Background A key aim for our hospice strategy is serving our local community, involving all ages. To fulfil this aim, an educational initiative designed to change attitudes to death and bring schools and hospice care together, was developed. In 2022 we wanted to evaluate if this project still fulfilled its original purpose and what learning we could extract through our reflection.
Aim To undertake a service evaluation of the existing schools project and identify if it still met its original objectives and what learning we may gain to share.
Method Action Research informed our evaluation process because it provides measurable, practical benefits for the organisation, as well as a period of reflection. Our field work included data from a range of sources. Qualitative data from evaluations of previous projects, including examining letters and email feedback from schoolteachers. Narratives and stories were gathered following conversations with staff involved in the project. A comparative process looking for pattern matching was made with the National Curriculum Key Stage 1,2 and 3 learning objectives and the project objectives. There was a recognition that the project required to be aligned more closely to the National Curriculum, structured by measurable learning objectives, evaluations and to share feedback with schools and teachers.
Results Qualitative data revealed: Inadequate learning objectives for the project. No measurable assessment tool to identify learning undertaken by the children. Inadequate learning and teaching support for individual staff involved. Improvements included: One-to-one staff support. Education in learning and teaching strategies. Structured learning objectives for the project. Assessment of children’s learning at the end of the project.
Conclusion Action Research provided an opportunity to halt project activity, reflect on practice, evaluate, and improve a valued community service.
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