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Life Chances Fund- Big Picture Learning Doncaster

Social Impact Bond

Location: Yorkshire and Humber, United Kingdom

Launch date: 2018

Duration: 72 months

Capital raised: £0.45m

Policy area: Education

Government outcomes fund: Life Chances Fund (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports, Big Lottery Fund)

Commissioners: Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC), Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (Central government)

Providers: Big Picture Learning UK

Investors: Big Issue Invest

Advisor: Future Public

SIB structure: Intermediated

Target population: 11 to 16 year olds in Doncaster, identified as having low social mobility, at risk of becoming NEET.

Size of cohort: 220

Stage: Implementation

Intervention description

The project seeks to address poor school attendance and education attainment amongst 11 to 16 year olds in Doncaster, identified as having low social mobility, at risk of becoming NEET. It is an innovative educational model called Big Picture Learning (BPL). BPL uses young peoples (YP’s) interests to engage YP, support progression in learning and increase resilience. BPL is a model developed in the USA and deployed to great success in over 65 schools with young people from disadvantaged communities. BPL is a licensed provision, of which Innovation Unit is the sole license holder in the UK. This is the first time it will be applied in a UK context.


The percentage of students who are inducted into the provision and have a complete and operational personal learning plan in place.

  • Definition: As above
  • Baseline: Securing the unique goals and learning needs of students upfront is not common practice in educational settings, and therefore would not be happening in other provision.
  • Maximum Payment: £9,291
  • Outcome Target (#): 91
  • Outcomes Achieved (#): N/A

Percentage of students achieving the expected progress (against baseline), as measured against their personal learning plan

  • Definition: As above
  • Baseline: Progress in their learning and personal development will enable participants to better deal with the challenges of school, further education and work, increasing the chance of improved social mobility.
  • Maximum Payment: £1,608
  • Outcome Target (#): 220
  • Outcomes Achieved (#): N/A

Percentage of students achieving targeted attendance

  • Definition: As above
  • Baseline: Persistent absence is key criteria for identifying these students for the provision. This contrasts with the performance targets set of 90% of students attend 90% of the time in years 4, 5 and 6.
  • Maximum Payment: £1,282
  • Outcome Target (#): 220
  • Outcomes Achieved (#): N/A

Increased resilience: the percentage of students maintaining or improving their STEN score on MTQ48 by =0/+0.2 against baseline

  • Definition: As above
  • Baseline: Data shows that students resilience/mental toughness reduces during their teenage years. There is evidence that intentional working to support the development of resilience can generate an increase instead.
  • Maximum Payment: £6,103
  • Outcome Target (#): 155
  • Outcomes Achieved (#): N/A

Further information

  • Referral Route: The Local Authority conduct an audit of eligible cohort using fixed term exclusion data (15 days) and then discuss these cases with schools in order to measure the ‘fit’ with the other criteria. Cases will be presented to the Inclusion panel with a clear rationale for suitability of BPL for a specific student. 
  • Total Potential Maximum Outcomes Payments: £6,317,273
  • Date Outcomes Contract Signed: 04/10/2018
  • Date Service Delivery Started: 04/01/2019

More detailed information on this project can be found in the Data Template Excel sheet linked below, with a full list of sources. All fields are defined according to our data dictionary.