Scouts Early Years Project


We're delighted to announce that we're working with the Scouts to help them explore their early years provision. We'll be helping them research, pilot, and evaluate different models of reaching young children under the age of 6.

You may have read in the news this month that the Scouts have been doing incredible work on boosting their membership and engagement in some of the UK's most deprived areas. Over the past five years, 1,280 new sections have opened, 222 of which are located in the very poorest 10% of areas as defined by income, employment, schooling, health, crime, housing and environment. 

Having admitted in 2018 that "scouting does not always reflect the diversity of our local communities or reach all the young people who could benefit most", they set themselves the target of adding 500 new groups in deprived areas by 2023 and to get back to their city roots where Scouting was once promoted within the community as a way to learn skills to beat unemployment. 

Scouts Early Years Project

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The experiences offered to young children through engaging in Scouting have a demonstrable impact on their skills for life (attitudes and dispositions for lifelong learning), which evidence shows can lead to improved life outcomes.

Engaging with the Scouts also has the potential for impact in other domains (including, language development, social development, physical development, and other key domains of early learning), if the quality of experience is right and the programme of activities is appropriate.

Research evidence suggests that where those building blocks for lifelong learning (executive functioning, social skills, language development, relationships and attachments) are laid down during a child’s first five formative years, then the adverse effects of socio-economic factors can be negated, and that high-quality early years educational experiences can have a disproportionately beneficial impact on children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Aims and Scope

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Young people can currently engage with Scouting from the age of 5 ¾ years, so there is the potential to have an even greater positive impact on even younger children by engaging with them and their families at an earlier stage in their lives.

The Scouts Early Years pilot scheme (funded by the DfE) is designed to explore the potential and possibilities of engaging with children at a younger age through a mix of new Scouting delivery models, and at the same time attempting to engage with children and families from currently underrepresented backgrounds (notably BAME community and most economically deprived communities). These innovative models also allow exploration of alternative ways to engage with and maintain on-going linkage to adult volunteers.

CREC has been commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the Scouts work on this to date. The evaluation will consider the process (quality), impact and feasibility of the Early Years project in relation to the strategic aims and objectives of the Scouts.

To find out more about the Scouts plans to explore early years provision, visit their project page.


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