Evaluation of Future Physics Leaders Project

Background

Your school is taking part in the Institute of Physics’ Future Physics Leaders professional development project which aims to increase capacity and capability for physics teaching, leadership and coaching. The project is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) through its Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund (TLIF), a three-year investment programme, which supports high-quality professional development for teachers and school leaders in the areas and schools in England that need it most. The TLIF programme aims to improve the outcomes of children and young people, thereby making a significant contribution towards tackling social mobility.

The evaluation

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE) have been commissioned by the DfE to evaluate TLIF. The evaluation includes an overarching fund-level evaluation, and bespoke evaluations of each project that is funded as part of the programme. Each project includes a process (formative) and impact (summative) evaluation. The evaluation will be conducted between November 2017 and October 2021.

The objectives of the evaluation are to:

  • assess the effectiveness of the fund overall and the individual projects that have received funding
  • assess the outcomes and impacts of the fund overall and the individual projects, and explore how these vary depending on the focus of the project, delivery model, and participant and school characteristics
  • compare and contrast the outcomes and additionality (added value) of individual projects or types of projects across the fund
  • examine how TLIF has influenced the wider CPD market, and how it has interacted with other targeted funds such as Opportunity Areas and the Strategic School Improvement Fund
  • share emerging evidence with the Department on what works in teacher CPD and leadership development.

Data we will collect

During the project we will undertake:

  • Baseline and end-point surveys with teachers who are recipients of the Future Physics Leaders support to explore perceptions of the impacts of the project. A link to the online baseline survey will be sent to participants when a school signs up for the Future Physics Leaders project. A link to the end-point survey will be sent following approximately 12 months involvement with the project. These 15 minute surveys will ask about your experiences of teaching/leading physics (as appropriate to your role) together with questions about your views on teaching and leadership in your school more generally and your perceptions of the support received through the Future Physics Leaders project.
  • Case-study telephone interviews in a small sample of participating schools towards the end of the school’s participation in the project to explore experiences of the professional development and the impact on participants, pupils and the school. We would like to conduct telephone interviews lasting 30-45 minutes with teachers who have participated in the Future Physics Leaders project, and 20-30 minute telephone interviews with Heads of Physics/Science who can comment on the impact of the project in the department.
  • Telephone interviews with members of the Future Physics Leaders delivery team to understand the CPD model and gather their perspectives on the implementation of the programme and its impact.

In addition, we will use the following sources of secondary data:

  • National pupil database - at the end of the evaluation, we will compare pupil outcome data - physics attainment at GCSE and A-level physics participation - from participating schools with those from a comparison group of similar schools who are not receiving support through the TLIF. This will enable us to assess what would have happened if the fund had not been introduced, and to investigate the extent to which funded activities add value to existing practices.
  • Schools workforce database - at the end of the evaluation, we will use schools workforce data to examine the impact that the Future Physics Leaders project and the fund as a whole has had on teacher retention and progression.

Ethics and data protection

Personal data collected by the Institute of Physics from those involved in receiving the support

As outlined in the DfE Privacy Statement that the Institute of Physics will have sent participants when they started the project, teachers and leaders participating in projects funded by TLIF are required to provide personal information (such as your name and teacher number) to the Institute of Physics and agree for the collection and analysis of this data for research purposes. The Institute of Physics is contractually bound to provide that information to DfE. This information will be shared with NFER and the SIoE for research purposes only, including linking to national data-sets such as the Schools Workforce Census. Additionally NFER/SIOE will ask the Institute of Physics to pass us your contact information (for example, your email address), so that we can contact you directly in order to ask you to complete our survey, or to be involved in an interview. Any personal data shared between the NFER, the SIoE and DfE will be handled securely and confidentially. We set out how we will use your personal data and the legal basis for processing your personal data in the evaluation Fair Processing Notice.

Voluntary participation, confidentiality and right to withdraw

Participation in surveys and case study interviews is voluntary. By completing the survey you will be agreeing to your data being used in an aggregated and anonymous form in reporting. All case study and telephone interview data will be analysed anonymously. 

You can withdraw your data at any point until it has become fully anonymised and aggregated into the analysis at which point we would be unable to identify it. If you wish to withdraw your data please notify Suzanne Straw (contact details below). Your decision to take part or withdraw from the evaluation will not influence your participation in the TLIF programme in any way.

In all reporting, no individual participant or school will be identified or identifiable.

Further information on our ethics code of practice

Further information on our ethics code of practice

NFER and SIoE will conduct the project in line with NFER’s Code of Practice, which complies with Social Research Association (SRA) and Market Research Society (MRS) guidelines. Ethics approval has been obtained through Sheffield Hallam University's Faculty of Development and Society's Ethics Committee.

Reporting

We will produce interim reports for DfE in September 2019 and September 2020 to share learning on effective CPD and inform funding prioritisation during the lifetime of the fund. These reports will not be published. A final report will be completed in September 2021 and published on the DfE website.

We may also present our findings at conferences and publish articles in professional and academic journals.

For further information about this evaluation, please contact:

Suzanne Straw (NFER Project Director)
Deputy Head of Centre for Evaluation and Consultancy
National Foundation for Educational Research, Unit G3, IT Centre
York Science Park, Heslington, York, YO10 5NP
S.Straw@nfer.ac.uk
01904 567661

Dr Bronwen Maxwell (SIOE Project Director)
Head of Commissioned Research and Deputy Head of Centre for Research and Knowledge Exchange
SIoE, Sheffield Hallam University
S1 1WB
B.Maxwell@shu.ac.uk
0114 225 5166

NFER/SHU Fair Processing Notice

DfE Privacy Statement