National Evaluation of the Applied Learning Specialism Programme

This project will evaluate the introduction of vocational specialisms in high performing specialist schools. Two hundred specialist schools will be designated with a vocational second specialism by 2008. They will be expected to work closely with a range of partners to raise the quality of vocational learning in line with the aims of the 14-19 Education and Skills White Paper. It is anticipated that the vocational specialist schools and their partners will play an important formative role in the development of the fourteen new specialist diplomas announced in the White Paper.

There are four main evaluation questions:

  1. How is vocationalism conceptualised within the programme?
  2. What models of supporting schools in institutional, staff and curriculum development are developed within the programme?
  3. What approaches to partnership development and local system leadership are developed through the programme?
  4. What impact does the programme have upon the provision and take-up of vocational learning in the specialist and partner schools?

Three main methods of data collection will be deployed:

  1. Baseline and annual questionnaires to all participating schools
  2. Fifteen partnership case studies reflecting the geographical distribution, vocational specialisms, institutional structures and socio-economic contexts of the programme
  3. Analysis of national level policy documents, research, evaluation and inspection findings and programme documentation.