Home > Current steps and future horizons for CASPr: review of CASPr North-East Inner City after schools project.

Ivers, Jo-Hanna H and McLoughlin, Valerie and Downes, Paul (2012) Current steps and future horizons for CASPr: review of CASPr North-East Inner City after schools project. Dublin: CASPr.

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CASPr (Community Afterschools Project) is a community development agency whose overall mission is to counter educational disadvantage in Dublin’s North East Inner City in order to contribute to the elimination of poverty in their community. This review seeks to assess the quality and effects of CASPr’s work on children, parents and the local community, in order to guide CASPr’s future work and offer independent examination of CASPr’s activities. A review of the profile of the area of North East Inner City Dublin clearly indicates the area’s need for such a project, while international and Irish research illustrates the potential social and economic gains of investment to prevent early school leaving. Furthermore, based on international and Irish research on afterschool projects, it is evident that the potential benefits of such projects are with regard to a number of dimensions. These dimensions include afterschool projects to modify the impact of poverty, as a protective factor against early school leaving, as a space to foster social skills and social support for positive mental health in contexts of psychological stress. The potential benefits according to research is also with regard to helping overcome pupil fear of failure, to develop a positive climate of self directed learning which can also impact on a child’s language development and safety. Research further emphasises the potential of the Arts in afterschool projects, as well as its role in offering supports for parents minding children, while being cognisant of the importance of staff quality in producing better outcomes for children at risk of social exclusion.

This evaluation of CASPr consisted of focus groups, individual interviews and qualitative questionnaires. Focus groups involved children currently attending the after school programme, a group of early school leavers currently attending a local alternative education programme and Home-School Liaison teachers. 26 individual interviews with children currently participating in CASPr were undertaken, approximately one quarter of the total sample of children attending CASPr. These interviews were based on an adaptation of indicators of satisfaction with a service adapted from McKeown et al (2001). 7 individual interviews with parents of children currently using the service took place, while 6 individual interviews with current CASPr staff were undertaken. 10 past participants of CASPr’s training programme provided questionnaire responses.

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