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Departmental Pilot Schemes

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what pilot initiatives his Department has launched since 1997; what the cost has been of each initiative; whether each initiative has been rolled out nationally; and if he will make a statement. (196568)

I believe that pilot initiatives are a valuable way to test and develop policy options and their likely impact prior to implementation. They allow us to work in close partnership with local leaders and key partners to understand how policies will work in practice. This understanding from early testing and implementation is key to our decision-making on national roll-out. Due to the prohibitive cost involved in trawling a 10-year period I am unable to supply the details of all the individual schemes that my Department has sponsored for the period requested; but I am happy to attach the most recent information we have for 2007 as an illustration of the range and cost of our test activity. Although too early for full, formal evaluations of these schemes, I can give assurance that all initiatives are closely monitored and the learning fed back into policy design and operational implementation on an ongoing basis.

We have recently improved our internal processes for planning and coordinating our pilot schemes to ensure we maximise the learning and cost savings from this activity in a more systematic way while minimising burdens on front line delivery. We are also working hard to ensure that local authorities and regional government office colleagues are closely involved in the selection of pilots, and that there is strategic coherence in the breadth and range of such activities.

Pilot initiative




Family Nurse Partnership

DCSF funded thereafter transferring to DoH. Focussing on first-time mothers under the age of 24. The project is testing a US model of early intervention which involves a structured programme of home visits by trained nurses.

1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008 in DCSF, thereafter with DH

£6 million in 2007/08

Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care

An intervention targeting young people who are already displaying severe levels of challenging anti-social behaviour and for whom more conventional approaches do not offer an effective solution.

December 2006 - 2008/2011

£3 million in 2007/08

Budget-holding Lead Professionals for children in care

A budget-holding lead professional commissions services for a child in care using a dedicated budget. Four local authorities are taking part.

July 2007 - July 2009

£200,000 in 2007/08

Budget Holding Lead Professional Pilots

A budget-holding lead professional co-ordinates provision when a range of services are needed for a child, and who has access to and leverage over a budget, allowing them to commission services directly from providers

June 2006 - March 2008

£5million over the life of the pilot project

Drug and Alcohol Courts Pilot

A multi-agency early intervention via the justice system that aims to prevent children coming into care by tackling their parents’ substance abuse.

September 2007 - September 2010

£50,000 -2007/08

Sustainable Communities Market Renewal pathfinders

The pilot aim is business involvement in education in deprived communities improving outcomes for young people and helping them to contribute to the local economy.

2005 - 2010

not available at time

Parenting Early Intervention

Aims to test out 3 parenting programmes for families with 8-13 year olds at risk of anti-social behaviour.

from October 2006 - March 2008

£5 million over life of pilot

Regional Commissioning Units Pilots

The Government is committed to secure better value for money and give more placement choice to children in care by piloting regional commissioning units with interested local authorities.

from October 2007 - March 2008

2007/08 - £873,000

Parent Support Advisers

A preventative school- based role to support parents, concentrating on behaviour and attendance, parental engagement with schools and reducing barriers to learning.

from September 2006 - end summer 2008

£20 million -2007/08

Family Intervention Projects

Uses intensive tailored action with supervision and clear sanctions to improve the behaviour of persistently anti-social households

Ends March 2008

*not available at time

Virtual Headteacher and Private Tutoring Pilots

These pilots are about testing how a senior individual working at local authority level can drive up standards of education for children in care, wherever they go to school as though they attended a single 'virtual' school.

September 2007 - July 2011

2007/09 - £792,000

Right2B Cared4

The Right2B Cared4 pilot will give young people a veto over any decisions about legally leaving care before they turn 18. The pilots will offer young people the opportunity to have a significant degree of control over the timing of transition; and in planning placement moves and identifying the services needed for their future support and care.

September 2007 - September 2011

£2 million - 2007/08

Free Entitlement for 3 and 4 Year- Olds Pathfinders

15 hours a week free early education for all 3 and 4 year olds for 38 weeks a year. Phased roll out between 2008/11.

Wave 1 commenced April 2007. Wave 2 commences September 2008

£80 million – 2007/08

Free Entitlement for 2 Year Olds Pilots

Free early years provision to 12,000 disadvantaged two year olds, not already accessing provision who would most benefit from early access, and particularly those identified as less likely to access free entitlement at age 3.

April 2006 - March 2009

£20 million over 2 Years (2006-07)

Increasing Take up of formal childcare in BME Communities

The project is about shaping delivery to extend the reach of good quality childcare and early years’ provision among Black and Minority Ethnic Families (BME) – with increased take up as a result.

September 2007 - March 2008

£265,000 - 2007/08

Multi-systemic Therapy Pilot

Multi Systemic Therapy (MST) is a family and community-based treatment programme for young people with complex clinical, social, and educational problems such as violent behaviour, drug abuse and school expulsion. MST therapists work in close partnership with the young person's family and community to strengthen protective factors known to reduce the risk of future offending and anti-social behaviour.

From September 2007- March 2011

£3 million - 2007/08

Every Child a Reader

Every Child a Reader is a unique collaboration between charitable trusts, the business sector and government. It aims to show that with the right resources, it is possible to overcome the literacy difficulties that blight so many children's lives.

2005/06 to end 2008/09

£5.2 million - 2007/08

Primary Specialism Pilot

A small project trialling the specialist programme in a small number of primary schools.


£10 million over life of the project

Trust School Pathfinders

Pathfinder schools working towards acquiring Trust School status

From September 2006 - September 2008

up to £15,000 per school

Low Attainers Pilots

Addresses the challenges that are faced by schools in which a very substantial proportion of the cohort enter at level 3 and struggle to access the secondary curriculum because their core skills in literacy, numeracy and learning are weak.

Sept 2004 - July 2008

*not available at time

Making Progress Pilots

The pilot is designed to improve the rate of progress which children make year by year, as well as between key stages.

September 2007 - July 2009

£8 million - 07-08

LA Strategic Commissioning of School Planning

Working with 17 local authorities to investigate what their new strategic commissioning of school places role would mean in practice, identify good practice and disseminate this to others.

November 2006 to March 2008

£2.3 million

Early Learning Partnerships

The Project is targeting parents of children aged 12 months to 3 years who are at risk of learning delay. Parents will be supported to become involved in their child’s early learning, through effective partnerships with practitioners, using home visiting where necessary.


£6.83 million (2006/07 and 2007/08)

Boarding School Provision Vulnerable Children Pathfinders

Testing the effectiveness of a boarding placement as an additional option for local authorities to improve social and educational outcomes for vulnerable children.

November 2006 to March 2008

£393k over the life of the project.

Transition Information Sessions

Sessions for parents of new intake of pupils into a school

*not available at time

£3 million 2007/08

Key Stage 4 Engagement Programme

Alternative work-focused learning for low-achieving Key Stage 4 pupils disengaged with the mainstream curriculum. Pilots act as test-beds for developing good practice provision which will be widely disseminated.


*not available at time

Formalised Peer Mentoring in Secondary Schools

2 year pilot being run in 180 schools engaging 3,600 pupils in matched mentoring pairs. By working together it is hoped that the result will be improved outcomes across a range of areas such as attendance, behaviour, academic performance and reducing bullying.

April 2006 - March 2008

£1.5 million total

Functional Skills Qualification Pilot

To ensure that young people achieve a firm grounding in the basic functional skills of English, Mathematics and ICT which are needed for participation in life, learning and work. From Sept 07 - 2 year pilot for GCSE candidates in English and ICT and a 3 year pilot for GCSE candidates in Mathematics.

September 2007 to September 2010

£661,000 - 2007/08

Learning Agreements

16-17 year olds in employment without level 2 to engage in education and training

Ends March 2008 (but may be extended)

£30million 2007/08

Activity Agreements & Allowances

To incentivise young people who have not been in education, employment or training (NEET) long term to take the first steps back to engagement in learning.

Ends March 2008 (but may be extended)

£45 million 2007/08

Study Plus Pilots

Aims to promote more effective use of the existing intervention toolkit by improving the management of intervention and by helping teachers to tailor their teaching more closely to the needs of particular groups and individuals at Key Stage 4.

Ends 2008

£426,000 in 2007/08