The aim of the evaluation was to assess the design, implementation and outcomes of 18 pilot school cluster projects trialing approaches to managing school absence cover.
- A range of innovative and alternative models to address school absence cover have been implemented by cluster projects.
- The flexible approach to managing and monitoring together with the autonomy given to cluster projects by Welsh Government has enabled them to assess the effectiveness of their delivery models and make adaptations where required.
- Cluster projects report an investment in the quality and capacity of supply teachers.
- A range of positive teaching and learning outcomes as well as wider school improvement activities were reported.
- The project has strengthened collaboration and best practice across cluster schools.
- There is some evidence that efficiency in supply management has been supported with resource and administrative benefits reported by clusters who normally used external supply agencies.
- Due to the variation in approaches to deploying supernumerary teachers and limitations in monitoring data, it was not possible to make an accurate comparison with the costs of alternate approaches to supply cover.
- Around a third of cluster projects are either continuing or considering continuing some elements of their project. While there is a desire amongst remaining clusters to continue there maybe financial barriers to doing so.
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