Evaluation of the TLIF: EdisonLearning’s NAHT Aspire Project

Bernadette Stiell, Bronwen Maxwell, Sarah Reaney-Woods (SIOE) and Dawson McLean, Ruth Staunton, Suzanne Straw and Julie Nelson (NFER)

29 September 2022

Link to research report on the DfE website

Between September 2017 and May 2022, NFER and Sheffield Hallam University 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. One of these projects was EdisonLearning’s NAHT Aspire project.  This aimed to provide a one-year, whole-school improvement programme to 96 primary schools across England, led by Achievement Advisers who delivered six out-of-school Network Days with senior and middle leaders, followed by six in-school Development Days with teachers in participating schools.

Key Findings

  • NAHT Aspire met all their KPIs regarding recruitment and retention to the project. All 96 target schools were recruited from priority areas and completed the planned one-year programme. Recruitment was aided by the NAHT union badging and reputation, the track record of NAHT Aspire’s existing programme delivery, and previously established contacts, networks and communication channels.
  • All leaders interviewed were highly positive about the quality of the Achievement Adviser support and other components of the intervention including Fast Learning (an approach to develop pupils’ fluency and recall in core skills), lesson visits and Achievement Teams (data driven pupil progress meetings).
  • The project was perceived to have impacted and improved outcomes for pupils, teachers, leaders and the school more generally. Leaders felt the project had been effective at providing longer-term strategic focus and direction. Key to the perceived success of NAHT Aspire was the mutually reinforcing elements of the programme that built trust and collaboration, leadership capacity, teacher confidence and learning outcomes for pupils across all interventions and strategies.
  • Analyses of data from the School Workforce Census suggests the project may have improved retention for participants but had no statistically significant impact on progression. This finding is supported by qualitative evidence which suggests that participants were more focused on the outcomes of the project for pupils and the school, than their career progression. However, unobserved systematic differences between participant and non-participant teachers may have over-inflated estimates of the effect of the project on retention. At the school level, no statistically significant impact on retention or progression was observed.