Insights and Publications


Enabling Improvement: Research into the role and models of improvement support for local children’s services

Summer 2017 - Following our action research into the enablers of improvement in local children’s services, Isos undertook a follow-up study, commissioned by the Local Government Association, to explore the role of external improvement support for local children’s services and analyse which models are most likely to be effective in different circumstances. The report can be read here.


Understanding costs of A Level provision via the decision-making process behind class sizes

Spring 2017 - During the academic year 2015/16, Isos undertook research commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) exploring how different post-16 providers – school sixth forms, sixth form colleges, further education colleges and university technical colleges – were making decisions about A Level class sizes and cost-efficiency. The DfE recently published our report, which can be read here.


Action research into improvement in local children’s services – research report commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA)

Summer 2016 - Isos carried out an in-depth action research project with nine local areas to identify the enablers of improvement in local children’s services and how the system can support these effectively. Read our final research report and case studies here and a practical summary for lead members and senior leaders here.


Strategies for transforming local education systems

Spring 2016 - Isos and the Education Development Trust (EDT) recently co-hosted two seminars to explore how leaders in local education systems are supporting the development of a self-improving education system. Read the think-piece we produced, based on these discussions, here.


Research to understand spend by 16-19 institutions on additional needs – research report commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE)

Autumn 2015 - Isos carried out in-depth fieldwork with a sample of 20 institutions providing 16-19 education, including school sixth forms, colleges and other providers, to understand how they use their funding to support students with additional needs. Read our report here.


Evaluation of the impact of National Science Learning Network CPD on schools

Autumn 2015 - Isos has carried out in-depth research with school leaders, subject leaders, teachers, technicians and pupils to understand the impact and benefits of schools engaging in subject-specific science continuing professional development (CPD) from the Network and National STEM Centre. Read our report here.


Research on funding for young people with special educational needs – research report commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE)

Summer 2015 - Isos worked in-depth with parents and carers, schools, colleges, early years settings, local authorities and health services in 13 local areas to understand how current arrangements for funding support for young people with special educational needs were working and to make proposals for improvements to the DfE. Read our report here.


National Science Learning Network Regional Programme: Final evaluation report

Spring 2015 - Isos worked with the National Science Learning Network between 2013 and 2015 to evaluate the development, operation and impact of a new regional programme for delivering science continuing professional development (CPD). Read our report here.

report and case studies

Leadership of teaching school alliances

Spring 2015 - Isos has been working with 32 teaching school alliances over the last two years as part of a national research project for the National College. Read our report and a selection of the case studies from the teaching schools here.


Freedom to lead: A study of outstanding primary school leadership in England

Autumn 2014 - The Department for Education have published the report by Isos, Peter Matthews, Robert Hill and Qing Gu on the leadership of outstanding primary schools in England. The report and case studies analyse what skills are needed and what makes the difference when leading outstanding primary schools. Read the report here and the case studies here.


The evolving education system in England: A “temperature check” – research report commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE)

Summer 2014 - Isos was commissioned by the DfE to research how local education systems in England are evolving. We worked with school and local authority leaders in ten local systems, looking at school improvement, place-planning and support for vulnerable children. more


Closing the gap: how system leaders and schools can work together

April 2013 - Examine how national leaders of education and teaching school alliances, organised in regional clusters, worked on action research with other schools to close gaps in attainment and support the progress of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. more


School improvement consortia: an early assessment of their readiness to deliver

April 2013 - see how consortia, the new ‘middle tier’ in Wales, are developing their new role on school improvement. more


The evolving role of the local authority in education

June 2012 - Explore how local authorities are evolving and adapting their role to meet the needs of a more autonomous education system. more


The growth of academy chains: implications for leaders and leadership

March 2012 - Isos were part of a research team, led by Robert Hill, that investigated the implications and challenges for school leaders posed by the rapid development of academy chains. more


System leadership: does school-to-school support close the gap?

December 2011 - Examine how system leaders improve outcomes for all children and close gaps between pupil groups. more


Raising the Participation Age (RPA) Trials

July 2010 - Isos evaluated successive phases of the RPA trials and local delivery projects for DfE. The final evaluation reports as well as tools that were developed to help local authorities plan for the introduction of RPA can be found here. more