Evaluation of the TLIF: The Teach First Leading Together Project

Megan Lucas, Suzanne Straw, Julie Nelson, Dawson McLean, Ruth Staunton and Jack Worth (NFER)

29 September 2022

Link to research report on 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 Teach First Leading Together project, which aimed to improve the quality of leadership and teaching, ultimately improving student outcomes and creating a whole-school culture of learning and development by upskilling senior leaders. The project is structured around: evidence-based learning modules; dedicated, tailored support and coaching from an Achievement Partner (AP); opportunities for collaboration with other schools at residential events; and access to the project’s ‘Learning Pot’ fund.

Key Findings

  • Recruitment was challenging, but facilitated by utilising local stakeholders to make contact with schools, targeting specific geographical areas and clearly differentiating the support from other interventions. DfE management information data indicates that the project met its recruitment targets for cohorts 1 and 2.
  • Qualitative evidence highlighted four features of Leading Together that enabled effective delivery and implementation: the relationship with, and credibility of, the AP; the independence of the AP, and the project, from the accountability system; the flexibility and responsiveness of the delivery model and of the AP; and the length and evidence-based nature of the project.
  • The survey data and qualitative evidence showed significant perceived improvement in: the effectiveness of school leadership, professional development and school culture; personal knowledge for effective teaching among middle leaders; teaching quality among middle and senior leaders; participants’ confidence as a school leader; participant confidence in how to support pupils to learn; and personal leadership skills.
  • Analysis of the School Workforce Census (SWC) data provided some evidence that Leading Together was helping to retain participating teachers and support progression to senior roles. However, it was not possible to fully disentangle the effect of the project from other unobserved systematic differences between Leading Together participants and non-participants.