Evidence base for the Intergen way

Ten years of research and development of our school programme in one local authority area (1999-2009) were followed by a national pilot between 2010-2016.

Pupil thoughts

See what School Pupils have to say about the programme

Headteacher thoughts

See what the School Head teachers have to say about the programme

Intergener thoughts

See what our volunteers have to say about the programme

Research Evidence

Reports from different stages of
Intergen’s development

What Schools Say About Intergen

Our children look forward to their weekly visits

“We have been very pleased with the contribution of our Intergen volunteers, who have reliably turned up to listen to children read each week. In this role, they have helped to build up relationships between themselves and the pupils, as well as, help to improve their reading skills… Our children look forward to their weekly visits and the opportunity to share experiences with them…We would recommend the Intergen volunteers to other schools because they are more than just helpers they are important members of our school community too.”

The model fits like a glove

“It is so much more successful than we ever imagined, the model felt remote but it fits like a glove, recruitment was taken out of our hands because we interview everyone who comes into school.”

Discussion is the key to sustainability

“It’s not just that you drop off the volunteers, you monitor, you come back and discuss and that’s the key to sustainability. If volunteers have issues they can discuss with us and vice versa.”

We can’t manage life without the volunteers

“The teachers are thrilled to bits, can’t manage life without the volunteers because they have made such inroads and rapport with staff and children. Children know who they are. They are so willing to do anything to help in the classroom and they come with their ideas too.”

They are really reliable

“I am surprised at the amount of time they dedicate…they are really really reliable.”

They enrich the curriculum

“The outcome is for children. They enrich the curriculum in a way we couldn’t, they are extra hands and skills the school don’t have.”

The children have really benefited from hearing stories

“Ms J has a wonderfully calm and caring approach with the children. She has listened to individual children read and supported children with their writing, topic work and numeracy. Ms J has shared her personal experiences during our class discussions and the children have really benefited from hearing stories about her childhood. She does whatever she can to reduce my personal workload by contributing towards lesson preparation and other general classroom duties such as cutting, filing and sticking children’s work in their books.”

Impact of Intergen Based on Costs

Section I – Older People

Direct cost savings of Intergen projects can be calculated given the following assumptions (to be verified):

  • Intergen volunteers spend three years in any given school in a voluntary capacity.
  • Intergen projects have the maximum (100%) chance of preventing volunteers from having to enter residential and/or domiciliary care within the next three years, this period being the duration of the voluntary activity as per the above point.

The not-for-profit company Paying for Care has a table listing the cost per week of a care home with and without nursing care. A copy of this table is included to the right:

The average across all twelve regions is £552.33 and £739.50 without and with nursing care, respectively. The overall cost of one volunteer being in care for the next three years (in this case an instrument for the cost of life without Intergen) is given by a discounted cost methodology:

The first term is for Year 0 (now, or the start of the volunteering), the second the cost for Year 1 (next year, discounted by rate r, which could be the inflation rate) and the third the cost for Year 2.

The resulting value is the cost of being in a care home (without nursing) for the next three years. If Intergen does indeed have a 100% success rate in putting the probability of needing care down to zero, this would represent the cost saving.

The cost of home (domiciliary) care by the hour, segmented by region, is as follows:

Section II – Younger People (Secondary)

Direct cost savings of Intergen projects can be calculated given the following assumptions (to be verified):

  • School pupils who are disaffected with education will leave after completing their GCSEs.
  • Intergen projects will result in one student per school being swayed from such disaffection, instead staying on for the two years required to complete A Level study.

According to research by the Work Foundation, the cost of a NEET (16-18) is estimated to be £56,000 over the course of their lifetime, although per-year statistics are hard to come by. If per-year statistics are located or calculated this can be used in much the same way as the cost of care from Section I, it would be possible to find the discounted cost for the two years between GCSE and A Level when the young person could otherwise be studying.

Section III – Younger People (Primary)

Possibly the hardest of all three groups to cost directly, a very crude way to measure this would be to calculate the difference between the school’s literacy standards for pupils entering Year 7, and the national average. This assumes that interventions by volunteers have a significant sway on literacy standards, something hard to verify as volunteers contribute in different ways and with varying consistency.

This section requires more thought, but requires a significant knowledge of exactly what volunteers do to improve the education of pupils, and the extent to which the average volunteer actually does this.

Section IV – Schools

If a school is charged £1,500 per annum and have 24 volunteers in the school that year, the total per annum cost per volunteer is £62.50. If we assume that schools operate for 39 weeks per year, the total per week cost per volunteer is £1.60, and for three hours is 3 pence.

If we take the lowest-end of a secondary school teacher’s salary (approximately £22,000), this translates into £10.07 per three hours (assuming they get paid in the 39 weeks they work, rather than spread over all 52 weeks). But that is just salary; it does not include opportunity cost of time. However, salary is a better and more robust starting point for the time being.

In essence, the conclusion is that it costs 3p to liberate the teacher of three hours’ pupil supervision, which would regularly cost £10.07 (£5.04 if we assume that it’s 50%). Therefore it demonstrates a very clear net saving to the school. To progress this we should look at what the next-best use of the £10.07 is, if not spent supervising pupils, i.e. the value-added from a teacher working, but not actually teaching. The cost of a teacher per hour rises to £11.45 in the mid-pay range (£25,000).

Paying for Care. (2015). Care home fees. [online]. Available at: www.payingforcare.org/care-home-fees [Accessed 22/01/2015].

Peacock, L. (2011). Young ‘Neets’ cost economy £56,000 each. The Telegraph, [online]. Available at: www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/hr-news/8868190/Young-Neets-cost-economy-56000-each [Accessed 22/01/2015].