What we do What we do

The largest evaluation of a collaborative school improvement model

EEF evaluation of SPP

Over the course of 3 years, Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) conducted an evaluation of the Schools Partnership Programme. EEF aims to raise the attainment of children facing disadvantage by identifying and evaluating educational innovations. They secure evidence of what works, and encourage schools and key stakeholders in education to apply evidence and adopt innovations found to be effective. The evaluation of SPP is the largest evaluation ever undertaken by EEF.

This evaluation was one of the largest ever undertaken by EEF. Its purpose was to compare SPP schools with statistically similar counterparts and provide impact analysis, comparing outcomes in maths and reading at Key Stage 2, and an implementation and process evaluation, observing SPP in action. This observation included shadowing training and peer reviews in participating schools, and interviewing participants.

More than 450 schools in England signed up to take part in this evaluation. As the partnership peer review cycles and exams that would have been used for the evaluation were interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the evaluation was extended by one year to 2021. In light of these world events, the assessment was amended to include a new section on adaptation to the post-Covid-19 scenario. This required the SPP team to provide additional training to school partnerships, helping deepen and develop their core peer review skills, adapt to the new climate and rebuild momentum of the peer review cycle.

EEF evaluation report launch event

This Spring, we will be hosting an online event to discuss the insights we have gained from the largest collaborative school improvement evaluation in the country. We'd be happy to have you there as we launch Education Endowment Foundation's report on their findings following this evaluation of the Schools Partnership Programme model. 

We'll share highlights from the report and hear from inspirational leaders in education as they discuss the impact SPP's peer review framework has had on hundreds of schools, as well as why our model has become integral to their school improvement approach and ethos.

Is your school ready for accelerated school improvement? This event will also share practical guidance on how you can achieve the sustainable improvement you're looking for.

The date for this event will be announced here in the coming weeks. Watch this space for updates!

We strongly believe in schools owning their changes: evidence confirms that schools improve rapidly and more effectively from the moment they start implementing the principles of SPP.

To find out how our programme could benefit your setting, visit the Our Programme page of our website. 

The EEF's evaluation report will be published this Spring term.

Watch this space to read the full report.

Legacy events

In November 2021, we hosted four celebratory events to mark the close of the evaluation where everyone who had participated in this unique trial was invited to share their experiences, successes, challenges and reflections of their 3 years of SPP peer review in the varying forms it took as they navigated a minefield of unprecendented difficulties thanks to the global pandemic.

"By going through this process, we've really developed and matured our relationships as schools but also as senior leaders."

Iain Witts, Kingsnorth and Brenzett CE Primaries


Our Legacy event highlights

Please select from our videos below to hear of some highlights from your colleagues around the country as they share their thoughts, tips and lessons learned from their participation in this evaluation, and hear them describe how this programme still contributes to the continuous improvement of their teaching, their school and the pupils they care for.

Based in Kingston upon Thames, Headteacher Pip Utting found huge benefit in having review meetings appear as regular fixtures in the school's diary, having a key staff member as a driving force behind their school improvement efforts and encouraging teacher agency among her school's subject leaders. Listen to her comments below.

In this excerpt, Headteacher Ian Waine describes how focusing on one theme across all schools and utilising the expertise of subject leaders across the partnership proved mutually beneficial.

Throughout the evaluation process, Sarah Walker has served as SPP Admin Lead for all Learn Academies Trust schools in Leicestershire. Here, Sarah comments on parts of the SPP toolkit that helped her schools to improve communication internally and with other agencies, creating a unified approach to their school improvement efforts.

At Broadfields Primary School, two improvement champions describe their role and share their top tips in how to create a relaxed atmosphere during a workshop, what their favourite SPP toolkit items are and how the purpose of a workshop is decided.

Reading Headteacher Luke Henderson approached this process with one key question in mind: "Without SPP, how do we quality assure the strategic development and leadership in our school?" Listen as he describes how the SPP model and a good knowledge of the local context of a school are vital to creating quality and sustainable collaboration.

Executive Headteacher Ashley Izzard-Snape offers his advice on making use of CPD opportunities, openly 'airing dirty laundry', the impact of '15 minutes of fame' and the successes that he and his colleagues have had by taking the core SPP model and adapting it to meet their needs.

Suzie Hall, Headteacher of Hextable Primary School in Kent, tells us how effectively SPP fed into her partnership's improvement plans, providing brilliant professional development and becoming their natural way of working.

Warrington-based Headteacher Chris Short has found that the SPP model allows for the adaptability needed to benefit schools in different times and different contexts. Watch as he also mentions how SPP has helped his partnership get to know their colleagues and make the best use of middle leaders, forging stronger connections between his network of schools.

"Where it's been extremely beneficial for us is it's given us time...to have professional dialogue about our own schools, to be supportive and coach each other througout the process. It's given us time to self-reflect on our own practice and, not only look at where we can go forward with our schools, but also celebrate the real strengths that we already have."

Mary Fraser, Headteacher - Cherry Tree Primary School, Bolton

To find out how SPP can support you in developing and maintaining effective, sustainable collaboration and meaningful school improvement, get in touch - it's what we do.

Contact us