Evaluation of the TLIF: Tom Bennett Training project

Ben Willis, Bronwen Maxwell and Sarah Reaney-Wood (SIOE) and Julie Nelson, Suzanne Straw, Jack Worth, Dawson McLean and Ruth Staunton (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 Tom Bennett Training (TBT) project which aimed to deliver a project that would increase confidence in behaviour management practices at leadership and classroom level in order to improve pupils’ behaviour within classrooms and across schools.

Key Findings

  • Recruitment targets for total participants (target 720; recruited 756) were met. However, only 59% of those recruited participants were from priority schools (Ofsted category 3 or 4) compared to a target of 70%. Free CPD and TBT's significant existing social media presence was considered key to recruiting target schools. Drop-out from the programme was high (109), however this is likely to mainly be due to three schools (with high numbers of staff involved in the classroom programme) withdrawing from the programme.
  • The quality and effectiveness of TBT provision was perceived by most participants to have been very high. Participants particularly valued the provision of a set of overarching principles that they could customise to affect sustainable change within their own contexts.
  • Most participants described at least moderately increased confidence and competence in employing effective behaviour management strategies at a classroom or whole-school level. Interviewees who attended the Running a Room Course, especially early career teachers (ECTs), were most likely to attribute improved confidence and effectiveness directly to the TBT project.
  • There was strong evidence that pupil behaviour became more prioritised and behaviour policies more embedded across the whole school workforce in participating schools. However, many schools had begun to implement behaviour management reforms prior to the TBT project. For some participants, involvement in the project was perceived to have resulted in a more positive school culture and improved staff-pupil relationships. Certain schools also reported reductions in exclusions and detentions as well as pupils feeling more at ease in the school environment.
  • Findings from the School Workforce Census (SWC) on progression at the teacher-level provided evidence to suggest that over time, the TBT project may have had some positive impact on teacher-level progression in state funded schools at year three and in the same Local Authority District (LAD) at years two and three. Teachers that did progress likely did so at schools within the same LAD. As the initial progression effect was small and for LAD grows overtime it is plausible that this progression could be attributable to the TBT project.