In December 2005, NFER was commissioned by the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) to undertake an evaluation study of four strands of the Community Leadership Strategy: the Developing Community Leaders Programme, the Challenge Workshops, the Community Leadership Networks and the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH) on-line module for leadership of extended schools.
The research involved in-depth telephone interviews with participants in all four strands and with key personnel at NCSL, as well as a survey of those NPQH candidates who had accessed the on-line module.
- Participants in all three cohorts of the Developing Community Leaders Programme reported personal gains from involvement, and some school-community projects had been successful in breaking down barriers and encouraging partnership working. The main barriers to successful completion of projects had been difficulties in establishing and maintaining links with schools and lack of time.
- The Challenge Workshops for leaders of extended schools and their chosen community partners were generally felt to have met the needs of participants, and it was predicted that many partnerships would continue after the end of the programme. The challenge workshop model was being replicated in participants' localities to stimulate interest in community leadership, although at the time the research was carried out, most were in the planning stage.
- Progress in the Community Leadership Networks had been mixed. Most had not completed their action research projects, but felt that foundations had been laid for future collaboration. Some networks had ceased to operate or changed radically in membership and objectives. Strong and enthusiastic leadership was seen as crucial to a network's success.
- The small number of candidates who had accessed the NPQH on-line module were positive about its content, presentation and quality, but it was not reaching a wide audience and needed much stronger promotion.
- The Strategy as a whole was demonstrating how barriers between schools and local communities could be broken down and mutual understanding fostered, but that this was a slow process and required commitment and the patience to build on local partnerships.
How to cite this publication:
Wade, P. and Schagen, S. (2002). Evaluation of the Community Leadership Strategy (Research Summary). Slough: NFER.