Evaluation of the Tailored Support Programme (TSP)

Suzanne Straw, Sarah Lynch, Caroline Stanford, Tami McCrone and Eleanor Bradley

04 March 2021

Research report on the gov.uk website

Between June 2018 and November 2020, NFER evaluated the Tailored Support Programme (TSP) on behalf of DfE. The TSP provided support to schools experiencing challenges with teacher recruitment and retention. This included system leader support for senior leaders and mentoring, continuing professional development (CPD) and additional time off timetable for early-career teachers (ECTs).

Key Findings

  • Senior leaders valued access to system leaders’ knowledge, expertise, their school and networks, their help with action planning, and their ongoing strategic support.
  • Internal and external mentoring of ECTs was particularly successful when it took a coaching approach, was tailored to need, was formally timetabled, and when dedicated non-contact time was allocated to both the ECT and mentor.
  • Additional non-contact time for ECTs provided valuable time for mentoring, undertaking CPD, reflection, embedding learning and career development.
  • CPD for ECTs worked best when it was bespoke, externally delivered, and provided opportunities to visit other settings.
  • Impacts for schools included: improved teacher recruitment and retention; the development of new partnerships with system leaders’ and external mentors’ schools; the embedding of a coaching culture; and increased leadership capacity.
  • Impacts for ECTs included improvements in: subject/key stage and leadership knowledge and practice; wellbeing, motivation and morale; confidence; career development; and retention.
  • Mentors reported improvements in their: leadership capabilities, mentoring and coaching skills, subject knowledge and practice, and job satisfaction.
  • Key challenges related to ECTs and internal mentors being out of the classroom and concerns around suitable supply cover which impacted negatively on pupils.
  • The TSP included a range of effective elements, which could be replicated in the future to support schools facing recruitment and retention challenges.