Achieve Together is an initiative devised and delivered by Teach First, Teaching Leaders and The Future Leaders Trust, to support leadership development and collaboration within schools in disadvantaged areas. Achieve Together offered subsidised leadership development training for teachers in middle and senior leadership roles, and placed graduates into schools. Beyond the programmes, Achieve Together offered a range of support to facilitate collaboration and alignment across these programmes, with participants working together on a school improvement impact initiative.
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EEF funded this evaluation to test whether schools in disadvantaged areas would benefit from three leading education charities – Teach First, Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders – working together to improve school outcomes.
The study provides no evidence that pupils’ GCSE outcomes improved in the participating schools, compared with a group of similar schools. While all of the schools used the individual programmes offered by the charities, approaches to the accompanying school improvement collaboration differed. Some schools were positive and teachers felt it improved their reflective practice. In other schools participants considered it resource-intensive and found it difficult to align the individual programme activities into a single project. Overall, the study provides no evidence that this version of Achieve Together is an effective way to improve GCSE results over and above any impact of the individual charity programmes.
This study accompanies a separate evaluation of an area-based version of Achieve Together, funded with J.P. Morgan, which was piloted in Bournemouth. The EEF has no plans for a further trial of Achieve Together, but would consider evaluating the impact of the individual programmes, something that was beyond the scope of this evaluation.
Pupils in Achieve Together schools made no additional progress, on average, compared to other children in the trial, as measured by GCSE results. The three padlock security rating means we are moderately confident in this result.
Similar results were found for children eligible, and not eligible, for free school meals, and children with higher and lower prior attainment, although these sub-group results are less secure because of the smaller numbers of pupils.
Participating schools reported a lack of clarity over the aims of Achieve Together and how the collaborative project should relate to the individual leadership programmes. The differing timelines of the individual programmes also appears to have hampered the collaborative projects.
Views on the collaborative project were mixed. Some participants found that the process increased reflective practice and provided impetus for further school improvement. Others felt that it was resource intensive and had minimal additional impact.
Some teachers felt Achieve Together would have a positive impact on pupil attainment, once new teaching skills and new initiatives were embedded. The EEF data archive allows analysis of future results for these schools to assess whether this is the case.
Full project description
Achieve Together aims to improve pupil outcomes by supporting leadership development and collaboration within schools in disadvantaged areas. The programme was devised and delivered by three education charities - Teach First, Teaching Leaders and the Future Leaders Trust. It offers subsidised leadership development training using programmes provided by Teaching Leaders and the Future Leaders Trust, and places graduates into schools via the Teach First initiative. Participants of these individual programmes also collaborate on a school improvement initiative, drawing on insights from the individual programmes and planning and implementation support from the Achieve Together team. It is a whole-school intervention aiming to improve outcomes for all pupils in participating schools.
Achieve Together was developed in 2013 and delivered from September 2014 until July 2016. This efficacy trial assessed the impact on GCSE outcomes at the end of the second year of the programme. Results from 14 schools that received the intervention were compared to those of a well-matched comparison group. Qualitative research aimed to track implementation, delivery and perceived impacts over the course of the intervention.