IntroductionThis review sought to determine the current evidence on the effectiveness of programmes available in theUK that aim to enhance the social and emotional skills development of children and young people aged 4-20years. The review was commissioned by the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), the Cabinet Office andthe Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission as part of wider efforts to encourage evidence-basedcommissioning and delivery of services for young people. Based on a systematic search of the literature,this report presents a narrative synthesis (i.e. a qualitative summary of findings as opposed to a statisticalmeta-analysis) of the review findings from evaluations of programmes implemented in the UK in both theschool and out-of-school settings. This review addresses the question of ‘what works’ in enhancing childrenand young people’s social and emotional skills and the quality of existing provision in the UK.Extensive developmental research indicates that the effective mastery of social and emotional skillssupports the achievement of positive life outcomes, including good health and social wellbeing, educationalattainment and employment and the avoidance of behavioural and social difficulties. There is also asubstantive international evidence base which shows that these skills can be enhanced and positive outcomesachieved through the implementation of effective interventions for young people.There are a number of ways of defining social and emotional skills. CASEL (2005) defined social andemotional skills as relating to the development of five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective and behaviouralcompetencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsibledecision making. The Young Foundation (McNeil et al., 2012) identified a core set of social and emotionalcapabilities that are of value to young people. These capabilities have been grouped into seven clusters,each of which is supported by an evidence base that demonstrates their association with positive lifeoutcomes. These capabilities include; managing feelings, communication, confidence and agency, planningand problem solving, relationships and leadership, creativity, resilience and determination. Drawing onexisting models and frameworks, a list of these core social and emotional skills were included in this review.The key objective of this review was to systematically review the peer review and grey literature (2004-2014) examining evidence on the effectiveness of school and out-of-school interventions implemented inthe UK that are aimed at enhancing children and young people’s social and emotional skills. In reviewing
the evidence, specific questions were addressed:• what programmes are effective in enhancing social and emotional skills in the (i) school setting and (ii)
• what is the strength of the evidence?
• what programmes/strategies are ineffective in enhancing social and emotional skills?
• what are the key characteristics of effective programme?
• what are the implementation requirements for these programmes / what implementation factors are
important in achieving programme outcomes?
• what interventions are effective according to age / gender / ethnicity /socio-economic background and
level of vulnerability
• what is the evidence on the costs and cost-benefits of these interventions?