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SSCN / RESEARCH  / Hills, Walker and Dixon 2019

Hills, Walker and Dixon 2019

What is it about? (Aim/objectives)

Reviewing the effects and ‘why it works’ (experiences, mechanism and processes) of the pilot programme of Magic Bus that was transferred from India to the London Borough of Lambeth (United Kingdom) to be implemented during PE lessons

Where is it from? (Context/location)

United Kingdom

Who are involved? (Research participants)

157 children (6 – 10 years) from 3 schools (completed questionnaires) and 24 (12 boys and 12 girls took part in focus groups) and 6 school teachers were interviewed who were involved in the Magic Bus Explorer programme in the UK.

What are the readings and main concepts?

Programme outcomes related to:

  • Relationships – social competence (the ability to achieve goals, appreciate the perspectives of others, have positive relationships and handle interpersonal relationships well); conflict management (respond effectively when there are disagreements); and bullying (when someone
    is deliberately and repeatedly frightening weaker than themselves for no reason).
  • Goalsetting – having an action plan to motivate and guide one or group towards a goal.
  • Broader outcomes – sense of community in school (needs-fulfilment, group membership,
    influence and emotional connections) and emotional wellness (ability to handle one’s emotions constructively and enabling a positive emotional state).
What are the main lessons? (Discussion/Reflections/Learnings)

The Explorer programme in the UK mostly tried to see how the delivery methodology should work.


  • Lack of focus on clearly defined and measurable (local) social needs. The planning should have a theory of change to map the envisaged changes of identified needs for the participants. Too many outcomes (they were reduced from 20 to 12) but ‘what’ and ‘how to measure’ were not clear. Programme had no clear core mission.
  • Programme goals not aligned – theory of change should guide what to change (from undesirable to desirable behaviour) and map processes, experiences and mechanism to effectively apply available resources to achieve focused and measurable outcomes. Too many outcomes (15) for 35 weekly sessions of 45 minutes per week.
  • Lack of programme clarity – include, PE, sport, social and health education to align with school curriculum of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) (prescribed 2 hours of PE and 30 min of PSHE per week).
  • Too much focus on PSHE and integrate value-education in practices and not delivering on sport-based and national curriculum outcomes (e.g. sport ability, physical literacy and fostering a positive attitude for lifelong healthy living) – not understanding the context (curriculum/school).
Is it useful? (Chat room, knowledge sharing)

In your programme designs, do you have clear and directives between actions/input, processes/outputs and effects/outcomes (cause-effect relationship and evidence of delivering on existing problems or

In your programmes, are all stakeholders expectations clearly aligned? Do you understand the context? Do you deliver your programme for optimal effect and meet the legal requirements (as per school sport or PE in-school curriculum)? Do you add value to the household, school and broader community?

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