primary & secondary education
voluntary sector

3rd Annual National Citizen Service Forum

primary & secondary education

voluntary sector

08:45 - 15:40

Thursday 23 May 2019

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only


This Forum will provide attendees with an essential opportunity to evaluate the success and impact of the National Citizen Service (NCS), and discuss how it can extend its reach by building strong relationships with education providers, voluntary organisations and the wider youth sector. Participants will receive guidance from the National Citizen Service on how to deliver lasting support to local communities, increase future participation and deliver a value for money across local communities and the wider youth services sector.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Voluntary and Secondary Education Sectors. Typical job titles will include:

  • Chief Executives
  • Directors of NCS
  • NCS Project Managers
  • Directors of Operations
  • Directors of Development
  • Heads of Partnerships
  • Youth Engagement Officers
  • Policy and Engagement Managers
  • Directors of Children and Young People
  • Education Managers
  • Heads of Citizenship
  • Head Teachers
  • Teachers

The Forum is also open to the Private Sector to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Senior Representative, National Citizen Service
  • Dr James Weinberg, Research Lead in Youth Politics, The Sir Bernard Crick Centre, University of Sheffield
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Nathan Yeowell, Head of Policy and External Affairs, Think NPC (invited)


Morning Keynote: Outlining the Current Landscape and Future Plans for the National Citizen Service

  • Reviewing the lessons learnt since becoming a Royal Charter Body in 2017, including the impact this had on achieving the NPC’s three core objectives and improving the lives of young people
  • Outlining the steps being taken by NCS when responding to calls to reduce participant costs by 12% and improve value for money for young people
  • Highlighting how NCS plan to better ensure and measure the long-term impact of their programmes, such as providing an online checklist tool for schools to assess impact at a local level
  • Detailing the next steps for NCS 2.0, including the initiatives being implemented to reach more young people and expand its network of partners from summer 2020

Senior Representative, National Citizen Service (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Increasing the Impact and Uptake of NCS Projects Through Effective Partnership Working

  • Examining how to effectively collaborate with local partners to ensure resources are maximised, expert knowledge effectively shared and NCS schemes are efficiently delivered
  • Outlining the process of effectively responding to a ‘payment by results structure’, including the impact such a structure can have on attracting young people
  • Discussing the importance of making innovation central to achieving NCS societal aims and the impact it can have on improving youth uptake in NCS projects
  • Sharing guidance on supporting smaller, local organisations to deliver the programme and ensure that commissioning processes are accessible to them

Oliver Lee OBE, Chief Executive, The Challenge (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Effectively Increasing Participation and Pupil Engagement with NCS Programmes

  • Outlining the journey of achieving the NCS Gold Champion award, as well as the ‘Champion of Champions’ shield in recognition of the impressive up-take of Year 11 students for their summer of 2018 programme
  • Examining how Rushey Mead Academy effectively supported and encouraged pupils to sign up for the summer of 2019 before the end of 2018, including offering discounted rates which resulted in over 80 students signing up
  • Sharing best practice advice on how schools can achieve high levels of participation, including promoting NCS to pupils and parents, which saw over 50% of the academy’s Year 11s participate in the 2018 programme
  • Highlighting the clear positive impact that participation in the programme has on the students, such as increased personal development and soft skills, as well as improved future attainment and prospects

Gulbanu Kader, Principal – Standards and Progress, Rushey Mead Academy (invited)


Case Study: Establishing an Award-Winning Local Authority National Citizen Service Programme

  • Outlining the process of establishing Cambridgeshire County Council’s award winning NCS programme, which reached over 165 young participants across 2018, completing 4,725 hours of Social Action in their communities
  • Sharing guidance on how organisations can ensure their NCS programmes are assessible to SEND pupils and reach not only them but their support workers, teachers, and parents and carers as well
  • Examining the impact of organising successful programmes, such as improved communication skills and confidence, as well as a decline in symptoms during the residential phase for young people with complex medical needs
  • Highlighting the key lessons learnt throughout the programme, such as the importance of engaging with school staff and effectively planning, ensuring all needs were understood and any activity was adapted to allow complete inclusivity

Winners of the National Citizen Service Award at the Children and Young People Awards 2018

Liz Morris, County Youth and Community Manager and NCS Contract Manager, Cambridgeshire County Council (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Supporting Schools and Colleges in Improving their NCS Partnerships and Programmes

  • Sharing guidance on how to effectively embed NCS into PSHE education and maximise the impact on pupils, as outlined in DfE’s National Citizen Service Guidance for Schools and Colleges Report
  • Examining how schools can boost pupil participation in NCS programmes by engaging with students and parents, utilising NCS resources and arranging NCS visits to schools
  • Discussing the role of NCS in the national curriculum, strengthening references to NCS in the Ofsted inspection framework, and publishing data on NCS participation by schools
  • Highlighting the DfE’s role in improving joint working at a local level between NCS providers, schools and colleges, including the next steps to encourage and facilitate these continued connections

Senior Representative, Department for Education/Co-author of National Citizen Service Guidance for Schools and Colleges Report (invited)


Special Keynote: Widening Participation in the NCS Through Partnerships with the Youth Service Sector

  • Outlining how UK Youth collaborates with youth service delivery partners to increase engagement in the NCS, particularly among hard-to-reach young people
  • Highlighting how NCS schemes can be expanded to better reach urban areas and considering how this can best be achieved whilst ensuring maximum benefit to participants
  • Examining the challenges that charities and youth service providers face in delivering the scheme in an urban context, and sharing best practice as to how these challenges can be overcome
  • Assessing the critical importance of local youth organisation networks in delivering NCS schemes and investing in young people, and sharing guidance on how to develop these networks

Anna Smee, Chief Executive, UK Youth (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Interactive Panel Discussion: The Future of the National Citizen Service - Is it Justifiable?

  • Assessing the impact that NCS has had to-date on participants and the local communities that the programmes have interacted with
  • Discussing the growing need to increase participation, especially among harder-to-reach young people, and how this can be best achieved
  • Debating whether the programme is achieving its three key principles of social cohesion, social engagement and social mobility
  • Analysing the long-term impact of NCS, including whether this impact is being maximised and how this can be measured

Dr James Weinberg, Research Lead in Youth Politics, The Sir Bernard Crick Centre, University of Sheffield (CONFIRMED)

Anna Smee, Chief Executive, UK Youth (invited)

Liz Morris, County Youth and Community Manager and NCS Contract Manager, Cambridgeshire County Council (invited)

Gulbanu Kader, Principal – Standards and Progress, Rushey Mead Academy (invited)


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

According to recent figures, only 100,000 teenagers took part in National Citizen Service youth programmes in 2017. This is below the participation target of 101,000 set for the year and dramatically below the 2020 target of 247,000. This trend of failing to meet its annual participation targets has continued since the NCS’s inception in 2011.

In light of a report in January 2017 from the National Audit Office, the government agreed to try to reduce the cost of NCS programme places by 12%. Furthermore, in October 2017 the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published a report concluding that the NCS “may no longer be justifiable” if it failed to meet its targets for increasing the number of participants or achieve its long-term societal aims at a cheaper cost per head. The push for a local response continued in August 2018, when the Local Government Association called for NCS funding to be redirected to local youth services. This was due to NCS programmes only attracting 12% of eligible young people, despite receiving much of government funding for youth services across the UK, whilst funding cuts have led to the loss of more than 600 youth centres around the country.

In response, the Department for Education released its National Citizen Service Guidance for Schools and Colleges Report in November 2017. The report provided suggestions about how best to use the NCS in a school or college to help develop the skills and confidence of students. As well offering advice on engaging with parents to increase participation, the report discusses the role of NCS in the national curriculum.

If the NCS is set to become an integral part of youth service provision and achieve its participation targets, delivery partners from across the education and voluntary sector as well as local authorities must come together to deliver high-quality NCS programmes. Failure to establishe new partnerships with local organisations and utilise wider sector knowledge could see an entire generation of young pupils miss out on learning vital leadership and lifestyle skills needed throughout life.

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