Evaluation of the TLIF: The Ambition Institute’s Transforming Teaching Project

Eleanor Byrne, Sarah Reaney-Wood and Mike Coldwell (SIOE) and Julie Nelson, Dawson McLean, Ruth Staunton and Jack Worth (NFER)

29 September 2022

 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 the Ambition Institute’s Transforming Teaching Project. The project aimed to address issues affecting the progression of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds by working to support excellent teaching through sustained, intensive CPD interventions focused on improving teaching practices, teacher retention and teacher career progression.

Key Findings

  • The project did not face any significant challenges in the recruitment of participants. The Ambition Institute's contractual targets were to deliver training to 1365 participants in 61 schools across three cohorts over three years. The DfE’s Management Information (MI) showed that 1359 participants were recruited from 55 schools.
  • Participants valued the project’s interactive training, flexible delivery, the appropriateness of the CPD content, and the expertise of the CPD delivery team. In contrast, the scheduling of CPD delivery and the repetition of content were cited as negative aspects of the project by some. Perceived challenges to effective in-school implementation related to staff turnover and resource development issues.
  • The surveys identified significant positive changes in effective school leadership, perception of school teaching quality, motivation for teaching-focused professional development, and opportunities for career progression, however, there were no significant changes in participant knowledge and practice.
  • Analysis of School Workforce Census (SWC) data suggests that the project may have had a positive impact on retention of teachers within the state-funded sector and within challenging schools at a teacher level. In contrast, the Transforming Teaching (TT) project had no statistically significant impact on retention at a school level, based on the comparison of treatment and non-treatment schools. However, it is not possible to fully disentangle the effect of the project from other non-observed systematic differences between TT participants and non-participants.
  • The evidence for any impact on teacher progression is limited, with findings suggesting TT teachers were less likely to progress than comparison teachers within the same school and within challenging schools at a school level (two years after baseline). No statistically significant differences were identified between treatment and non-treatment participants at a teacher level.