New Relationship With Schools: Evaluation of Trial LEAs and Schools

Peter Rudd, Karen Halsey, Mary Atkinson, Michelle Judkins

08 November 2005

Research report available to download from DFE

Research brief available to download from DFE

The New Relationship with Schools (NRwS) was first announced in January 2004 after schools and the DfES had highlighted bureaucracy as an ongoing issue in both primary and secondary schools. The DfES identified the need for a new relationship between the DfES, LEAs and schools and a need for closer alignment of national and local priorities. This report outlines the key findings from a national evaluation of the first-year trials of the New Relationship carried out by NFER. The trials took place in the period September 2004 to July 2005 and involved 93 schools in eight local authorities.

The findings are based on a questionnaire survey of all NRwS headteachers and two waves of in-depth interviews carried out as part of school and local authority case-study visits. The evaluation focused on the four school reform strands of the NRwS: School Self-Evaluation; the School Profile; the Single Conversation (including the notion of a 'single plan') and the School Improvement Partner (SIP). The study also aimed to look at the processes behind the implementation of these strands, including an assessment of the extent to which the NRwS had:

  • helped schools to raise standards
  • reduced bureaucracy in the current system
  • more closely aligned national and local priorities
  • released greater local initiative and energy in schools.
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