Wednesday, 25 March 2015


The findings from this review of 94 studies of programmes implemented across the school and out-of-school settings in the UK shows that well-designed and well-implemented social and emotional skills development programmes can lead to a range of positive educational, health and social and emotional wellbeing outcomes for children and adolescents. 

This review found that there is good quality evidence regarding school-based programmes, which show consistent evidence of their positive impact on students’ social and emotional competencies and educational outcomes. The findings support the effectiveness of universal social and emotional school-based programmes, targeted interventions for students at higher risk, violence and substance misuse prevention programmes, and the adoption of whole school approaches to bullying prevention. The scaling up of these programmes, including their integration into the school curriculum and their optimal implementation within the context of a whole school approach, warrants further investigation.

Regarding out-of-school interventions, some robust studies provided evidence of effectiveness in terms of improving young people’s social and emotional skills, however, the majority of studies provided limited evidence as a result of poor quality evaluations. The evidence base needs to be strengthened in order to determine the value of current out-of-school programmes and in particular, which approaches are most effective. Based on the findings from the more rigorous studies, there is evidence that out-of-school youth programmes have the potential to lead to positive outcomes for disadvantaged and socially excluded youth, including improving young people’s self esteem, social skills, engagement in school and society and reducing behaviour problems. There is good quality evidence regarding the effectiveness of family-based interventions that span the home and school settings.  

Social and emotional skills are a key asset and resource for the positive development of young people. The synthesis of findings from this review supports the case for a sustained policy focus on the delivery of high quality interventions for young people across the school and out-of-school settings.

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