(Ofsted) evaluates the early stages of the Primary Leadership
Programme. It highlights some key concerns which action is now being
taken to address. Inspectors found that where Primary Strategy
was a success but this did not always happen. Criticism is focused on
the lack of a pilot and the programme being introduced too quickly.
The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) introduced the primary
leadership programme in the summer term 2003 with the aim of
strengthening leadership and responsibility for teaching and learning
in English and maths in primary schools. Under the programme trained,
experienced primary headteachers have been providing guidance for
leadership teams in other schools.
Chief inspector of schools, David Bell, said:
'I am pleased that the DfES is taking positive action to remedy some
of the problems outlined in this report, including better selection
and training of primary consultants and stronger emphasis on the
importance of raising standards in English and maths.'
Inspectors found that the programme has potential but that Local
Education Authority (LEA) primary strategy managers felt it had been
developed in a piecemeal fashion without any clear, long term vision.
Inspectors highlighted a tension between the need to raise standards
and the programme's 'client centred' approach which focused on the
school identifying its own problems and developing ways of solving
them. One school stated that they would like more direct advice on
what works in particular circumstances rather than the 'Let's work it
out together' approach.
The report argues that the early information about schools that PSCLs
are provided with varies too much. Some PSCLs received packs of
information from schools which included a fact sheet on the school,
results at key stage 1 and 2, their recent Ofsted report and other
useful information. Primary consultants who did not have access to
this information often found it difficult to move headteachers and
their leadership teams towards discussing standards.
Mr Bell continued:
'Good, honest communication between heads, LEAs and primary strategy
consultants leaders is essential and was lacking in some of the
schools that inspectors visited. A lot of this centred on a confusion
about roles and responsibilities.'
Points for action which the DfES is now addressing include:
* the better targeting of resources to enhance the quality of
leadership and management and raise standards in the lowest attaining
schools nationally, irrespective of their LEA boundaries
* the provision of more information to LEAs and schools on how the
National College of School Leadership (NCSL) model of client centred
consultancy should be used by schools and PSCLs together to raise
* the improvement of the schools' own monitoring and evaluation
procedures to measure outcomes accurately, accounting for the
resources used and judging the value for money of the actions taken.
1. The report The Primary Leadership Programme 2003-2004: An
evaluation by HMI is available here.
2. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) introduced the
primary leadership programme in the summer term 2003. The programme
was intended for around 25% of primary schools nationally in its
first year (2003 - 2004) and was introduced in every LEA in England.
3. Ofsted, through Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI), monitored the
programme in the late summer and autumn terms 2003 in 14 LEAs.
Final visits and meetings took place in the spring term 2004.