pupils in Years 10 and 11
Recruitment and selection
• All Bounceback staff
• In each school, the senior teacher with
responsibility for establishing and maintaining cooperation with Bounceback
• Users and ex users of Bounceback contacted
through Bounceback staff
• In each school, Year 11 volunteers for focus
• Five interviews with Bounceback staff
• Interviews with four members of school staff
• Interviews with seven young people who had
used Bounceback
• In each school, one focus group with pupils from
the school population who were not using
Bounceback (total = 23), to explore their views
on their school’s role in providing support for
Findings: overview
Working with schools
Working with young people
How Bounceback works
Initial impacts on young people
Impact on schools
Working with schools
Bounceback staff developed a set of minimum
requirements regarding:
- Suitable accommodation
- Effective mechanisms for contacting pupils
- Timely completion and sharing of referral
- Clear referral criteria
- Understanding that there was no compulsion for
pupils to attend Bounceback
Working with
young people
Flexible timing of appointments
Drop-in option if appointments were missed
Contact numbers for young people
No set number of sessions
Support continued after Year 11/during school
holidays if needed
Wider organisational context
- Part of Caterpillar project
- One of a range of services provided by Barnardo’s
- Key influence on quality of Bounceback service:
- Common ethos
- Easy referral routes
- Reliable information and
Yes – young
people and
school staff
More sessions
for more pupils
of all ages
- Half-hour drop-in sessions were suggested
as a low-cost compromise, if more funding
and staff were not affordable
- Bounceback users who had experience of
other services said Bounceback was better
“ . . .when I was in care . . . they were the only
ones who made the effort throughout the
summer to keep in contact with me.” (ExBounceback user)
“the most important thing is . . . we want to
continue using it . . . it’s invaluable, it’s four or
five children you’re keeping out of all types of
trouble.” (senior teacher, School3)
How Bounceback works
“they’re not strict about you, they’re not a service that
forces you to talk. . .” (Bounceback user)
“... it was nice to know that they are not
always going to have the answers. . . You
kind of felt that even though they were
older than you, you were kind of in the
same boat, you were on the same level.”
(Ex-Bounceback user)
How Bounceback works
A safe place
“It’s like you go in and they know how to make you feel
warm and welcome.” (Ex-Bounceback user)
“I sort of know it will be private cos I know
[Bounceback staff member]’s the kind of
guy who won’t just go blabbing out ‘Oh
yeah I went to the school yeah and this
guy’s Nan died’ I know he’s not that sort of
person, I know my information is safe with
him. I just feel really trusted with him.”
(Bounceback user)
How Bounceback works
“[pupil] feels that actually somebody is coming in to
school that wants to listen to her ” (Teacher School 2))
Talking through
“they never ever look down on you,
or…criticise you unless…it’s constructive
criticism if anything” (Ex-Bounceback
Initial impacts
on young people
- “Toolbox” of skills and strategies
- List of contact numbers
- Open door to return to Bounceback
- Increased self esteem and confidence
- Feeling more competent to deal with difficult situations
- Better able to concentrate on school work
- Increased ability to cope with the school environment –
stayed longer in school
Initial impacts
on young people
“They’ve [Bounceback users] gone from, not
necessarily shrinking violets but people unable to
perhaps communicate very well with adults and
peers to people that can.” (senior teacher, School 2)
“Emotionally I’d have got more upset, more
unconfident in myself . . . I think I needed it in order to
give me a boost for the rest of the year, the rest of the
school.” (Bounceback user)
Safe place
e.g. Family
Development of
strategies - a
Resiliencebuilding activities
e.g. Confidence,
Impact on schools
- Improvement in young people’s behaviour at
school (senior teacher, School 1)
- “[Bounceback]’s relieving us of doing what . .
.we [teachers] would end up trying to do but
not doing it as successfully.” (senior teacher,
School 3)
Potential for
long-term impact
- Important to estimate whether impact is only
temporary, or is likely to last
- Identify links to theory
- Bounceback fits well with resiliency theory
- focus on individual, not on a particular problem
- suggests effects will be persistent
- Justifies further development and evaluation
Bounceback – the future
Bounceback-school relationship is a
major influence on effectiveness of
the service.
- Better communication could be made a
condition of service provision e.g.
commitment to a schedule of meetings
Continuity of care provided by
Bounceback distinguishes it from
many other services offering support for young
- Demands on Bounceback staff suggest desirability of
clinical supervision, particularly in crisis situations
Bounceback – the future
Young people and school staff
indicated a large amount of unmet
need in each school
- Daily half-hour drop-in service could be
considered as a low-cost option for
providing support to more young people
Could Bounceback support
young people who drop out of
school in Years 10 and 11?
Development of a theoretical model for Bounceback
is needed to guide further research
Discussion questions
• In what ways does a service like
Bounceback affect schools?
• How should services like Bounceback
operate in schools?
• What is needed for school-based services
like Bounceback to run smoothly?
• What is the potential impact of
Bounceback on young people?
Young people who were attending, or had attended
Shelly Godfrey, Nick Morgan, Catherine Rawlings, Joyce
Samuel and Sarah Smith of Barnardo’s
Pupils and staff at all study schools
Welsh Assembly Government Wales Office for Research
and Development in Health and Social Care (WORD)
Colleagues at CISHE
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Fox, C. L. and Butler, I. 2007. ‘If you don't want to tell anyone else you can tell her’:
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Barnardos Bounceback - All Wales Mental Health Promotion