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Report — October 2019

Understanding the drivers for rising demand and associated costs for home-to-school transport

Commissioned by the Local Government Association and supported by the County Councils Network, this research explores the drivers of increased pressures on home-to-school transport budgets; how councils seek to bring budgets under control; and what they need to support them to do this. The report can be read here.


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Report — July 2019

Under Pressure: An exploration of demand and spending in children’s social care and for children with special educational needs in London

Commissioned by London Councils, this research explores the causes of the growing pressures on budgets for young people with high needs and for children’s social care budget. Based on extensive analysis of data provided by London boroughs and in-depth fieldwork engagements with 14 boroughs. The research makes clear that high needs and children’s social care budgets are facing an unsustainable financial risk, and sets out what is needed at individual borough, pan-London and national policy level to address these pressures. The report can be read here.


Report — March 2019

The key enablers of developing an effective partnership-based early help offer

Commissioned by the Local Government Association, this research explores the enablers of and barriers to developing and sustaining and effective early help offer. It is based in-depth fieldwork in eight local areas selected on the basis of their interesting or innovative practice in the field of early help. The report can be read here.


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Report — December 2018

Have we reached a ‘tipping point’? Trends in spending for children and young people with SEND in England

Commissioned by the Local Government Association, this research quantifies the current pressure on budgets for children and young people with SEND and explores the reasons behind the increasing expenditure on high needs funding. It is based on a national high needs funding survey, completed by 93 local authorities, and in-depth fieldwork in nine representative local areas. The report can be read here.


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Report — November 2018

Developing and sustaining an effective local SEND system

Commissioned by the Local Government Association, Isos Partnership have engaged 63 councils across England, as well as local partners, to identify and distil some of the key practical messages and examples about how councils can develop and sustain effective, system-level approaches to supporting young people with special educational needs and disability. The report can be read here.


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Report — October 2018

Alternative provision market analysis

Commissioned by the Department for Education, Isos Partnership led a significant research project looking at alternative provision in England – what provision is available, how it is used, and how effectviely the alternative provision system is working. The research involved gathering evidence from 118 local authorities, and in-depth fieldwork visits to 15 local areas. The report can be read here.


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Report — January 2018

Enabling School Improvement: Research into the role of local authorities in supporting local school improvement systems

Commissioned by the Local Government Association, this Isos report explains our learning about nine key conditions that we believe are needed to help develop effective local school improvement systems, and the role that authorities can play to help establish them. The report contains case studies on eight local systems and can be read here.


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Report — Summer 2017

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

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.


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Report — Spring 2017 

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

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.


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Report — Summer 2016

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

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.


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Think-piece — Spring 2016

Strategies for transforming local education systems

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.


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Report — Autumn 2015

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

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.


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Report — Autumn 2015

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

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.


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Report — Summer 2015

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

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.


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Report — Spring 2015

National Science Learning Network Regional Programme: Final evaluation report

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.


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Report and case studies — Spring 2015

Leadership of teaching school alliances

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.


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Report — Autumn 2014

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

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.


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Report — Summer 2014

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

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


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Report — April 2013

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

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


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Review — April 2013

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

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


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Report — June 2012

The evolving role of the local authority in education

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


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Report — March 2012

The growth of academy chains: implications for leaders and leadership

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


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Report — December 2011

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

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


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Report — July 2010

Raising the Participation Age (RPA) Trials

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 are available as five separate downloads:

RPA Phase 1 Evaluation Report

RPA Phase 2 Evaluation Report

RPA Phase 3 Evaluation Report - Part One

RPA Phase 3 Evaluation Report - Part Two

RPA Self Assessment Framework