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Resources for working with young people

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There exists a huge array of colourful and well researched resources, support and vocational training which may help inform how you involve young people with your research. The field is extensive, and this is only a selection of what's available.

You may also want to take a look at School-University Partnerships Initiative to find out more about how universities are working with schools.

  • Children and Youth Participation Guide
    • A comprehensive UNICEF compilation of worldwide resources in the field, this guide addresses the growing need to organise the literature on children's participation. It provides a user-friendly directory of key resources through an extensive annotated bibliography with links to websites, where available. Every aspect of youth participation is covered: ethics, standards and funding; involvement in research through to evaluation; participation in programme areas and involvement in political decision making. Within these four broad categories, documents are organized into 27 thematic areas which demonstrate the wide range of activities in which children and young people are involved. Intended as a reference document, most users will read specific chapters rather than the whole guide from cover to cover. Download the guide here.
  • Participation Works - How To Guides
    • Participation Works, a consortium of six national children and youth agencies, enables organisations to effectively involve children and young people in service development, delivery and evaluation. The website is an online gateway to a wide selection of information and resources related to the effective engagement of children and young people in decision-making. The set of fourteen How To Guides cover a broad range of topics, from tools and methods for engagement; involving children in research; funding applications; recruitment and governance, and involving children from minority and disabled groups. Take a look at the 'How To' guides here.
  • DIY Guide to improving your community - getting children and young people involved
    • Produced by Save the Children (2005), this guide contains tried and tested methods to involve children and young people in their local community and its regeneration. The document contains three main sections: 'Starting Up', 'Preparation' and 'Taking Action', with case studies, methods, hints and tips, and signposting to other useful resources. Common pitfalls to youth participation are addressed. The methods are adaptable to a wide range of situations other than community development. The comprehensive glossary is a valuable, jargon-busting resource in its own right. Download the guide here.
  • So you want to consult with children? A toolkit of good practice
    • Published by Save the Children (2003) this toolkit offers advice, ideas and guidance for involving children in consultations at national, regional and international levels. It is intended as a flexible tool for anyone who needs to involve children in consultations or similar events where children's views are being sought. Well signposted and with checklists, this resource aims to ensure children are actively and meaningfully involved in making decisions on the issues affecting them. Download the toolkit here.
  • Essentials: Participation - tried and tested, creative participation activities
    • The Unite Participation team (2008) at East Sussex County Council have produced a set of toolkits for supporting those involved in children and young people's participation. The Essentials: Participation toolkit is full of creative and practical activities to engage children and young people in planning and consultations, easily adaptable for meetings, workshops and conferences. It is based on national standards and policies, including Every Child Matters, and the National Youth Agency/Local Government Association's Hear by Right. With signposts to various strategies associated with youth participation, it also includes guidance on recording, monitoring and evaluating of such activities. The toolkit is a resource which will be added to over time with new information. The Essentials: Evaluation toolkit offers lots of creative and innovative ideas for involving children and young people in service evaluations.
  • Hear by Right standards for the active involvement of children and young people
    • The Hear by Right standards framework is designed to support any organisation or service wishing to embed young people's participation in its activities. It aims to foster sustained, beneficial participation of children and young people and to encourage continual improvement in an organisation's activities. The framework encourages inclusion of a wide range of children and young people, while urging care in choosing approaches appropriate to different ages, abilities and understanding. This is a flexible tool that has been used within Local Authorities, Health providers, Education environments, the Voluntary, Community and Third sector as well as part of the implementation of Children's Trusts. Download the framework here.
  • Democracy Cookbook
    • Produced by the Electoral Commission (2005, 2007), this educational tool for youth workers, teachers and other democracy practitioners aims to help children and young people understand how our democracy works. Written in an engaging style, the Cookbook provides both the ingredients (information, fact sheets, case studies and explanations) and the recipes (activities, games and discussion points) to foster understanding of local democracy. The ingredients and the recipes can be mixed and matched, and there are links to related issues throughout the Cookbook. Download the cookbook here.
  • Taking a Leading Role - A good practice guide
    • The use of role models is one tool to inspire young people. Positive role model schemes for promoting science, engineering and technology (SET) to young people use SET practitioners. The research shows that role models can make SET seem more exciting, interesting and relevant. This research was drawn from a range of schemes to ensure that the guide has wide applicability (e.g. girls, children from ethnic minorities, different age groups). The guide is written in three sections intended for scheme organisers, the role models themselves and teachers. Download the guide here.
  • BBSRC - Science in Society. Schools and Young People: Teaching Resources
    • Engaging with young people forms part of the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Science in Society programme. BBSRC provide free teaching resources for primary & secondary school science education, and information on school-scientist links. Their objective is to enthuse & inspire young people about science; empowering them as future citizens to participate in public dialogue about science & to pursue science-based careers. The school-scientist links & teaching resources enable & encourage researchers to engage with young people, teachers & education professionals, stimulating discussion about the cutting edge research BBSRC funds. BBSRC are one of 7 Research Councils that work together as Research Councils UK. They are funded by the Government's Department for Business, Innovation & Skills & support around 1600 scientists & 2000 research students in universities & institutes across the UK. 
  • Enquiring Minds
    • Enquiring Minds (2007) is a research and development project exploring questions of educational change. It aims to enable students to take more responsibility for the content, processes and outcomes of their learning. Based on the belief that students bring to school valid and important knowledge and cultural experiences, the project is an attempt to bring about deeper engagement in learning by building upon students' own interests and needs. The Practical Ideas and Resources sections will help teachers develop ways to respond sensitively and practically to children's lives and existing knowledge, helping students and teacher think and learn together. Download Enquiring Minds here.
  • Introduction to working with young people in practice
    • The Open University run a 60-credit module to help you develop the skills and understanding needed to work effectively with young people and support their informal learning. The course focuses on three main themes (i) working with young people in context, (ii) developing relationships with young people, and (iii) working with young people in groups and communities. Find out more here.