Evaluation of City Challenge Leadership Strategies

Peter Rudd, Gill Featherstone, Emily Lamont, Ruth Hart, Caroline Bergeron, George Bramley, Ben Durbin, Helen Poet, Kelly Kettlewell

05 September 2011

Four reports available to download from the National College website:
Overview report | Black Country | Greater Manchester | London

The National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services commissioned NFER to carry out an independent evaluation of the City Challenge Leadership Strategies in the Black Country, Greater Manchester and London. The research looked at the Leadership Strategy provision in the three areas including how Teaching Schools, National and Local Leaders of Education (NLEs/LLEs) and School-to-School Partnerships support improvements in leadership and teaching in these regions.

The findings are published in four reports: an overview report of activity across the three regions, and one report for each area. The reports summarise the benefits and effectiveness of the support, as well as some suggestions for improvements.

Key Findings

  • Leadership provision was viewed positively by interviewees across the three City Challenge areas and elements of the work rated particularly highly were:
    • the bespoke nature of the support
    • the creation of a school-to-school support network within each area
    • making use of existing resources and expertise
    • opportunities to work across boundaries
    • the use of mentoring and coaching
    • the calibre and commitment of the professionals coordinating and delivering the support.
  • The teaching schools model was viewed positively by all those involved in it, either as providers or as recipients. This was seen to provide high-quality CPD which often re-energised teachers. The training programmes were also viewed as good quality and good value for money.
  • NLE/LLE provision was also perceived to be highly successful. Recipient schools were enthusiastic about the bespoke, customised nature of this provision and they were pleased that they were active, reciprocal participants in the school improvement process (it was not ‘done to’ them). They particularly appreciated the school-based nature of the provision, which gave it credibility and grounding.
  • Leadership Strategies were viewed as representing good value for money, largely related to the mode of delivery (e.g. school-to-school support), the quality of the provision and the impacts of the programmes (e.g. improved leadership capacity and whole-school improvements).
Read the report Read the article