Top marks for Aintree Beacon Programme after third year evaluation

The fourth year of the Aintree Beacon programme is underway having received another glowing report from independent evaluator Public Perspectives.

Racing to School is pleased to be working alongside Aintree Racecourse and Equestrian Centre to support pupils from Maricourt High School and its four local primary schools. The programme is designed to enrich the children’s learning and offer quality activities, which at the end of the third year had involved over 1,900 pupils.

The Beacon was set up with the initial goal of offering long-term education and careers provision for pupils in Year 5 right through to Year 13, with participation in several activities and events. Alongside growing young people’s self-confidence and core educational goals, these activities are aimed at offering practical knowledge of the horseracing industry and its career routes.

The independent evaluation report used 2,800 questionnaire responses and 25 in-depth phone interviews to provide key feedback on the effectiveness of the programme. It is very pleasing to learn that 70% of pupils reported increased confidence; 74% believed that their maths had improved and 81% said that their ability to work as a team had improved. From a racing perspective, a strong 87% reported an increased knowledge of the sport and 88% an increased awareness of careers opportunities within the industry.

From the anonymous stakeholder interviews, one Teacher commented: “The involvement with the programme has exceeded our expectations and had a really positive impact on our school and pupils. It’s definitely generated positive attitudes to horseracing and Aintree and its produced educational and personal outcomes for our pupils. We really hope it continues.”

Focusing specifically on careers provision, another Teacher commented: “Aintree Racecourse is a major local attraction and local employer…I now feel better equipped to speak with my pupils about it and what it an offer them…and having seen it for myself I will definitely be encouraging our young people to consider careers at the racecourse and in racing.”

In conclusion, the report acknowledged:

The evaluation shows that the programme has been a success and is high quality. It has been well delivered and well received by both young people and teachers/schools. Moreover, it has had a consistent, positive and strong impact against the programme’s key indicators of success over a three-year period.

Racing to School is delighted with the success the Beacon has achieved so far and we are extremely grateful to all of the stakeholders who have worked together to achieve this enriched programme to help young people. We are also extremely thankful to The Racing Foundation that has funded the project since its inception and pledged on-going support for the next three years. We are now focused on sustaining the fantastic results achieved so far and delivering this vital initiative that improves the lives of children in one of the country’s most deprived areas.