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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Evaluation Of Next Practice Model

A research project of the School of Education.


Durham University's Curriculum Evaluation and Management (CEM) Centre and School of Education were commissioned by the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) to evaluate the Bridge Change Management model which was used to support the Next Practice in School Leadership programme. Next Practice in System Leadership aimed through collaboration, to improve the outcomes for young people. The project also included a literature review on the impact on learning of change leadership and management in schools. 


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Evaluation Of Next Practice Model Itt 108 (£44400.00 from National College for School Leadership)


We explored respondents’ views and understandings of change management and leadership in general, and more specifically the relevance to their site and Next Practice project. As well as this we were inquired about in their experience and knowledge of other change management programmes, approaches and methodologies, as well as their more detailed knowledge and experience of Bridge. Also we sought to clarify what aspects they had personally been involved in, and if there were any other significant Bridge activities taking place in their site.


The project used a qualitative approach based on 6 site visits, 5 visits to training evenings 8 face-to-face interviews and 30 telephone interviews. Thematic analysis was used to identify successes and challenges in the change management models.


It is quite clear that much has been learnt by both the leaders from the projects as well as those involved in the overall project management who were charged with development of new approaches to educational management, particularly in terms of structured change. Overall we believe that similar messages would have emerged from other change options, in particular with respect to the TDA change model. We clearly acknowledge the value of the ‘first hand’ expertise in terms of change management which was provided by the Bridge Consultancy. The significant value of the Coach in a Box to some of the individual participants should also be acknowledged. Limitations of this research should also be recognised, in that we were only able to consider something of a snapshot of views part way through the programme. As with the literature review we are aware of the significant limitations of the knowledge base in this area. We recommend and would very much hope that more detailed, particularly longitudinal, studies are undertaken which consider learner outcomes. This is an important area, and one which we believe does have an impact on learning and more general educational outcomes, so therefore deserves to be more rigorously researched and understood.


From the School of Education