Evaluation of the NAHT Aspire TLIF Project


Your school is taking part in Edison Learning's NAHT Aspire TLIF 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 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:

  • Telephone interviews with twenty senior and middle leaders who have participated in Network Days from ten schools from across the networks (ten in 2018/19 and ten in 2019/20), as schools complete their year-long engagement with NAHT Aspire. This will provide in-depth understanding of participants' experiences of the programme and perceptions of indicators of impact on themselves, the school and pupils, as well as an indication about future plans and sustainability. Interviews will take 45-60 minutes.
  • Three Edison project manager telephone interviews (in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20). These will assess progress towards targets, perceptions of implementation and reported outcomes from the programme overall. Questions will explore the extent to which the logic model assumptions and mechanisms have worked in practice, and areas of learning and further improvement. Interviews will take approximately 45 minutes.
  • Four Achievement Advisor telephone interviews (two in 2018/19 and two in 2019/20). Advisors will be selected to cover a range of school clusters. Interviews will explore their experiences, perceptions, reflections and insights into the delivery of NAHT Aspire, in particular, identifying different patterns of participant/school engagement, enablers and barriers to progress and outcomes across the range of schools that they support. Interviews will take approximately 45 minutes.
  • Observation of an early Edison NAHT Aspire 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 (including pupil attendance and exclusions and Key Stage 2 attainment) from participating schools with those from a similar set of schools that are not receiving support from 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.
  • School Workforce Census - at the end of the evaluation we will look at rates of teacher retention within the intervention schools and the local authority districts to examine the impact that the NAHT Aspire programme and the fund as a whole has had on teacher retention and progression.

Ethics and data protection

Personal data collected by Edison Learning from those involved in Network and Development Days.

As outlined in the DfE Privacy Statement that Edison Learning 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 Edison Learning and agree for the collection and analysis of this data for research purposes. Edison Learning 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 Edison to pass us your contact information (for example, your email address), so that we can contact you directly in order to ask you 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 telephone interviews is voluntary. All 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 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
[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