Professional external evaluator Dr Stephen Bigger, Director of the Centre for Education and Inclusion, University of Worcester has collected much evidence over a years investigation from schools showing that teenagers participating in SYEP courses, who had previously viewed themselves as worthless or unable to make a valued contribution to society, feel more positive about themselves. Teachers, parents and Learning Mentors notice a significant improvement in the attitude, behaviour and attendance at school in those who have completed the course. For example, two teenage girls facing exclusion from school were able to change their behaviour in such a way that they became school prefects some months after completing the SYEP course. Reports on scores of disadvantaged young people who have participated in the course have highlighted their increased ability to manage anger and stress more effectively, with improvements in disruptive behaviour at school and home. Also a growing number of young people have demonstrated a willingness and ability to engage in service to the community.
Dr Stephen Bigger, in his Evaluation of the Swindon Young People's Empowerment Programme 2006: Interim Report, writes:
"The Learning Mentors who operate the programme in schools regard it as most effective and have enthusiastic views on their training. Pupils who have been through the programme express strong views that it has been personally effective to them and even “turned them round” from failure to success.
"All concerned have the highest opinion of the effectiveness of this programme in terms of increasing the personal confidence of
disaffected young people and giving them a sense of direction, agency and aspiration."
Dr Stephen Bigger has also reported :
"In my view, the Swindon Young People's Empowerment Programme has distinctive methods in focusing on the needs of 'dispirited' young people which are already beginning to grow beyond Swindon and have the potential to become much more widespread. This concern for building self-esteem and personal meaning is an important factor in truancy and disaffection, and is very appropriate for a faith community. This Bahá'í contribution has been in the experience of those involved has been open and inclusive social action, bringing benefits to a wide range of young people in Swindon. This could also make a major contribution to the government's concern for both spirituality in schools, and the social and emotional aspects of learning".