Monday, May 16, 2016

Evaluation brief: understanding the impact of Youth Music’s Fund C grants portfolio, June 2016 - June 2018

Evaluation brief: understanding the impact of Youth Music's Fund C grants portfolio,
June 2016 - June 2018


We are seeking a project team to lead on the evaluation of Youth Music's Fund C grants portfolio, which comprises 13 organisations located across the country.


About Youth Music


We're a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people facing challenging circumstances.


We believe everyone should have the chance to make music.


We currently fund over 350 projects across England. That's around 75,000 children and young people regularly making music each year.


Measuring our impact


We are an outcomes-based funder with a strong culture of impact measurement. Our outcomes approach underpins everything we do as a charity and grant-maker, with five areas: musical, personal and social outcomes for young people, plus outcomes for organisations and the workforce. Applicants for Youth Music funding have the flexibility to define their own outcomes, indicators and activities, helping us to respond to local need and of-the-minute issues.


All organisations supported by Youth Music are required to produce reports which contain quantitative monitoring data (on numbers of participants, sessions, etc.) and qualitative evaluation data (on outcomes and learning). We use this information to understand best practice, demonstrate our impact to supporters and donors, and to drive change.

About our Fund C projects


Our grants portfolio is divided into three funds - A, B and C - supporting projects of differing scale, scope and time.


We support 13 strategic partner organisations nationwide through our Fund C grants. 


Fund C awards are larger grants for projects with a dual role of delivery and strategic work. The fund's aim is for grantholders to work collaboratively with other organisations and individuals to promote high-quality musically inclusive practice within music education, ensuring that children and young people in challenging circumstances can participate in, influence and progress through their musical learning.


Fund C projects play a significant part in helping us achieve our goal of a musically inclusive England. The projects will help to achieve the following aims in Youth Music's 2016-2020 Business Plan:


  • To increase impact for children and young people in challenging circumstances.
  • To increase quality and reach of musically inclusive practice.


By 'musical inclusion' we mean an approach to music learning that includes everyone and all types of music. This means that we want to see a true diversity of styles, genres, and approaches to learning available to children and young people from all backgrounds. We believe in supporting young musicians beyond first access, progressing on their individual journeys within environments that are equipped to meet their needs. Being musically inclusive means challenging our ideas of what music is for, who music is for, and what role it can have in all our lives.

We believe that true musical inclusion can only happen if there are opportunities for all children and young people to be supported as musicians across all genres and styles, by practitioners who understand their needs and worldviews and who are equipped to help them on their individual learning journeys.


What we want you to do


There are two different parts to the evaluation:


1)    Understanding our impact (external)


We want you to produce a 5,000 word final evaluation report answering the following question:


·       To what extent and in what ways have Fund C organisations made Music Education Hubs more musically inclusive?


We will share this report widely with those working in the music, arts, education, local authority and youth sectors. We would also like you to write at least two blogs for our Youth Music Network exploring the findings.



2)    Supporting strategic learning (internal)


The Fund C grants were awarded in January 2015 and last for three years. Throughout the lifetime of the programme, we want to understand how it's going, identify successes and challenges, including what makes some approaches more successful than others.  This will support Youth Music and our strategic partners to learn from each other.


We want you to produce summaries of your findings for an internal audience of Youth Music and the Fund C projects. These should be no longer than 3,000 words each.


The summary reports will address ways in which Fund C projects are helping Youth Music to achieve its aims of increasing impact for children and young people in challenging circumstances, and increasing quality and reach of musically inclusive practice.



Activity timeline




Due Date


Max word count

Attendance at Fund C national summer meeting

With opportunity to engage with Fund C partners


June 2016 (likely to be w/c 27 June)

Fund C partnership


Year 1 Summary Report

Synthesised from grantholder self-evaluation reports


31 July 2016

Fund C partnership

3,000 words

Year 2 Progress Report


31 December 2016

Youth Music

3,000 words

Year 2 Summary Report


31 July 2017

Fund C partnership

3,000 words

Year 3 Progress Report


31 December 2017

Youth Music

3,000 words

Final Evaluation


30 June 2018

Music education sector

5,000 words

Youth Music Network blog

x 2


To be proposed by evaluation partner

Music education sector

1,000 words each






Data collection


All Fund C organisations gather data and evidence for their individual self-evaluation plans. Appendix 2 (available on request – see 'How to apply') gives a summary of the type of information they are currently collecting.


We expect that you will need to collect some additional data from the Fund C projects: however we don't want to create too much extra work for them or to add onerous requirements onto their existing data collection plans.  Please take this into account when planning your evaluation methodology.


We will expect you to collect data directly from a representative sample of Music Education Hubs – and any other relevant stakeholders - in order to assess how far musically inclusive practice has been improved, introduced or embedded. 


We will commit at least one day per week of Youth Music staff time to support you with data collection throughout the project.



Your team


We want this evaluation to benefit from the collective expertise of a project team. We're looking for an evaluation team skilled in both careful, evidence-based research and clear, concise writing. We don't mind if you're currently all working for the same organisation or if you'd like to team up and apply collaboratively.


We won't accept applications from individuals, or anyone working for an organisation holding a Youth Music Fund C grant.



Our team

Nick, Learning and Evaluation Manager. Nick will project manage the evaluation from our side.


Katy, Research and Evaluation Assistant. Katy will be on hand to assist with data collection and analysis.


Sophie, Communications Manager. Sophie will work closely with you on the final evaluation report, helping you to shape your findings into a public-facing document that will be clear, informative and useful.



How to apply


Firstly, register your intent to apply and request copies of the appendices (1. Fund C overview; 2. Fund C self-evaluation evaluation summary; 3. Youth Music Grants and Learning Cycle) by emailing  



One you have registered your interest and received the appendices, please submit your application by email to Your application should be a fully-costed proposal of no more than 1,500 words (not including appendices) covering all of the points below.



  • Budget

Include a detailed budget that does not exceed £20,000 (i.e. £16,666.67 excluding VAT)


  • Organisation profile and project team

Outline your professional profile and any experience relevant to this project. List the project team, time allocation for each team member and their respective roles. CVs and an example of one previous piece of relevant work from the lead author should be included as appendices. Please include plans for the involvement of Youth Music staff as part of your proposal, including training/briefing.


  • Evaluation framework and methodology

Let us know your proposed framework, identifying the sub-questions which will help you answer the broad research question outlined above. Set out a thorough description of proposed data collection (sources, collection methods, sample questions and storage) and describe how this data will be analysed. Explain any proposed consultation with Youth Music grantholders that will inform how you approach and structure your work.


  • Ethical considerations

Explain what professional ethical standards or principles will be applied to the conduct of your research.



  • Timetable

Set out an indicative timetable for the work (including milestones), assuming a start date in June 2016. It is likely that additional data collection with Fund C projects and stakeholder organisations won't start until September 2016.


Application timeline


Deadline:                               5pm on Thursday 19 May

Invitation to interview:       Monday 30 May

Interviews:                           Wednesday 8 June

Inception meeting:             Tuesday 14 June




The following documents may be useful in planning your proposal:


Fund C applicant guidance notes:


Fund C Year 1 evaluation report template:


Youth Music's quality framework:


Evaluation of Musical Inclusion programme: