Guidance and Evaluation

In this Guidance Area we post documents connected to identity, diversity, equality, community, SMSC including British values, safeguarding, bullying and the National Curriculum.

Summary documents made by TLN of the latest guidance from the Ofsted Inspection Handbook, DfE British values and SMSC Guidance from the DfE.  These can be useful for delivering staff training on SMSC or Schools Linking. We update these when documents are updated so do please check back here for updates.


Evaluations of Schools Linking 

  • NFER evaluation This evaluation published in 2011 looked at the expansion of Schools Linking nationally.

  • Linking Evaluation 2009  This evaluation was of the Bradford Schools Linking programme as it had evolved and was being adopted in other local authority areas.
  • Evaluation 2006   This evaluation was of the Bradford Schools Linking Programme and was led by Anni Raw.

Extracts from Evaluations of Schools Linking process.

‘Social Contact Theory underpins the design of the Schools Linking programme and is embedded in the teacher training and the guidance for the programme. The intergroup contact hypothesis  was proposed by Allport (1954) and further research has confirmed the importance of contact in reducing prejudice providing key conditions are in place. The process moves ‘Us vs. Them’ to a more inclusive ‘We’. Care is needed as contact can have a negative impact if key conditions are not in place. ‘Conversely, lack of positive contact, or contact which is negative, can increase the likelihood of prejudice.’ (Ray, Sharp and Abrams, 2006:6-7). Researchers have found that there can be problems with getting a more prejudiced individual into the contact situation in the first place. In schools we don’t have this challenge as everyone is present.

Positive effects of intergroup contact occur in contact situations which have the following key conditions:

  • meaningful interaction between individuals,
  • equal status,
  • intergroup cooperation,
  • common goals,
  • support by social and institutional authorities.

‘TLN’s use of Contract Theory is tailored to the schools linking context and serves as a useful, and respected, theoretical underpinning of their work.’(Shannahan, CTPRS Evaluation 2018)

Ref: Schools Linking and Social Cohesion, An Evaluation of The Linking Network’s Schools Linking National Programme, Chris Shannahan, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, July 2018


Evaluations of The Linking Network linking show that the linking model can achieve powerful impact where pupils gain:

  • Increased respect for others, self-confidence, self-efficacy
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of complex issues and willingness to voice opinions and listen to others
  • School linking can have a positive impact on many aspects of pupils’ skills, attitudes, perceptions and behaviours, particularly their respect for others, their self-confidence and their self-efficacy, as well as broadening the social groups with whom pupils interact.

Key Findings

  • The key determinant of the impact and outcomes of school linking for pupils is the intensity of the school linking experience. Linking had the greatest positive impact when the children at the linked schools met two or more times a year.
  • School linking can have a positive impact on many aspects of pupil’s skills, attitudes, perceptions and behaviours, particularly their respect for others, their self-confidence and their self-efficacy.
  • LAs have a critical role to play in supporting the  programme in schools through partnership working with schools at local level.
  • School and LA staff also benefit from the programme in terms of CPD, opportunities for self reflection and learning about their pupils.
  • The majority of schools and LAs who took part in the programme planned to continue their involvement.
  • The programme was considered to be highly cost effective in relation to the impacts and outcomes it achieved.
  • The sustainability of school linking is improved where conscious attempts are made to embed the learning across the school curriculum.

Evaluation of the Schools Linking Network: Final Report, NFER, March 2011[7]

Ref: Kerr, D. et al. (2011) Evaluation of the schools linking network: Final report, Research report DFE-RR090, National Foundation for Educational research. Available at:


The Casey review conducted by the government in 2016  states that ‘There is strong evidence around the benefits that can derive from high levels of meaningful contact between people from different backgrounds’(5) .

Analysis of the academic evidence base and a number of case studies conducted for the review suggests that social mixing can:

  • reduce prejudice;
  • .  increase trust and understanding between groups (with a knock-on effect that allows negative perceptions of other groups to be challenged);
  • lead to a greater sense of togetherness and common ground; and
  • promote resilience to extremist ideologies and provide a challenge to dangerous world views.

Whereas, a lack of mixing can:

  • reinforce ethnic segregation, even in diverse areas; and
  • increase community tensions and risk of conflict.’


Ref: The Casey Review of opportunity and Integration (DCLG:2016)


Papers about Schools Linking

‘If you could do one thing’ British Academy Essay: 10 local actions to promote social integration. TLN contributed essay 5


Promoting Ethnic and Religious Integration In Schools: A Review of Evidence

This review was commissioned by the DfE and undertaken by NIESR and references Schools Linking and also the resources Schools Linking provides for classroom use


RE and good community relations:
What can RE learn from social psychology? A Toolkit for Teachers of RE

TLN spoke to the authors of this really helpful toolkit which outlines Social Contact Theory – TLN work is featured on page 10 on

Reports and Papers