Evaluation of Evidence for the Frontline

What is the project about?

Evidence for the Frontline (E4F) is a brokerage service being developed to support schools to engage with and use research evidence more effectively. The brokerage service will signpost teachers and school leaders to relevant evidence on what works in supporting young people's learning. The service is being developed by Sandringham School and the Institute for Effective Education at the University of York, with support from the Coalition for Evidence Based Education (CEBE).

Who is conducting the evaluation?

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is funding the development and evaluation of the service. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) is undertaking the independent formative evaluation.

What are the evaluation aims?

The evaluation aims are to explore: the best design for such a service, demand for such a service, the supply of academic expertise and suitable outcome measures for any future trial. We will interview and survey school staff, academics and the delivery team to: understand how the service is being used, identify potential improvements, and make recommendations about how to evaluate its impact in a larger trial.

What will the research involve?

The evaluation will involve: developing a theory of change, devising a monitoring tool, workshops, interviews and surveys with 11 Developer and a further 20 Pilot schools, interviews with academics, and NFER's Teacher Voice Survey.

How will Developer schools be involved?

Representatives from Developer schools will attend workshops to shape and design the service. NFER researchers will attend a workshop to gather your views on the service to date. Developer schools will continue into the Pilot phase.

How will Pilot schools be involved?

Pilot schools will be able to use the E4F service from September 2015. We will ask a range of staff from all Pilot phase schools to complete a baseline and follow-up survey. We will also interview representatives from seven Pilot phase schools to discuss the effectiveness and perceived impact of the service. If schools haven’t used the service, we may call them to find out about any barriers or challenges.

When will schools need to get involved?



April-August 2015

Developer schools

Workshops - Three developer workshops to

support the design of the service. Discussions with

NFER at Workshop 2

Early September 2015

Developer and Pilot schools

Baseline survey for all - Developer and Pilot

schools (for the school lead contact, a member of

SLT, and up to two teachers)

September 2015 - January 2016

Developer and pilot schools

Workshops to launch and enhance the use of the

service. NFER observations at the September

launch workshop

March - May 2016

Developer and pilot schools

Telephone interviews with seven schools from

across the Developer and Pilot phase (up to three

representatives per school) to produce 'school

profiles' and vignettes

June 2016

Developer and pilot schools

Follow-up online staff survey for all - Developer

and Pilot schools (for all baseline respondents and

service users).

How will schools benefit from taking part?

Schools involved in the development phase of the project will have an active role in shaping the brokerage service. Pilot phase participants will benefit from access to a trained broker and being directed to evidence, resources, other school practitioners and/or an expert researcher in the field. If rolled out, schools accessing the service will be better placed to make evidence-based decisions to support learners in their school.

Do schools have to take part?

Sandringham School are recruiting schools to the Development and Pilot phases of this project. Schools agreeing to take part in the Development and Pilot phases will be expected to contribute to the evaluation to ensure that the service is developed in a way that meets schools’ needs and that its impact can be properly investigated. The evaluation is designed to minimise demands on your school. We are working with Sandringham School to ensure we do not ask for duplicate information.

How will NFER use and protect the data collected?

All data gathered will only be used for the purposes of this evaluation. It will be treated in strict confidence and survey data will be anonymised in line with the Data Protection Act 1998. The data collected from the questionnaires will be passed onto EEF and the Fischer Family Trust (the organisation that manages EEF’s data archive) individually anonymised. It will be stored on the EEF data archive and UK Data Archive for research purposes. No individual staff members will be identified in any report arising from this evaluation.

We are planning to include a small number of vignettes in the report which will be signed off by the schools prior to any publication. If these schools agree, they will be named in the interests of information sharing.

How will the findings be used?

The findings from the project will be freely available on the EEF’s website. They will be used to inform the education sector about the brokerage service.

Who can I contact for more information?

Pippa Lord, the Project Leader at NFER, is very happy to answer any questions you might have. Please contact her on 01904 567633 or p.lord@nfer.ac.uk