Developing Children’s Zones for England: What’s the evidence?

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Save the Children

For generations England has struggled with how to help the most disadvantaged children in the poorest places. For all the gains that have undoubtedly been made, the life chances of those children continue to be blighted by repeated failures to find interventions capable of making a real difference. Innovative responses to poor outcomes in disadvantaged places are needed and the rapidly changing landscape of service provision since 2010 could create space for action at a local level.

This report considers the evidence base for English children’s zones. It draws on the wider evidence about the mechanisms through which social disadvantage, and the distinctive dynamics of particular places, are linked to poor outcomes. It also reviews all the publicly available studies on zone-like approaches in the USA and the UK that are the most comprehensive and that have sought to identify and quantify outcomes from working in this way.

The report suggests that when this evidence base is considered as a whole, there are good reasons to believe that English children’s zones can make significant impacts on children and young people’s outcomes, and that these impacts are likely to be greater than those that could be achieved through uncoordinated single-issue interventions.

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