Knowsley Council Headstart Programme

Winter 2015-Summer 2015

The challenge

Knowsley Headstart Programme was one of twelve Big Lottery Funded programmes designed to help give young people the support and skills to cope with adversity and do well at school. With half of all mental health problems occurring before the age of 14, the project aimed to identify wellbeing issues around digital engagement, school and home life, and access to community services. The fairly open brief of the project provided the opportunity really innovate, and to explore the different drivers which motivate young people.

How we approached it

The target age group for the project was 8-16. We decided to use the Values Modes model, based on the work of Shalom Schwartz, to explore the values of young people – an area where there had been very little prior research. Our aim was to explore the deep, underlying reasons behind wellbeing problems, and to understand how this intersected with values and lived experience. Using the Stirling Wellbeing Index and an amended version of the Values Modes question framework, we carried out quantitative research with almost 500 young people, along with over 100 adults.

What happened

The result of the research showed high levels of Prospectors within the 8-16 cohort, especially as people crossed the age threshold from tween to teen. This had significant implications for questions like how people use the internet. The age of 13, meanwhile, was a point of particular vulnerability, with very low levels of resilience. Settlers, meanwhile, were a values group with particularly low wellbeing levels, and were less likely to tell parents about things like bullying. The overall findings provided a rich set of data by which Knowsley Headstart can start to think about resilience strategies which match the needs and motivations of the area’s young people.