Validated local practice details


C4EO theme: Youth

Teens and Toddlers Sustainability Replication Programme, Tameside

Themes this local practice example relates to:

  • Youth
  • General resources

Priorities this local practice example relates to:

  • Delivering better outcomes for young people by increasing the impact of targeted youth support and development

Basic details

Organisation submitting example

Children Our Ultimate Investment UK,
Teens and Toddlers Sustainability Replication Programme

Local authority/local area:

Tameside MBC


The context and rationale

Background details to your example

Tameside MBC has one of the highest rates of teenage conceptions in the North West and little progress has been achieved since the baseline data from 1998. The current figures show a slight increase in rates from the baseline data, despite the strategy being in place for the last 9 years. Termination rates for unwanted pregnancies currently stand at around 48% of all conceptions.

We recognised there was a need to invest in an effective programme of early identification and prevention, which would eventually have a positive impact on our teenage pregnancy rates and long term outcomes for young people through raising self esteem, aspiration and educational attainment and providing opportunities. In September 2007, a long term investment in the Teens and Toddlers programme was made; the programme was well established in a number of London borough councils who were seeing a marked reduction in their teenage conception rates.

The aims of the Teens and Toddlers programme are:
• to support vulnerable young people to develop life skills, aspirations and new positive life goals (e.g. preventing NEET);
• to develop emotional literacy skills (self reflection, self management, awareness of others and social skills);
• to provide the knowledge and skills of Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) and sexual responsibility to prevent conception and protect sexual health, and to educate young people about the responsibilities of caring for a child to convey the importance and value of postponing pregnancy.

Additionally, participants earn an accredited National Award in Interpersonal Skills, Level 1 (NCFE).

The Teens and Toddlers Sustainability Replication Programme is an accredited Youth Work Level 3 Diploma, training local authority workers to competently and professionally set up and deliver the Teens and Toddlers project, with the potential to reach up to 500 at risk teens & 500 vulnerable small children per year in the future. The aim is to embed Teens and Toddlers as a sustainable element of targeted youth support, delivered in local schools and nurseries by local people. On-going support and quality assurance is provided by Children: Our Ultimate Investment UK (COUI UK).

Benefits of the Sustainability Programme for Teenagers
• A personalised learning programme extending engagement in the educational system, thereby raising their educational attainment and employment prospects.
• Mental health improvements through increased self esteem, raised aspiration, and emotional literacy.
• Work experience and skills training.
• Future parenting skills, breaking generational patterns of disadvantage.
• Early intervention for teenage pregnancy prevention.
• Increased sexual responsibility and awareness about sexually transmitted infections.
• Crime prevention development work through anger management, work with self-valuing and self-assertion, awareness of choice, personal responsibility and future life goals.
• Citizenship skills through multi-cultural participation and the programme’s promotion of an appreciation of difference and improved social behaviour.
• Community engagement through working in and contributing to local nurseries and support for nursery staff.
• Experiencing success and making a difference in the life of a small child through the mentoring process in the nurseries.
• Achieving an accredited National Award in Interpersonal Skills (Level 1).

Teens and Toddlers has been highlighted by the DfE Teenage Pregnancy Unit as emerging good practice and has had demonstrable success in the London borough councils. Considerable research and evidence-based data demonstrated a significant reduction in teenage conceptions, with over 98% of the young people involved in the programme not becoming pregnant or being responsible for a pregnancy.

On an annual basis, participating young people are retrospectively tracked for teenage conceptions, education, employment and training. Additionally, each Teens and Toddlers project pre and post tests participants, evaluating changes in attitudes in terms of sexual health and responsibility. The evaluation studies provided results showing the Teens and Toddlers programme as extending beyond its original remit of a teenage pregnancy prevention programme to also incorporating strong elements of a youth development approach.

As the programme offers a holistic youth development approach, raises self esteem, aspirations and educational attainment, we were very interested in using this model as an early intervention for prevention of teenage conceptions. Additionally, small children who are mentored by the young people are also chosen for early intervention support.


The practice

Further details about the practice

Through the Teens and Toddlers Sustainability Replication Programme, trained Tameside Teens and Toddlers facilitators have been delivering the Teens and Toddlers programme since 2007 in four of our high schools in areas of high rate teenage conceptions. Over 100 young people have been involved in the programme and to date no young people involved in the programme have become pregnant or have been responsible for a pregnancy.
Although we had delivered some, rather short lived, prevention programmes before, we had not fully embedded them into mainstream provision. The sustainability element of the programme meant that we were making a big investment and that we were in it for the long haul.
The process for inclusion commences by schools identifying, through completion of a risk assessment form, those young people they feel to be most at risk of teenage pregnancy.
The Teens and Toddlers programme consists of a 20 week course, one afternoon a week, framed around three key learning elements:

1) regular one-to-one contact between each teenager and a small child, whom they mentor during the project;
2) an accredited National Award in Interpersonal Skills (NCFE Level 1) using a broad curriculum with personal development sessions focusing on: the development of healthy interpersonal skills, communication skills and emotional literacy; the impact of early pregnancy and the importance of sexual health; child development and effective parenting skills;
3) one-to-one life coaching sessions and counselling for participants identified as being most at risk.


Evidence and evaluation - making a difference to children, young people and families

Evidencing your practice has made a difference to children, young people and families

The most resounding success factor is the enthusiasm of the young people who were involved and the commitment from the facilitators to deliver the programme, which for some meant delivering the programme while continuing with their own full time job. The commitment and partnership approach from schools to encourage young people to engage with the programme has been positive.

“I think that the T&T project is really good and helpful to teenagers.” (Female)

“I have really enjoyed T&T, and I think it is a valuable project.” (Female)

“Just thank you to T&T for letting me take part in the programme.” (Male)

“I think I’m more mature and I think more before I open my mouth [laughs]. It’s cos we did stuff about interpersonal skills and I think that’s changed me a bit, for the better I listen more to other people now.”

Effective communication between the agencies involved was key to the smooth running of the programme has been the ‘golden thread’. This improved as the programme progressed and contributed to the smooth running of the programme. In addition, the commitment from Children’s Centres and nurseries to accommodating the young people‘s involvement and, whilst under supervision, develop responsibility for a child was incredible. The trust Children’s Centres placed in the programme was a real credit to their belief in the programme and desire to want to improve outcomes for vulnerable young people.

The core elements of the Teens and Toddlers project are to raise self esteem, aspirations and educational attainment. The at risk young people involved mentor and are a role model for a vulnerable small child. This provides them with a new and positive experience of themselves – that they have something positive to contribute, that they can make a difference to another person’s life and that they can re-engage with their community.

Participants earned a qualification (National Award in Interpersonal Skills) which instils a sense of achievement and success. Additionally, young people gained work experience and job skills through responsible work in the nursery and being a part of a team.

Delivering the Teens and Toddlers programme has strengthened our working relationships with schools, Children’s Centres, youth workers and a range of other agencies that have released staff to deliver the programme. What the programme has done through its multi-agency approach has been to show services how they can make a contribution to the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy through their day to day practice.

Following the success of the programme in Tameside, other areas in the North West are keen to be involved. We are now in the early stages of developing a North West hub of Teens and Toddlers programmes, starting with Blackpool delivering the programme followed by two further North West authorities from February 2010, after which more areas will become involved in the growth of the North West hub. For this development, we are collaborating with the GO North West Regional Teenage Pregnancy Coordinator.

Feedback was gathered of the views on facilitator training:

“I loved the training both for its content and the ability to get together with other Tameside Facilitators and am 100% enthusiastic re the project.”

“I have developed my ability to offer teens choices when I was being challenged, but also to empower them during check-ins and classroom time. It was very helpful to have a co-facilitator with maturity and team spirit. I thought we worked well together.”

“This was a very emotional group and each young person seemed to make a great deal of progress. They all really enjoyed T&T and I feel especially the contact with the facilitators and counsellor, they seemed to really get a lot out of their contact with us.”




Sustaining and replicating your practice

Helping others to replicate your practice

Teens and Toddlers work in Tameside is included in COUI UK’s overall research and evaluation programme. This includes a pre and post project questionnaire measuring changes in attitudes towards sexual health and teenage conception as well as aspirations for the future. Additionally, Tameside is included in the annual retrospective tracking evaluation of Teens and Toddlers graduates for teenage conception and whether graduates are in education, employment or training.

Independent evaluation by Dr A. McDowell from The Dream Mill Ltd. found that Teens and Toddlers is very effective, both in influencing young people’s attitudes and in preventing teenage pregnancy. Under the age of 18, 96.8% of graduates from the Teens and Toddlers programme do not become pregnant and 99% do not become parents. Further evidence of the efficacy of the programme is that 85% reported the programme influenced them to increase the age at which they wish to become a parent; 75% reported it positively influenced their practice of safe sex; 85% reported it made a positive difference in their lives; and 90% felt the programme would be useful to their peers.

Research also found that the programme has a statistically significant positive impact on nursery children, resulting in gains in their learning, social skills and confidence. Tameside Teens and Toddlers facilitators evaluated the quality of the training they received (Youth Work Diploma, Level 3) on each training module.

Teens and Toddlers delivers a Sustainability Replication Programme that Tameside has taken up and that is currently being delivered in 14 local authorities throughout England.

Hot tips

The key learning point would be the need to ensure planning time built into the lead-in time. When we deliver the programme now, everything is so much easier to arrange. Delivering the 1st cohort felt very rushed, as we only decided on the programme in June for a September start. In reality, you need a longer lead-in to the 1st cohort and to have established clear lines of communication.

For success of the Teens and Toddlers Sustainability Replication Programme, there needs to be support from senior levels from the targeted youth services and ideally from youth strategy boards, directors and deputy directors of children’s services. There needs to be a long term strategy for the embedding of Teens and Toddlers in the local authority for the years subsequent to the programme.

For the success of the programme, it is especially important that there is support and advocacy from senior levels in targeted youth support, children’s services and senior managers of trainee facilitators. Careful consideration needs to be given to the choice of local authority trainee Teens and Toddlers facilitators with a view to sustainability and the delivery of Teens and Toddlers being integrated into their work plan.

31 teenagers took part in the mentoring, coaching and life skills course. The programme advised teens on the responsibilities of caring for a child whilst developing skills, aspirations etc, to help the teen to avoid early pregnancy and not fall into the NEET category. This was delivered at a unit cost of £1,500 per teenager, but this goes down to approximately £800 per teen once the LA has its own LA Teens and Toddlers facilitators.

The cost benefit in preventing one teenage conception is that £57,000 is saved (DFE estimated costs per teen pregnancy for the first five years).

Estimated savings to communities and local government over two years were £135,850.

Estimated savings to the DWP/local authority over two years were £20,520.

Full reports:

A retrospective analysis of the efficacy of the Teens and Toddlers programme
Dr A J McDowell
The Dream Mill Ltd

Pregnancy rates, attitudes and behaviour changes among graduates of Teens and Toddlers:Annual Retrospective Study 2008
Suzanne Cater and Andrew McDowell

Tameside Manchester: 2007-present
The Sustainability Replication Programme launched in Tameside in September 07 and is currently completing the first of two Teens and Toddlers projects with thirty-one teens and training six Local Authority workers.

This example has also been featured in Children and Young People Now and the full article can be read here:

Annual Retrospective Study Available here.

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