National Foundation for Educational Research
30 July 2014
This report sets out the findings from an evaluation carried out by NFER to provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the Lead and Emerging Practitioner School Pathfinder Project. The study comprised: a review of school Partnership Plans; case-study visits to 39 schools involving interviews with senior and middle leaders and classroom teachers in both Lead and Emerging Practitioner Schools; and the development of a standardised self-evaluation tool that would enable schools to document and evaluate their journey towards improvement.
- Most school-to-school relationships could be described as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ and were broadly characterised by schools that were: close in terms of geographical location; committed to the project; and similar in terms of characteristics, ethos and priorities.
- The Pathfinder: encouraged and supported school staff to reflect on their teaching practice; increased school leaders’, teachers’ and TAs’ awareness of different teaching methods and styles; and enabled staff to develop their teaching skills further through the sharing of practice and joint CPD.
- We recommend that the learning from the Pathfinder be applied to the National Model to ensure that schools, LAs and regional consortia are clear about the purpose of and rationale for school-to-school partnership working, the expectations placed on paired schools and what regional consortia and LAs should be doing to support this school improvement model.