How key partnerships are developing to benefit more pupils and teaching staff

Evolve works with innovative partners who share our ethos and help us in our mission to improve children’s lives.
At the centre of this network of educational excellence is Evolve’s Regional Manager for West Yorkshire, Sascha MacDonald, who has taken on a new leadership role to develop this service.
He introduces schools we work with to educational partners who will further benefit their pupils’ learning and wellbeing, alongside our intervention.
To maximise the outcome for pupils, our Health Mentors are trained and familiar with many of the partners’ products, enabling them to deliver the interventions effectively.
Evolve Sascha MacDonald2Sascha (pictured left) explains: “My leadership role with partnerships is designed to grow how Evolve and our partners work together to add value to each other’s existing offer to schools. In this way we can offer schools a more comprehensive package than they would be able to achieve by buying in our partners separately.
“So far we have introduced a number of our partners to schools we already work with. From the schools’ perspectives, they have benefited from having Evolve Health Mentors who are familiar with the product and able to deliver high-quality sessions without additional training.
“Schools trust our advice, so this benefits our partners when we make recommendations.”
Sascha says care is taken to plan and develop relationships, so that Evolve and our partners can reach out to more children.
“Many of our partners have mainstream value, but they also have a track record in engaging pupils who are difficult to reach out to,” he adds. “The key is to match the right partner to the right school, which is part of my new role. Regional Managers and perhaps, most importantly, Health Mentors are key to making the right suggestions to schools.”
An example of a partnership working is Evolve’s tie-up with Heart Research UK. Evolve Health Mentors (pictured above after training) deliver Healthy Heart interactive sessions in schools in England and Wales on behalf of the charity.
The programme is free to schools and adopts an active learning approach, including an interactive game show format to teach pupils about heart health and encourage them to make healthier lifestyle choices.
“We’ve had a number of positive comments from children and teachers at schools we’ve delivered Heart Research UK talks to,” Sascha says.
And Barbara Dinsdale, Head of Lifestyle at Heart Research UK, said: “We consistently receive positive feedback from teaching staff praising both the content and quality of delivery of the programme by Evolve staff in schools.”
A more recent partner is Altruist Enterprises– an award-winning social enterprise, which provides interactive training workshops to help schools prevent, identify and tackle mental health problems within their setting.
“Altruist are another string to our bow,” says Sascha. “They offer something for staff rather than pupils, that’s the key difference. For example, they are offering schools training ahead of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) updated version of the Management Standards for Stress. This will prove invaluable.”
Sascha is well placed to recommend partners that can enhance or complement Evolve’s programme, as he began his Evolve career with a hands-on role with pupils and saw their needs first-hand.
“I started my Evolve career as a Health Mentor in May 2014, working in schools to deliver transition sessions for Year 6 pupils who were about to move to Year 7,” he says.
“Then came our XLR8 transition programme, followed by my working across five schools in West Yorkshire. The best part was mentoring children around the issues that were preventing them from attaining their full potential in school and seeing them grow in confidence.
“I’ve seen first-hand how working with partners has enhanced and had an impact on the work we do as Health Mentors, for pupils’ learning and improving  their physical and mental wellbeing.”
Potential schools are welcome to contact Sascha via email at sascha@evolvesi.com, phone on 07966 750 314 or through Twitter to @SaschaMcDonald.
To find out more information about our partners visit www.evolvesi.com/partners  or contact Sascha through the details above.