SAFER than SAFE: China Club as a model of a positive after-school initiative

Claire Cassidy, Ninetta Santoro

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This article reports on a study that investigated the effectiveness of one out-of-school activity: ‘China Club’. China Club, an initiative of Scotland’s National Centre for Languages and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools was established with the central aim of teaching Mandarin language and Chinese culture to young people from a secondary school in the West of Scotland. The article explores the success of China Club against criteria established by Durlak and Weissberg (2007) to ascertain programme success; how well the programme is: sequenced; active; focused; explicit (SAFE). We took an ethnographic case study approach, complemented by interviews with pupils, teachers and those leading the programme to investigate the effectiveness of China Club. We argue that the China Club has all the elements of a SAFE programme. Further, we suggest that more than these four factors are necessary if an out-of-school initiative is to move successfully beyond academic skills development to the personal and social growth of the individuals involved. We conclude that initiatives must also foster and include the opportunity for the development of effective relationships (R).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPedagogies: An International Journal
Issue number1
Early online date21 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Oct 2019


  • after-school programmes
  • out-of-school activities
  • relationships
  • evaluative framework


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