Impact of summer programmes on the outcomes of disadvantaged or ‘at risk’ young people

A systematic review

Muir D, Orlando C, Newton B |   | Campbell Systematic Reviews  | Jun 2024

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Do summer education and employment programmes make a difference to young people who are disadvantaged or at risk of achieving poor outcomes, and if so, to what extent and how do they do this?

Review Rationale and Context

Many intervention studies of summer programmes examine their impact on employment and education outcomes, however there is growing interest in their effect on young people's offending outcomes. Evidence on summer employment programmes shows promise on this but has not yet been synthesised. This report fills this evidence gap through a systematic review and meta‐analysis, covering summer education and summer employment programmes as their contexts and mechanisms are often similar.

Research Objective

The objective is to provide evidence on the extent to which summer programmes impact the outcomes of disadvantaged or ‘at risk’ young people.


The review employs mixed methods: we synthesise quantitative information estimating the impact of summer programme allocation/participation across the outcome domains through meta‐analysis using the random‐effects model; and we synthesise qualitative information relating to contexts, features, mechanisms and implementation issues through thematic synthesis. Literature searches were largely conducted in January 2023. 

Databases searched include: Scopus; PsychInfo; ERIC; the YFF-EGM; EEF's and TASO's toolkits; RAND's summer programmes evidence review; key academic journals; and Google Scholar.