Evaluation of the Tailored Support Programme

 NFER privacy statement
 DfE privacy statement

Your school is taking part in the Tailored Support Programme, which has been developed to address school-level challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers. The programme will provide a tailored package of support to help schools that the Department for Education (DfE) has identified as likely to be facing the most severe recruitment and retention challenges.

Eligible schools will be approached by the Regional Delivery Division (RDD) at DfE, with the offer to discuss support as part of the TSP. Interested schools will be visited by a member of the RDD, and a System Leader, to discuss the extent and nature of the teacher supply challenges they face. Schools will then be given the choice to take part in the Programme, and supported schools will develop an action plan with their System Leader. This tailored plan will outline which of the following strands the school will engage in, and will depend on each school’s situation, context and teacher supply needs. Schools may choose to engage with just one support package strand or a combination.

Strands of support

  1. External support for school leaders, for example on workforce planning, recruitment and reducing unnecessary workload
  2. Mentoring and advice support for early career teachers (ECTs) ­
  3. Support to ECTs to manage workload
  4. Support to broker effective local partnerships
  5. Support to access existing national programmes addressing teacher supply – e.g. School Direct, Teach First, Teacher Subject Specialist Training (TSST) and existing workload packages.

The evaluation

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) have been commissioned by the DfE to evaluate the TSP. This research project is funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

The evaluation will explore senior leader, teacher, mentor and system leader perceptions of the TSP, and in particular, perceptions of the specific strands of support offered to schools for improving teacher recruitment and retention. The study also aims to identify ‘what works’ with the TSP - what is working well or otherwise, key success factors, challenges and issues faced (and overcome), and improvements needed.

The evaluation will explore how outcomes for school leaders and participating teachers change between baseline and follow-up. The evaluation will explore the mechanisms whereby impacts have been achieved, and contribute to knowledge on supporting schools to improve recruitment and retention.

The DfE will also undertake analysis of School Workforce Census data internally, which will explore the impact of the programme on measures of schools’ teacher supply situation that are available in administrative data.

The evaluation will be conducted between May 2018 and November 2020.

Data we will collect

During the project we will undertake:

  • surveys of headteachers/senior leaders in participating schools
  • surveys of participating early-career teachers
  • qualitative telephone interviews with headteachers/senior leaders, early-career teachers and mentors in participating schools
  • qualitative telephone interviews with system leaders
  • longitudinal case studies in participating schools, with headteachers/senior leaders, participating teachers, staff not directly receiving support who can comment on broader changes in the school resulting from TSP involvement, and school governors with responsibility for staffing.

In addition we will use the following sources of secondary data:

  • Management information data collected by the DfE. This will provide a picture of overall coverage of the TSP, and the individual strands, among eligible schools. It will provide information on the changes in coverage over time, including completion and drop-out rates of schools and teachers. NFER will analyse MI data to provide an overview of engagement with the TSP among schools and teachers, including participation in individual strands. We shall match MI with online survey data to undertake sub-group analysis.
  • School Workforce Census (SWC) data. NFER will match survey data to SWC data (including teacher/headteacher age, gender, role, years in school, years in role, subject(s) taught) to support the evaluation.

Ethics and data protection

Personal data collected by DfE

A DfE Privacy Notice has been made available to all school leaders and teachers involved in the TSP when they signed up to the programme. The notice outlines the requirement of participating teachers and leaders to provide personal information (such as names, teacher numbers and email addresses) to the Department for Education, and to agree to the analysis of this data for research purposes.

We are collecting your personal data to evaluate the perceptions of school leaders, teachers, mentors and system leaders participating in the DfE’s Tailored Support Programme. Data (name, teacher numbers and contact details), initially collected by DfE (the data controller), will be shared with NFER (the data processor) and used by NFER to gather evaluation data.  Data collected by NFER will be matched to the School Workforce Census and analysed by NFER. The legal basis for data processing is public task. Data will only be shared between the DfE and NFER and it will not be transferred outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). We will delete any data within one year of the completion of the evaluation. Your data is handled in accordance with the rights given to individuals under data protection legislation. Full details of how your data will be used and how to exercise your rights over it are available in NFER’s privacy notice.

Voluntary participation, confidentiality and right to withdraw

Participation in surveys, case studies and telephone interviews is voluntary.  By completing the survey you will be agreeing to your data being used in an aggregated and anonymous form in reporting. All case-study and telephone interview data will be analysed anonymously. 

You can withdraw your data at any point until it has become fully anonymised and aggregated into the analysis, at which point we would be unable to identify it. If you wish to withdraw your data please notify Suzanne Straw (contact details below). Your decision to take part or withdraw from the evaluation will not affect your participation in the TSP in any way.

In all reporting, no individual participant or school will be identified or identifiable.

Further information on our ethics code of practice

NFER will conduct the project in line with NFER’s Code of Practice, which complies with Social Research Association (SRA) and Market Research Society (MRS) guidelines.


NFER will produce reports for DfE throughout the evaluation to inform the development of the Programme, including a published interim baseline report and final overarching report. These reports will be made available on the DfE website. We may also present our findings at conferences and publish articles in professional and academic journals.

For further information about this evaluation, please contact:

Suzanne Straw (NFER Project Director)
Deputy Head of Centre for Evaluation and Consultancy

National Foundation for Educational Research, Unit G3, IT Centre

York Science Park, Heslington, York, YO10 5NP

[email protected]

01904 567661

Sub National Teacher Supply Team Teachers Research Team

Teachers Analysis Division

Second floor, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BT

[email protected]

Tel: 020 7340 7188

Privacy notices

Read the full privacy notice for this project  here.

Read the DfE privacy statement for this project  here.