Evaluation of the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund (TLIF)

Suzanne Straw and Julie Nelson (NFER) and Bronwen Maxwell and Mike Coldwell (SIOE)

29 September 2022

Between September 2017 and May 2022, NFER undertook the evaluation of TLIF, a three-year funding programme which aimed to support projects offering high-quality continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers and school leaders in the areas and schools in England that needed it most. The overall aim was to improve the outcomes of children and young people, thereby making a significant contribution towards tackling social mobility. The evaluation focused on eight projects delivered by: Ambition Institute; EdisonLearning; Education Development Trust and Chartered College of Teaching; Geographical Association and Association for Science Education; Institute of Physics; Teacher Development Trust; Teach First and Tom Bennett Training.

Key Findings

  • All projects met or almost met their school and participant recruitment targets. Recruitment was supported by providers’ use of existing school networks, understanding of schools’ needs, distinctive and flexible offers, effective targeting, and reputation and credibility.
  • Most projects achieved high levels of participant satisfaction, and there was strong evidence that projects contributed to positive changes in individuals’ personal teaching and leadership practices. Projects also had a positive impact on direct project participants’ retention in teaching but no observable impact on participating schools as a whole. Although initially intended, pupil outcomes were not explored due to exams being cancelled during the pandemic.
  • Features of effective provision included: an appropriate and skilled delivery team; tailoring; and being responsive to feedback. Audits, face-to-face coaching, mentoring and training/workshops with individual/groups of schools proved effective.
  • Implementation of learning was supported by: structured in-school support; the incorporation of ‘plan-do-review’ processes; the use of practical, actionable approaches and resources introduced or practised during CPD; and the involvement of a number of people from the same school, thereby building capacity.
  • There was evidence, across all projects, that participants had made potentially sustainable changes to their personal practices. However, at the department and/or school level, there were fewer examples.