Leadership Lite

This project and its evaluation were affected by the 2020 and 2021 partial school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the disruption, we are no longer able to reliably estimate the impact of the intervention, and so the trial has been stopped. A final report summarising the results of the implementation and process evaluation to date will be published in 2021.

Leadership Lite aims to reduce teacher workload by eliminating unnecessary practices commonplace in school, such as over-complicated marking policies. This programme has been developed by school leaders at Carmel Education Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust and Teaching School in the North East. It is a broad, whole-school leadership and culture change programme which takes place over 2 years.

Science teachers, the Head of Science, senior leaders in the school and governors each have access to 3 different training sessions. Additional support is also provided for teaching assistants supporting science. Training focuses on a broad range of strategies in four strands: leadership of change, quality assurance of teachers (including observation), marking/assessment, planning and classroom practice. Example strategies include replacing most formal observations with alternative strategies. Training is delivered by experienced staff, such as Specialist Leaders in Education (SLEs) through a mix of face-to-face sessions and online materials/tasks.

Why are we funding it?

This project was funded as part of the Science Teacher Retention grants round, co-funded with The Wellcome Trust to address the chronic challenge of teacher retention. Science teachers are more likely to leave the profession than non-science teachers, particularly within their first five years of teaching. This is a complex, school-developed approach that has been piloted in a number of schools with promising results. 

How are we evaluating it?

A senior team from NFER has been appointed to evaluate this project. This is a two-arm randomised controlled trial, and is an efficacy trial, meaning it will test the programme under developer-led conditions. The trial will run for 4 years in total, with delivery taking place for two years across two consecutive cohorts of 70 schools. The primary outcome measure will be teacher retention in the profession at the end of the two-year programme. For the first cohort, we will also measure teacher retention after an additional two years, which will allow longitudinal follow-up for half the schools to be included in the main report.

We will also measure retention in the school, teacher workload and job satisfaction, as well as surveying heads of science in order to understand usual practice and the changes that occur through the intervention. In terms of student outcomes, we will measure GCSE attainment in science in all schools, and progression onto A-level science subjects for Cohort 1.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in Autumn 2025.