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31. School of Hard Knocks uses rugby and life skills to target those at risk of exclusion

The School of Hard Knocks is a UK-based charity using sports to tackle unemployment, poor health and crime. They ran a project in Welsh Valley schools which combined the School of Hard Knocks rugby school programme with FinCap (Financial Capability) training. The primary research question Kada was commissioned to answer was whether prior improvement in non-cognitive skills make Financial Capability education more effective for vulnerable children and young people involved in this sports project. With cohorts that included those at risk of exclusion, the research methods needed to be both robust and engaging.

The client wanted Kada to undertake an impact and process evaluation and ensure we took on board the first-hand views of young people. To achieve this, we held workshops with young people aged 13-14 in schools, their coaches and their teachers before, during and after the project. We were looking for improved financial capability, improved self-esteem, self-control and self-efficacy, and an improved ability to build social bonds. As the client suspected, we found some clear improvements in students who had taken part in both projects. We were able to provide the School of Hard Knocks and the Money Advice Service with comments from parents, teachers and coaches about the positive impact of the training on their students. We also provided practical suggestions on how to increase the impact of the programme, drawing on student and teacher feedback. Overall, the programme was a success and has since been mainstreamed in Wales.  This was a complex evaluation that used statistical comparative techniques and a control group to meet client requirements.


SOHK commissioned Kada to evaluate a new programme we were running, funded by the Money Advice Service, to see if financial capability education could be delivered as part of a wider intervention using sport to improve mental health and behaviour in school. It was relatively complex, as they needed to assess the strength of each part of the programme individually, as well as working across multiple school contexts with challenging young people. We felt Kada did an excellent job, always communicating well, delivering every milestone on time and to a high standard. We were also able to use the evaluation to improve aspects of our programme delivery going forward

Jack Lewars (former CEO, SOHK)

Thinking of evaluating a charity project or programme? Get in touch for a free initial two hour consultation (karl.dalgleish@kadaresearch.co.uk).