Research and Development

Research Title  ‘Opening the doors to Opportunity’

Removing the barriers to learning, from those children/young people who have backgrounds of deprivation and significant social disadvantage to enable them to succeed both now and in their future lives.

The research project has taken place in 2017 in cooperation with The Laurel Trust who promote learning through research and innovation.

The research has taken a case-study approach across the five schools of the Sabden Trust.  Data has been gathered from interviews with staff in the form of focus groups and 60 face to face interviews completing questionnaires. Data has been gathered from pupils, past pupils, parents and carers. This gave a broad data base gaining different perspectives and allowed triangulation of evidence.

Results were collated and key themes emerged that answered the three main research questions below:

  1. Can pupils who have repeatedly failed to thrive at school make significant and sustainable academic, social, behavioural and emotional improvement?
  2. What are the factors that make the difference to these pupils?
  3. What are the strategies that can be effectively transferred to mainstream schools and special schools in areas of poverty and challenge.

The research is significant for 2 reasons:

  1. There has not been a study that has looked at the longer term effects of education on the whole person such as social and emotional health, which has become a national concern over recent years, any intervention that can break down the barriers over time and allow young people to be positive, independent members of society rather than relying on many different agencies must be identified.
  2. Responding to current pupils and ex pupil’s views as well as teachers and parents/carers views with regard to what made a difference to them, is a new perspective and can help inform teachers and Head teachers about what aspects are most effective and therefore which to focus on and invest in. Hopefully this research will offer some practical support and resources to colleagues in special and mainstream schools.


Primary Pupil Q V5

Pupil Pupil Q V5

Parents Results Table 3

Parents results Table 3

Past Pupil Results Table 4

Past Pupils results Table 4

Graph 3 4 Parents and Past Pupils

Graph 3 4 Parents and Past Pupils V2