Case study: Evaluation of Timesliders for the National Trust for Scotland
Timesliders is an education programme piloted by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) during January-March 2023. The programme, designed by creative consultant Ben Humphrey, aimed to engage primary school pupils through storytelling, live theatre and the use of digital technology. NTS selected Pollok House as the focus for the pilot.
Timesliders had three key elements
- A theatre show, entitled ‘The natural history of Scotland in 30 minutes’, was taken into schools with the interactive performance delivered by two professional actors.
- Five podcasts designed to tell the time travelling story of two characters, Kyla and Eden, with teachers encouraged to play these to their pupils ahead of their visit to Pollok
- The final element of the programme was a school visit to Pollok House where pupils assisted Kyla and Eden by engaging with a Portrait of the Past (a ‘talking’ painting where pupils were tasked to help a historical figure escape from the portrait) and undertaking challenges in the Still Quest Room. The Pollok House experience was designed to challenge pupils’ numeracy, literacy and teamwork skills.
The three participating schools, located close to Pollok House, engaged with all three elements.
NTS required the plot to be evaluated to identify what aspects worked and which areas needed further development if Timesliders was to be rolled out across other properties.
The evaluation programme, managed by Scotinform, aimed to capture feedback from the full range of stakeholders (the Timesliders Project Team, staff at Pollok House, participating teachers and pupils).
The research included a range of methodologies:
- Online surveys sent to teachers following participation in each element of Timesliders
- Sentence completion undertaken by pupils whilst at Pollok House
- Depth interviews with the six members of the Timesliders Project Team
Scotinform worked closely with all members of the Timesliders Project Team, ensuring that all had input to the research programme and were made aware of findings as they were captured. Scotinform also produced an evaluation toolkit for the project which included templates of research tools and which can be used by NTS as Timesliders takes place at other properties.
By working with us, NTS were able to capture feedback from teachers and pupils who took part in the Timesliders pilot programme, to inform the work going forward.
Our mixed methodologies ensured that we were able to capture quotes from the pupils to understand how they felt about the programme, as well as statistical information about engagement and participation that will feed in to the future development of NTS’ education strategy and learning programmes.
More widely, the work helped NTS to demonstrate the benefits of projects of this to support the NTS vision to provide access to Nature, Beauty and Heritage for everyone.
NTS has used the findings to share across the organisation. The pilot has identified what works well in terms of delivery to schools and the evaluation element of the programme will continue to be embedded going forward.
We will work closely with clients to embed evaluation and use skillsharing as part of our project delivery, ensuring clients have a better understanding of the process.
We will present the research findings in a way that makes sense to you and your stakeholders, and best allows you to use the information to make good decisions.
We are as intrigued as you if we find something unexpected – and will work hard to understand what the data is telling us.
We enjoy meeting with you and your team to talk research and will not hold you to a set number of meetings if it means that our reporting can be more effective.