CRESR Seminar - Evaluating complex local system change: learning from Children’s Communities

Start date: 
Wed, 12/06/2019
Closing date: 
Wed, 12/06/2019
Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Stoddart Building, Room 7139
Event contact: 
Ian Wilson & Ben Pattison (Tel: 0114 225 3073)

4.00-5.00 pm


Sarah Pearson and Mike Coldwell
Sheffield Hallam University


In this seminar we will discuss the approach used to evaluate a complex local system change initiative, the 'Children's Communities' programme. Funded by Save the Children, the three Children's Communities aim to improve the life chances of children and young people in their areas. In the seminar, we discuss the origins of the model and the programme itself, moving on to look at the methodological approach. This drew on a Theory of Change model, which as the evaluation developed has been coupled with a maturity model with the aim of providing a solution to dealing with the twin concerns of complexity and the need to judge outcomes and progress. We illustrate the approach with findings relating to the strategic, management and operational elements of the programme considering a set of challenges, particularly around the key issue of demonstrating impact on children and young people in complex systems change programmes.


Sarah Pearson is Deputy Director of CRESR. She is an expert in project and programme evaluation and has particular interests in identifying the impact of complex interventions; neighbourhood and community regeneration; community engagement; and public service reform.

Mike Coldwell is Professor of Education and Head of the Centre for Development in Education and Research at Sheffield Hallam University. His research interests focus on education policy, teacher professional development and careers, evidence-informed practice and evaluation methodology.

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