National Evaluation of the Primary Leadership Programme: Research Report

Pauline Wade, Tami McCrone, Peter Rudd

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This report presents the findings from a national evaluation of the
Primary Leadership Programme (PLP) carried out by a team at the National
Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) between 2004 and 2006. The
evaluation was commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills
(DfES) and included the use of case-study interviews with key personnel,
surveys of school leaders and analysis of pupil examination results.
• Pupil achievement – With regard to pupil attainment in Key Stage 2,
statistical analysis showed that in both 2004 and 2005 PLP schools
demonstrated greater progress in both English and mathematics than the
comparison group of all primary schools not in the PLP.
• Teaching and learning – Case-study respondents were able to describe
numerous changes and improvements in teaching and learning processes.
These included improvements in data analysis, changes to teaching styles
and the adoption of identified good practice.
• Distributed leadership – There was a widening of responsibility for
leadership within PLP schools, especially to subject coordinators. The
reported average size of leadership teams in the survey schools increased
from around 3.5 to four.
• Improved leadership – Staff in PLP schools identified a number of
positive impacts on leadership. These included: the development of a
clearer and more widely-shared vision for the school, improved leadership
skills for the school’s senior managers and increased sharing of
responsibility with middle management.
• Team work, collaboration and networking – Many survey and interview
respondents noted a stronger sense of team work within the school
management team, as well as increased opportunities for collaborating
with other schools. Collaborative leadership, to a large extent, has become
embedded in PLP schools.
• The role of the PSCL – The inputs of Primary Strategy Consultant
Leaders (PSCLs) were viewed very positively. For example, 82 per cent
of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the PSCL had a
positive relationship with members of the school leadership team
• Monitoring and evaluation – Between 2005 and 2006 many schools had
sharpened their monitoring and evaluation processes.
• Sustainability – It was evident that schools were doing their best to embed
good practice and to ensure that improvements arising from PLP were
sustainable, though schools did encounter some difficulties in doing this.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNottingham
PublisherDepartment for Education and Skills
Number of pages94
ISBN (Print)978 1 84478 876 7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

Publication series

NameDfES Research Reports
PublisherDepartment for Educationa and Skills (DfES)


  • School leadership, primary schools, PSCL, distributed leadership, school improvement, school effectiveness, leadership policies, change management

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