Grant round: Reducing exclusions, improving school engagement and raising attainment

Impetus and the The Henry Smith Charity are looking for organisations that are:

  • Working to improve school engagement and reduce exclusions and lost learning for students in mainstream schools
  • And/or working to improve engagement and/or attainment outcomes for children who have been excluded from school.

Successful organisations will receive:

  • £100k in core, unrestricted funding per year for at least two years
  • The expertise of our dedicated Investment team
  • Access to our world-class pro bono network.

Research shows that fewer than 5% of excluded young people get the key GCSEs they need in English and maths.

Given this, we’re conducting an open grant round in partnership with The Henry Smith Charity, looking for two impact-led organisations who support young people in mainstream and/or alternative provision with engagement outcomes and reducing lost learning. You will need to have an ambition to grow your impact using meaningful benchmarked data.

Why now?

At Impetus, our mission is to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in school, work and life. We work with charities to deliver meaningful outcomes in the areas of school engagement, attainment, university access and employment.

The Engage Fund was incepted to focus specifically on improving outcomes for young people at risk of exclusion or who were excluded in 2021, and we currently have five amazing partners spanning the spectrum of exclusion related outcomes in the fund. We are now looking for two more to join the fund for at least two years.

Our open grant rounds are part of our commitment to embedding diversity in all aspects of our work.

What is in it for you?

We have over 21 years’ experience finding, funding, and building the best organisations working in the youth sector. Since 2013, we have given over £92m worth of support to 38 charities, which includes £29.6m of core unrestricted funding.

But we are more than a funder. Our backing comes with focused, structured, hands-on support from our experienced investment team and network of pro bono experts across all aspects of our charity partners’ work - deepening their impact, upskilling their leadership and helping them achieve sustainable growth. Our approach is working - our charity partners become bigger and better organisations that transform the lives of the young people they serve.

Our non-financial support is valued highly by our charity partners. In a recent survey of our charity CEOs, all rated our support as either delivering significant or transformational impact.

I can confidently say that Action Tutoring would not be where it is today without the investment and input we've had from Impetus over the last 10 years.

Susannah Hardyman, CEO, Action Tutoring

As an Impetus charity partner, you will receive:

  • 100k in core, unrestricted funding per year for two years (with potential for us to become a longer-term funder)
  • Hands-on support from our Investment Team to help shape your plans for impact and growth
  • Support from our network of pro bono experts, on anything from strategy planning and financial modelling to legal support
  • Access to our peer learning forums; providing training, networking and co-learning opportunities with our other 25 charity partners
  • Access to sector-based coalitions to influence policy and the national conversation on the issues faced by the young people we serve
  • Access to co-investment through our network of donors

What we are looking for

Impetus is seeking applications from organisations working to improve school engagement and reduce exclusions and lost learning.

All interested organisations should first check that they meet the criteria from the following four sections:

    1. Organisation type

We are particularly interested to receive applications from:

Charities or third sector organisations working with schools to improve engagement and/or reduce exclusions. This could be through:

  • A combination of direct delivery to students and indirect delivery - working with other stakeholders, such as school staff or parents, to deliver or embed positive outcomes for young people
  • Indirect delivery - working with schools and staff to improve outcomes for young people, rather than working directly with the young people themselves. This might be through any combination of training, coaching, resources and/or hands-on support
  • Direct interventions working with students - this might be through any combination of one-to-one, group, classroom-based, or out-of-classroom delivery.

Organisations taking a place-based approach, working across different settings. This might include:

  • Working in collaboration with a range of services or providers in a local area, rather than just schools (though delivery should be led by a single organisation, rather than a consortium of providers)
  • Working on local commissioning practices, via collaboration with mainstream and alternative provision schools
  • Attempting to shift outcomes at a local level, through work with/across a local authority or other geographical area

Mainstream multi-academy trusts or other groups of schools working to improve school engagement and reduce exclusions, through one or more centralised multi-school initiative(s).

    2. Organisational requirements

Each organisation must:

  • Be delivering it's exclusions related work predominately in England
  • Have a minimum turnover of £250k, based on last audited/examined accounts
  • Be working with a minimum of 100 young people directly or 1000 young people indirectly

Exclusions affect certain demographic groups unequally, with high disproportionalities in ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status and for those with special educational needs and disabilities. For this reason, we are especially interested in organisations whose programmes or interventions explicitly address the presence of these structural inequalities.

We will also be considering the extent of applicant organisations’ own commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion - through organisational practices and policies, incorporation of lived experience into programme design and delivery, and representation across the staff team.

    3. Outcomes

Organisations must be committed to improving outcomes in at least one of the below outcomes, and managing and refining their programme in the pursuit of them:

  • School attendance
  • Fixed Term Exclusions / Suspensions
  • Permanent exclusions, managed moves and unexplained school exits.

They may also be working towards improved:

  • Attainment & Qualifications
  • Post-school destinations (education, employment and training).

    4. Organisations we aren’t seeking applications from

Although there may be future opportunities, given our current portfolio and priorities, we are not currently seeking applications from:

  • Alternative provision schools or Alternative provision multi-academy trusts (AP MATs)
  • Organisations working exclusively with AP or Special schools – though those working across mainstream and AP/Special are welcome to apply
  • Organisations working exclusively on policy, with no programmatic elements
  • Interventions working directly with children but outside of schools.

    How to apply and timelines

    We have designed an initial application process that focuses only on information that is relevant to our investment decisions – the eligibility and application forms should take less than 90 minutes in total to complete and the majority of information should be easily accessible to organisational leads.

    If you think you are what we are looking for (as outlined above), and you would like to be considered as a potential Impetus charity partner, please complete the following steps.

    Please note, the below timeframe is indicative.

    Step one

    Eligibility form

    Please first complete our online eligibility form. This should not take more than 10 minutes to complete.

    Opens from 13 January 2024. Closes at midnight on 16 February 2024 (i.e. this form will closed on the morning of Saturday 17 February).

    Step two

    Application form

    If you are eligible, we will ask you to complete our application form. This should not take more than 60-70 minutes to complete if you have your organisational finance information to hand. We will also give you access to a document containing all the application questions should you prefer to compile your answers before accessing the online form.

    Closes at midnight on 16 February 2024 (i.e. this form will closed on the morning of Saturday 17 February).

    Step three

    90-minute call with your CEO

    If you make our shortlist (normally around 15-20 organisations), one of our team will be in touch to set up a 90-minute call with your CEO to get a better understanding of your organisation and programme, and for you to learn a bit more about us.

    Shortlisted organisations will be contacted by our team to arrange a call by 24 February.

    Calls will take place in pre-set slots on 28 and 29 February and 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 March (your organisation’s CEO must be available on these dates. We will not be able to be flexible on these dates and will have very limited flexibility on time slots for the calls).

    Step four

    Visit to your organisation to meet the team and observe your work where possible

    If our Investment team think that a prospective partnership between Impetus and your organisation would be a good fit based on the 90-minute call with your CEO, we will then move forward to the second “Visit Stage”.

    Two members of our team will visit your office or a delivery site (whichever preferable) for a further conversation on a different range of topics with your CEO. We will also meet with delivery team members and observe delivery if possible. Other conversations with relevant team members will also be scheduled to better understand different aspects of your work.

    Visits will take 3-4 hours and organisations that are visited but not taken forward will be compensated for their time.

    Shortlisted organisations will be contacted by our team to arrange a visit by end of day on the 8 March.

    Visits will take place on the 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, and 21 March (your CEO must be available during these dates. We will not be able to be flexible on these dates).

    Step five

    Partnership Building and Due Diligence

    We will then ask organisations that we feel are a good fit to enter a more intensive process of assessment. During this process, we will spend 12 weeks getting to know you, your organisation, your programme and your ambition for impact and growth. We will spend 2 full days with your team to understand your work in even greater detail and get to know colleagues across the organisation.

    You will also get to know us and our work in more detail and understand what a partnership with Impetus might look like.

    N.B - All information collected is used and stored in order to make informed decisions throughout the application process and is never shared externally. Our Privacy policy has more information about how we use your personal data.

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