What is HeadStart?

HeadStart is a long term programme (7+ years from 2016) funded by the Big Lottery trialing a broad range of initiatives for improving resilience and emotional well-being in 10-16 year olds in order to:

  1. improve emotional well-being
  2. improve engagement in school and academic attainment,
  3. reduce the onset of diagnosable mental health disorders
  4. reduce engagement in ‘risky’ behaviour.

Six local authority-led partnerships (Cornwall, Blackpool, Hull, Kent, Newham, and Wolverhampton) across England are involved in the HeadStart programme and are implementing a suite of interventions aiming to improve young people’s emotional wellbeing and resilience over time.

What is the HeadStart evaluation about?

The Big Lottery Fund contracted an Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families -led consortium (a collaboration between the Evidence Based Practice Unit – UCL and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, the Child Outcomes Research Consortium, the University of Manchester, Common Room and the London School of Economics) to deliver the national evaluation of the HeadStart programme. The evaluation aims to identify whether the HeadStart programme is making an impact on young people’s mental wellbeing.

We will ask young people to complete surveys about their mental wellbeing once a year until 2022, starting in February 2017.

For secondary schools:

  • In February 2017, the survey will be open to all Year 7 and Year 9 students.
  • In 2018, the survey will be open to all Year 8 and Year 9 students.
  • In 2019, the survey will be open to all Year 9 students.
  • In 2020, the survey will be open to all Year 9 and Year 10 students.
  • In 2021, the survey will be open to all Year 9 and Year 11 students.

For primary schools, the survey will be open to all Year 5 and Year 6 students every year between February 2017 – 2021.