National Evaluation of the Primary Leadership Programme

Peter Rudd , Pauline Wade , Tami McCrone

27 February 2007

Research report available to download from DCSF

Research brief available to download from DCSF

In May 2004, NFER was commissioned by the DfES to undertake a national evaluation of the Primary Leadership Programme (PLP). The research was completed in September 2006 and the final report was based on data from two rounds of fieldwork visits to ten case study schools and five local authorities (LAs), a survey sent to 1000 school leaders which was completed in two sweeps in 2004 and 2006; statistical evidence derived from three rounds of multilevel analyses of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 results and from LA and school level monitoring and evaluation information.

Key Findings

  • Pupil achievement - statistical analysis showed that in both 2004 and 2005, PLP schools demonstrated greater progress at Key Stage 2 in both English and mathematics than the comparison group of all primary schools not in the PLP.
  • Teaching and learning - case study respondents described numerous changes and improvements in data analysis, teaching styles and the adoption of identified good practice.
  • Distributed leadership - staff in PLP schools identified several positive impacts on leadership, including a more widely-shared vision for the school, improved leadership skills for senior managers and increased sharing of responsibility with middle management.
  • Team work, collaboration and networking - a stronger sense of team work within the school management team and increased opportunities for collaboration with other schools.
  • The role of the Primary Strategy Consultant Leader (PSCL) - the inputs of PSCLs were viewed very positively by PLP schools.
  • Monitoring and evaluation - between 2005 and 2006 many schools had sharpened their monitoring and evaluation processes.
  • Sustainability - schools were doing their best to embed good practice and ensure that improvements arising from the PLP were sustainable, although schools did encounter some difficulties in doing this.

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