Skip Navigation Links      >      Home      >      Influencing change      >      How we are influencing change

How we are influencing change

We are passionate, not only in supporting disadvantaged children, but also in ensuring that the impact of our work leads to lifelong transformational change for the pupils as they move towards adulthood, and for the communities in which they live.

In order to achieve this, we have pioneered new ways of working and regularly make sure that our methods are evaluated using a range of strategies.


Independent assessment by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has looked at the impact and effectiveness of our work over a number of years.

The NFER produced its fourth report on the work of The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation, prior to its merger with Royal National Children’s Foundation. The results continue to underpin and inform the work of Royal SpringBoard.

In the most recent report it concluded, "The findings from the evaluation of SpringBoard are extremely positive, with pupils and staff reporting a wide range of impacts as a result of pupils moving to boarding schools, and remarkably few negative consequences."

“Even though SpringBoard has expanded significantly during the evaluation period - working with more partners and schools and supporting an increasing number of pupils - effective working relationships have been developed and have continued to grow between partner organisations, original and member schools, pupils and their families/carers."

“The unique and comprehensive network of support that the SpringBoard model provides is central to its success and enables pupils to settle quickly in their new school as well as thrive in the longer-term.”

We are extremely pleased with the NFER’s findings and are continuing to work hard to ensure even better results for Royal SpringBoard in the future.

Read the full report


What we do is different from other organisations. Over a number of years, we have developed a unique way of supporting pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our strength lies in working together effectively with pupils, parents, our partners, and boarding schools.

Our partners include charities, mentoring organisations, state day schools and local authorities, who through their day-to-day activities come into contact with children who, due to their circumstances, would benefit from a boarding school education. These partners are able to work with us to achieve the best possible outcome for these children.

The partners support a child from the early application stages, through to guiding them once they have joined a school. Their help is invaluable in preparing the pupil for the challenges they will face with adjusting to their new environment. One school has described the partner model as making ‘a phenomenal difference’ to the way pupils successfully engage with boarding school life.

We also take on an increasing number of pupils who are directly referred to us by parents, guardians or others involved in their welfare. As they are often very vulnerable, they benefit from our very experienced staff team and a growing number of professional mentors. This ensures that these pupils have the holistic support that is essential to the success of their boarding school placement.

Our accredited schools continue to show enthusiasm for and commitment to our bursary scheme. This results in pupils speaking very warmly of their schools, staff, their new friends and the wide range of activities and opportunities open to them.

Ultimately, our success is measured by the high number of pupils who, once placed in a boarding school, are able to complete their education having achieved a high level of progress and attainment.

… our young people return to their communities refined, formed and inspired…

- Carol Murraine, Pastoral Manager, Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy

Watch Carol's Video

% of GCSE grades - at least A* - C, 2017




* Please note this is SpringBoard data

National Average 



* Free school lunch pupils



The data organisation, STEER, has developed a successful tracking system to evaluate and chart the progress of a pupil’s emotional well-being.

Between summer 2017, prior to starting school and the end of the autumn term, 70 pupils took part in STEER’s emotional wellbeing tracking system. The results were overwhelmingly positive, with the majority of pupils transitioning well and having benefitted from the supportive and stable boarding environment.

Of this first cohort, 13 pupils have had an incredibly positive transformation. Eight were identified at the end of the autumn term as needing additional support, but this was significantly less than the number identified prior to starting school. Tailored action plans were created for each of these, as a result of the findings.

We have measured the transformation through the results of the STEER emotional well-being tracking – those pupils who have shown a positive shift in self-regulation and created healthier parameters in their thinking and actions.

In addition, we have measured soft outcomes, such as pupil, parent and partner feedback and school reports, alongside quantifiable achievements – participation in extracurricular activities, academic progress, leadership roles, etc.

The results have been so positive, that we are working with STEER to assess all pupils starting in 2018.

Developing relationships with communities

Our aim is not just to educate disadvantaged children, but to raise the aspirations of whole communities. We measure our success by the impact we can make by increasing the social mobility of people living in deprived areas.

Royal SpringBoard pupils act as role models and mentors, spreading the message of what is possible to other members of their family and to friends. We have numerous reports of eyes being opened and aspirations being raised among their home communities, including parents, who didn’t complete their school career, returning to education.

We also encourage and support our partners to deliver training to our accredited schools on cultural and community matters, and emotional well-being issues. In turn, our schools are able to explain to our partners how the boarding school environment can help the disadvantaged children that they work with.   

Creating greater understanding of our work across disadvantaged communities is reaping positive results.

Working with national and local government

As a charity, we believe it is important to engage with politicians from all the main parties, both at national and local level, along with influential think tanks that focus on social mobility.

Our CEO, Ian Davenport, takes an active role in advising the Department for Education through the Government’s working party on boarding schools as an alternative provision for vulnerable children.

Increasingly, our work has come to the attention of local government authorities who are seeking effective support for children who are on the edge of the care system or are Looked After Children.

We are working with a number of these authorities, advising on how best to select the right boarding school environment for a vulnerable child and how to go about achieving the right match. It’s early days, but the results are positive.


A research project is underway to gather information from pupils, parents and schools to help inform the way we work. We seek to ensure that all our pupils are happy and wish to continue studying at their boarding school; therefore, we have asked all those involved to complete feedback questionnaires. The results are currently being evaluated.

In addition, key staff have visited a number of schools to meet with pupils and staff to discuss our work moving forward. We are using this feedback to improve our future effectiveness.