Palak Roy, Lydia Fletcher, Caroline Sharp, Jack Worth, Jennie Harland and Afrah Dirie
17 December 2021
Leadership Lite is a leadership development and school improvement intervention to reduce teacher workload and increase teacher satisfaction with the longer-term aim of improving teacher retention. It also aims to improve student attainment outcomes. Delivered over two years, it provides training for a senior leader, a governor, the head of the science department and all other science teaching staff.
Commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Leadership Lite was intended to be evaluated using a randomised controlled trial, to include up to 140 secondary schools across two successive cohorts and to run from September 2018 to March 2025. The programme was delivered by Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust (BHCET).
The Covid-19 school closures posed implementation challenges as normal school practices were not taking place and therefore, it was difficult to evaluate the impact of the intervention as intended. It was also not possible to collect reliable secondary attainment data due to the cancellation of GCSE exams. Hence, the trial was cancelled along with all the remaining evaluation activities.
This report presents findings based on the limited insights and data gathered at baseline and during the early stages of implementation between March 2019 and March 2020.
The school staff survey at baseline showed the following results:
- Nearly one-third of all participating science departments had at least one unfilled post for a permanent subject specialist teacher, and nearly half of these departments had struggled to recruit them for a year or longer.
- Science teachers’ self-reported use of the teaching practices identified as desirable by Leadership Lite were positively correlated with their ability to manage their workload, job satisfaction and intention to stay in teaching.
- Teachers’ perceptions of school leadership quality were positively related to having a manageable workload, job satisfaction and their intention to stay in teaching. This evidence supports the logic model and the core underlying principles of Leadership Lite.
- Pre-trial practices (or business as usual) of lesson observations and quality assurance system were distinct from those in Leadership Lite.
Findings from the initial is Implementation and Process Evaluation are given below:
- School staff perceived the CPD sessions to be relevant and of high quality.
- Fidelity, adherence and responsiveness were moderate with slightly lower than the expected engagement levels.
- Science teachers perceived that the intervention’s likelihood of success would be dependent on the attitudes and support of the senior leadership team (SLT) and some staff anticipated possible resistance to leading this type of change in their school. Direct SLT engagement in the training was moderate.