Call for proposals for a feasibility and initial process evaluation
1. Introduction and Background
Drinkaware is an independent alcohol education charity aiming to change the UK’s drinking habits for the better. They promote responsible drinking and find innovative ways to challenge the national drinking culture to help reduce alcohol misuse and minimise alcohol-related harm. Drinkaware’s youth strategy aims to delay the age when young people start drinking – as research shows the later young people start drinking the less likely they are to become hazardous drinkers. Drinkaware wants young people to have access the facts about alcohol so they can make informed choices themselves.
As part of its prevention work, Drinkaware have developed a life skills education programme – In:tuition. This is a course of 10 primary lessons and 11 secondary lessons aimed at building young people’s confidence, decision-making and communication skills. In:tuition will be a free web-based teachers’ resource (printed packs also available) and uses innovative digital tools to engage learners.
In order to ensure that In:tuition delivers on its overall aims and objectives and meeting the needs of teachers and pupils alike, Drinkaware has asked Alcohol Research UK to design and then oversee an independent feasibility and initial process evaluation. The evaluation seeks to develop an understanding of the programme and its possible effects. Specifically:
- What parts of the programme are most acceptable, appropriate, engaging, usable and fit-for-purpose and identify areas for improvement to inform subsequent revisions of In:tuition.
- The practical realities and potential barriers of rolling out In:tuition in the school curriculum and making sure it is fit for purpose
- To support an application for funding of a large-scale randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the impact of the programme on short and medium term outcomes for young people (e.g. knowledge, attitudes, behaviour change)
2. About In:tuition
In:tuition is an exciting new interactive life-skills education programme for young people aged 9 – 14 years. The programme aims to build young people’s confidence, personal and social skills and help them explore how they make decisions and what might influence them. Its theme is alcohol, but its focus is wider, addressing a range of relevant personal needs in an age sensitive way.
In:tuition relies on the life-skills approach which research has shown to be the most effective approach to drug education 1. It has been informed by evidence based life-skills programmes such as Unplugged a school-based drug prevention programme for students aged 12-14 years which was trialled and evaluated in seven EU countries showing excellent results in lowering substance abuse.
Information is most effective when young people can integrate it into their daily lives and discuss it with their peers so the programme also focuses on the need for shared exploration of attitudes, values and ideas. In:tuition is highly engaging and digitally based to make the learning experience relevant and motivating.
We know that messages to young people work best when reinforced at home, school and in the community so the programme also includes home learning tasks, aimed at encouraging discussion with parents/carers. Some parents/ carers may lack confidence in addressing alcohol issues with their children and look to school to prompt these conversations:
Lessons and learning activities include:
- exploring self awareness
- attitudes and behaviour
- advertising, branding and the media
- personal choices
- emotions, communication skills and assertive behaviour
- self-awareness and body language
- the influence of peers
- goal setting and confidence
As part of its development In:tuition has been reviewed by 20 teachers and 6 expert peer reviewers in order that the program reflects the needs of teachers and aligns closely to the national curriculum.
The relevant curriculum learning outcomes for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are mapped for each lesson.
2.1 Recruitment of pilot schools
Drinkaware aims to pilot and evaluate implementation of In:tuition during the 2011/12 academic year. They have appointed an independent third party to recruit a minimum of 40 schools (20 primary/ 20 secondary) needed to take part. The goal is to have a minimum of 30 schools completing the programme by end May 2012 (end of the summer half term).
The pilot schools will be an equal balance of primary/ secondary schools from England, Scotland and Wales (12 England, 3 Scotland, 3 Wales, 2 Northern Ireland) and will be a mix of primarily state schools in both urban and rural areas with different socio-economic backgrounds. The deadline for recruitment of all schools is December 16th 2011.
It will be crucial that the evaluation team liaises directly with the recruitment team upon commissioning of the feasibility and process evaluation. This will ensure development and scheduling of the process evaluation dovetails with the pilot schools.
3. Evaluation Objectives
This research will place emphasis on the feasibility and process evaluation, using qualitative methods to understand the acceptability of the materials by teachers and its implementation in the classroom.
The evaluation should focus on developing a solid understanding of the programme and its possible effects for young people. It should identify which parts of the programme are relevant, easy to use, targeted, engaging, easy to deliver and appropriate in length.
In addition it should seek to understand the perceived barriers to facilitation in the classroom and with that, explore the importance of training and support systems in the practical delivery of lessons.
Furthermore, upon development of a logic model by Drinkaware it should assess whether the short-term outcomes (knowledge/ awareness) are being met.
QR1: How and to what extent is In:tuition fully adopted and integrated into PSHE lesson plans?
QR2: To what extent do teachers feel In:tuition is relevant and the content age appropriate?
QR3. To what extent is the programme easy to use for teachers and students alike?
QR4: To what extent does the programme require additional support and training to help teachers deliver In:tuition? What are the preferred delivery channels for that support –e.g. face to face training, online?
QR5: How do teachers and pupils respond to the program? Is it interesting, fun to do? For teachers, is it a programme they can envisage using again?
Note -this will need to be sensitively evaluated among pupils so we are not, in effect, evaluating teacher’s capabilities.
QR6: What are the early indications that In:tition can work effectively at educating young people on alcohol and alcohol related harms in a relevant, engaging, way and thereby deliver against the short-term outcomes of the programme
QR7: What are the practicalities in rolling out In:tuition in the long-term? What are the potential barriers to success?
4. How to Apply
You should apply using please use this application form.
Proposals must comply with Alcohol Research UK’s policies on research funding, which are available to download here: (links to the following documents already on the website)
There is further information on obtaining ethical approval in section 6 below.
Proposals will be peer-reviewed by experts appointed by Alcohol Research UK. The decision as to which proposal will be accepted will be made by Alcohol Research UK’s trustees. Drinkaware is not involved in the selection process and should not be contacted directly.
Consideration will be given to the extent to which proposals align with the call’s remit, scientific quality or methodologies, innovative methods and ideas, expertise of the researcher(s), demonstrated track record of undertaking and delivering work of this nature, potential to contribute and advance the existing research base and value for money.
|14th November 2011||Deadline for submission of proposals|
|21st November 2011||Successful researcher(s) notified|
|5th December 2011||Evaluation design confirmed|
|Jan-May 2012 (Spring and Summer term)||Process evaluation – all school lessons to be completed by 1st June|
|End July||Evaluation report presented to Alcohol Research UK and Drinkaware. An Insight Guide (short summary of the main report) will also need to be provided.|
Timings are dependent on how quickly the recruitment team can secure the schools and get them on board with the programme. Timings above reflect the latest that schools would be taking part.
It is assumed that ethical approval will be required for this study. It is appreciated that ethical approval may take time to be obtained; however, it is also important that the start of the process evaluation is not delayed. Applicants should state in their applications how long they consider it will take to gain ethical approval and where this may be problematical Alcohol Research UK will wish to explore options with the successful researcher(s).
The budget available for this work is £40,000 including VAT.
For further information, please contact: