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Implementation Leads – Improving Maths and English outcomes effectively

23 x teachers/leaders in schools & colleges benefitted from ring-fenced time to access intensive training; plan, deliver and evaluate projects to improve numeracy/literacy outcomes for children and young people. Projects helped to improve teaching & learning, provide targeted intervention support and ultimately to improve pupil attainment.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, School Teachers, Trusts

Aimed at

KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5


Literacy, Numeracy, Raising Attainment


Whole School

Why was the project needed?

KS2 and KS4 data indicated that Ipswich pupils were underperforming, compared to national averages. Some schools/colleges required stronger skills and additional capacity to identify, implement and evaluate the right interventions to drive rapid improvements in maths & English.


What happened and what was the impact?

What Happened:

23 x teachers/leaders were designated as “Implementation Leads”, benefitting from ring-fenced release time, accessing training and support to identify a specific area of challenge within their school/college and identify appropriate, evidence-based approaches to drive up attainment in maths or English, or improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

After completing foundation training, Implementation Leads each submitted robust action plans, once signed-off, they were able to access £2,000 grants to support them in achieving their implementation outcomes. Leads then began delivering the key ingredients of their plans (which were closely aligned to whole school priorities) including: devising pupil intervention timetables, setting up online reading programmes, redesigning curriculum areas, arranging in-house staff training and providing coaching support to colleagues.

Throughout the year, leads provided termly progress updates and continued to meet regularly during network sessions, sharing learning and expertise.

In the summer term, Implementation Leads produced cascading learning action plans, setting out their intended approach, ensuring that gains from their projects were sustainably embedded across the whole school/college.

The Impact:

Headteachers reported:

  • The Implementation Lead role helped their school/college to focus on evidence-based interventions, highlighting the excellent training and positive benefits of providing leads with the time & platform to develop their projects.
  • High levels of confidence that the Implementation Lead role would help their school/college to secure improved outcomes in their area of focus, than would otherwise have been the case.
  • That the hard work and engagement of leads, combined with their understanding of the role, would lead to effective change.
  • The role allowed schools/colleges to improve literacy and therefore improve pupils’ life chances.


Implementation Leads reported:

  • The time and resources provided as part of the offer allowed Implementation Leads the opportunity to get important projects off the ground.
  • Excellent staff buy-in and commitment from Senior Leadership Teams, opportunities for staff training & skills development were well-received, with positive engagement and indications that staff were confidently and effectively implementing changes.
  • Strong engagement from pupils, who enjoyed using new resources and approaches to support their learning.
  • Data analysis, reviews of pupil assessments and EEF guidance were being used to inform planning & target setting. Systematic records enabled leads to accurately monitor pupil progress.
  • Statistical evidence clearly indicates the progress of pupils benefitting from targeted support, with targeted cohorts outperforming comparison groups; leads indicated confidence that they were targeting pupils with the greatest need.
  • The role was beneficial in terms of continued professional development.

What did and didn't work?


Training was firmly rooted in EEF guidance on the principles of effective implementation and evaluation, supporting disadvantaged learners, improving attainment in maths & English.

The virtual delivery model proved to be very popular with Implementation Leads, enabling them to log in from their school/college, eliminating the need to travel to/from a training venue and requiring additional release time.

Following the successful delivery of foundation training from the Research School, Implementation Leads were equipped with the skills and knowledge to effectively implement and track the impact of school improvement projects & approaches.

Survey data found:

  • 85% felt the quality of training was good/excellent
  • 79% felt the amount & frequency of training was about right
  • 73% felt the training was appropriate to their needs


Network Meetings:

Implementation Leads, on the whole, noted the benefits of coming together regularly to collaborate, share learning and expertise. Pressures on staffing (exacerbated by Covid absences) led us to revise the frequency of network meetings, which were originally taking place twice per month but reduced to once per half term.

Leads found that network meetings were most useful in the autumn term, when completing their initial training, drafting action plans and selecting appropriate intervention approaches.

As the year progressed, the role became more internal-facing, with leads expressing a desire to use their ring-fenced release time to undertake activities such as: moderation, team-teaching, delivering pupil interventions etc. as opposed to more frequent network meetings.

Implementation Leads formed an active community of like-minded professionals, regularly meeting to share their experiences and gain support.

Survey data found:

  • 82% were keen that the network continues beyond 21-22
  • 68% felt that the opportunity to be part of a network was quite important, 20% felt this was very important


Project Timeline:

The planning and delivery timeline for the project proved to be hugely successful. Implementation Leads were identified, and their ring-fenced release time agreed with headteachers in May/June 2021, prior to beginning their roles in September 2021. This meant that leads across all participating schools/colleges were free to attend training and network sessions throughout the year, which aided collaboration.

Implementation Leads reported that ring-fenced time enabled them to undertake duties which were invaluable to the success of their projects, which improved the quality of teaching & learning and helped drive up attainment.

The training calendar was shaped in partnership with the Research School Network, with delivery of sessions beginning in June 2021. This equipped Implementation Leads with the core skills and knowledge required to draft and refine their case studies, which were submitted by the end of the academic year. By September 2021, leads were able to hit the ground running by effectively kick-starting the implementation of their literacy/numeracy projects. This linked in well with school CPD calendars, as it allowed relevant whole school staff training to be arranged for INSET days in the autumn term.

Impact of Covid:

High levels of staff and pupil absences proved challenging: impacting the ability to organise staff training; creating the need for catch up pupil intervention sessions and limiting opportunities to collaborate in person, such as through team-teaching and moderation.

How did you measure success?

Levels of Engagement with Research Evidence:

Implementation Leads provided a baseline assessment followed by termly updates indicating:

  • The extent to which they engage with research evidence in education
  • Confidence in using research evidence to inform their planning, teaching & learning
  • Confidence in effectively implementing & evaluating new projects in their school/college


Spring data indicated that Implementation Leads are now far more likely to engage with research evidence in education (increasing from 50% to 85%).

Compared to the baseline, Implementation Leads’ confidence levels in using research evidence to inform planning, teaching and learning continued have continued to rise, alongside confidence in implementing and evaluating new projects effectively.

Aggregated Milestone/Pupil Outcome Data:

Implementation leads were required to indicate implementation milestones, evaluation milestones and pupil outcomes within their action plans. Individual Implementation Leads reported back the extent to which their milestones/outcomes had been met, which were then aggregated to measure success of the overall project.

Spring data indicated:

  • 32% of leads had fully met their implementation milestones
  • 54% were making good progress towards their implementation milestones
  • 1 lead had fully met their pupil outcomes, with a further 93% either making good progress/some progress towards these


Survey Responses:

We surveyed Implementation Leads and found:

  • 97% felt their action plans and training would have an impact on the quality of project implementation & outcomes for pupils
  • 94% were confident in their own ability to achieve the aims set out in their plan to cascading learning from the Implementation Lead project
  • 85% felt their role had set the foundations for strong implementation in their school/college for future years

We surveyed headteachers within participating schools and found:

  • 95% felt confident that their Implementation Lead would be able to share learning from their project across their school/college
  • 79% reported that the Implementation Lead role had set the foundations for strong implementation in their school/college for future years


Ingredients For Success

  • A calendar of virtual training planned & delivered by the Research School Network.
  • A calendar of virtual network meetings arranged & facilitated by the Ipswich Opportunity Area’s Project Lead and Ipswich Associate Research School’s Coordinator.
  • Evidence Leads in Education (part of the Research School Network), deployed to provide 1:1 support to Implementation Leads, e.g. assisting with drafting and refining action plans.
  • An Implementation Lead padlet: an online repository for recordings of training & network sessions, EEF guidance reports and other resources.
  • £165,400 total costs for 23 x Implementation Leads including: staff release costs (0.5 days per week, 1 academic year), a £2,000 grant per school/college (to purchase training/resources), Research School training fees and Evidence Lead in Education deployment fees.

Is the Project Complete or Ongoing

The project is ongoing – Implementation Leads will benefit from ring-fenced release time until the end of the academic year 21-22. Beyond this, the Implementation Lead network will continue to meet, facilitating collaboration between schools & colleges, as well as accessing training and guidance from the Research School Network, Teaching School Hubs and Curriculum Hubs.

How is the Project Sustainable

Having accessed intensive training in the principles of effective implementation, school/college staff are now equipped with the skills & knowledge to:

  • Undertake thorough needs analysis
  • Produce action plans including appropriate interventions/approaches
  • Accurately measure progress and evaluate impact


These foundations for strong implementation will benefit schools/colleges for years to come, to help drive school improvement.

A keen focus on cascading learning has ensured that key learning from the project has been shared more widely, leading to improved subject knowledge and enhanced pedagogy amongst wider staff in participating schools/colleges.

The Implementation Lead network will continue beyond 21-22, with active support and engagement from the Research School Network, Teaching School Hubs and Curriculum Hubs.

What are the Long Term Impacts

It is expected that, over time, improvements in teaching & learning and intervention approaches will drive up pupil attainment at KS2 and KS4.

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