Evaluation of the Ambition Institute Transforming Teaching TLIF Project


Your school is taking part in the Ambition Institute’s (formerly the Institute for Teaching)'s Transforming Teaching project. This 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 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 has a number of components. These include an overarching fund-level evaluation, and bespoke evaluations of each project that is funded as part of the programme. Each component includes process (formative) and impact (summative) evaluations. 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 some of the participants on the Transforming Teaching programme on the impact of the project in their school. A link to the online baseline survey will be sent to participants when a school signs up for the Transforming Teaching project. A link to the end-point survey will be sent once the delivery of the programme has been completed. These surveys will ask about leadership, culture, teaching and CPD in the school. The endpoint survey will also ask participants for their views on the content and delivery of the Transforming Teaching TLIF project.
  • Case-study visits in a small sample of participating schools towards the end of the school’s participation in the project. During the visit we will conduct interviews and/or focus groups lasting 30-45 minutes with leaders and teachers who have participated in the Transforming Teaching programme and 20-30 minute interviews or focus groups with other teachers and leaders who can comment on the impact of the programme in the school. We will also conduct a small number of 30 minute focus groups with pupils, which will explore the specific strategies being promoted by the Ambition Institute. Face-to-face or telephone interviews will be undertaken with Ambition Institute staff who have delivered training and support for the case-study schools. These case studies will explore participants' experiences of the programme and the impact on themselves, the school and pupils.
  • Telephone interviews will take place with members of the Ambition Institute delivery team to understand the CPD model and gather their perspectives on the implementation of the programme and its impact.
  • An observation of an early Ambition Institute training session to help us understand the programme and the improvement priorities of participating schools.

In addition we use the following sources of secondary data:

  • National pupil database - at the end of the evaluation, we will compare pupil outcome data - attainment at KS2 and GCSE - 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 databas - at the end of the evaluation we will use schools workforce data to examine the impact that the Transforming Teaching project and the fund as a whole has had on teacher retention and progression.

Ethics and data protection

As outlined in the DfE Privacy notice that the Ambition Institute 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, teacher number and email address) to the Ambition Institute and agree for the collection and analysis of this data for research purposes. The Ambition Institute 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 Ambition Institute 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.

Participation in surveys, case studies and telephone 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 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 Dr Bronwen Maxwell (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

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.


We will produce interim reports for DfE in September/October 2019 and September/October 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/October 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
[email protected]
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
[email protected]
0114 225 5166

NFER/SHU Fair Processing Notice

DfE Privacy Statement