National Evaluation of the Primary Leadership Programme: Research Brief

Pauline Wade, Tami McCrone, Peter Rudd

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This research brief presents the key findings from a national evaluation of the Primary Leadership Programme (PLP) carried out by a team at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NEFER) 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 3.6 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 pages4
ISBN (Print)978 1 84478 876 7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007

Publication series

NameDepartment for Education and Skills (DfES) Rsearch Briefs
PublisherDepartment for Education and Skills (DfES)


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

Cite this