DG Murray Trust (DGMT)
Terms of Reference
Independent Evaluator – Public School Partnerships Programme
Background - About the Public School Partnerships Programme
A public school partnership is a network of partnerships between government and civil society designed to accelerate the transition of schools to providing ‘an education of progressively higher quality for all learners.’ All participants of the Public School Partnership programme are driven by a deeply held belief that every child has the right to high quality education regardless of socio economic status and every parent and educator should be empowered to provide it. We are committed to working together in partnership with government and civil society to provide parents with the choice of a Public School Partnership that delivers high quality education measured by learner outcomes.
The project’s core partnership is amongst parents, a public school, and a School Operating Partner (SOP). Together, their representatives constitute the School Governing Body (SGB). The Provincial Education Department continues its oversight of the public school and also manages and supports the SOP. The core partnership is complemented by a number of supporting funders, service providers, local community, and advocacy organisations. Schools are either existing public schools that are on a journey of ‘transition’ or are sometimes brand new schools which are adding to their complement of learners each year. The ‘type’ of school has an impact on the way in which the SOP operates.
Through the intervention of a SOP, the key levers for change are:
- Greater capacity and support available to the school governing body, school leadership, staff and teachers;
- Accountability of each stakeholder, whether the SOP, SGB, Principal, or teachers, for ensuring high quality teaching and learning is taking place in schools; and
- Increased flexibility in delivery of teaching and learning to fit the needs of the pupils within the schools.
In 2020, the Public School Partnership programme will enter the fifth and final year of the initial 5-year pilot phase.
In the Western Cape, the project is known as ‘Collaboration Schools’ with reference to the Collaboration Schools Amendment Bill. Three school operating partners work in ten Collaboration schools.
In the Eastern Cape, the project is known as ‘Partnership Schools’ and one school operating partner operates in 8 comparatively smaller schools. The Eastern Cape project is comparatively newer, having started in 2018, and is still developing the model of school governance. Collectively, over 9000 learners attend schools in the two provinces
The programme is currently managed by a Pilot Support Office (PSO), on behalf of a group of contributing funders.
About the assignment
The Pilot Support Office (PSO) is commissioning an evaluation to review and document what has been accomplished thus far and to inform any future scaling of the programme.
Specifically, we are seeking an experienced organisation to lead an independent evaluation of the Public School Partnerships Programme to address the following research questions:
- Are PSP schools on a fundamentally different trajectory towards quality education, relative to comparable no-fee public schools, as measured by learner outcomes?
- What are the lessons that have been learned over the initial pilot phase?
- How should these lessons inform programme design post 2021?
We would like these three questions to be considered broadly and as well as specifically in terms of the key stakeholders: government, school operating partners, school leaders, teachers, learners, parents, and funders. The findings should also differentiate between the comparatively different models in the two provinces.
The final evaluation outputs will be for internal purposes and are also an opportunity for key partners to reflect on the project and milestones reached to date. They will, however, also serve as the basis for the development of communication and advocacy tools (see ‘Scope of Work.’) Outputs should therefore be made in an appropriately succinct and relatable format.
We are seeking technical and financial proposals based on a strong methodology and an experienced team.
In answering the research questions, we anticipate the evaluator to take a largely qualitative approach, with some quantitative analysis of available data. This may include:
- Interviews with the key stakeholders mentioned above.
- Documenting the longitudinal journey that PSP will have taken from 2016 – 2020.
- A report of similar length, approach and format to the 2017 baseline study is NOT required (see below), but a description of the journey should be provided that informs and motivates others embarking on the journey.
- An exercise to synthesize and analyse the programme’s existing data into a common framework.
- The collation of comparable data for comparable schools, including learner outcomes data (NSC, systemic results) and Whole School Evaluation data or other appropriate benchmarks where feasible.
- Conduct side-by-side analysis to compare activities and outcomes in Collaboration Schools vs comparative schools.
- It is observed that each school responds to the PSP intervention in different ways. Based on the analytical exercise, and with input from the programme’s development partners, describe and categorize PSP schools into distinct groups that are observed to respond to the school operator model in similar ways, and discuss implications for programme design post 2020.
- A consideration of the pilot’s strategy, developed in 2018, considering both the approach to the evaluation, and also how the findings of the evaluation may or may not inform this strategy looking forward.
- Inform the programme’s work on financial sustainability and scale, to take into consideration cost scenarios that are likely to replicate or improve the PSP’s achievements at scale
Three primary sources of evidence should be considered in the evaluation:
- A baseline study was commissioned by the PSO in 2016/7.
- This comprehensive document (128 pages) documented the emerging findings, achievements and challenges of implementing the model at 2017. It also documented 4 school case-studies (148 pages).
- A rich set of longitudinal, and current reports/data on the project:
- Reports/datasets that include learner outcomes, programme delivery, financial management, SOP-development reports and school improvement plans
- The inclusion of Whole School Evaluation (or the new School Evaluation Authority’ evaluations in the Western Cape) should be considered as an impartial and recognised measure of school performance
- Primary research to be identified by the independent evaluator.
Scope of work
Indicative tasks for the Independent Evaluator include:
- Work with PSP Pilot Support Office (PSO) to agree on the objectives, research questions, methodological approach, sampling, outcome indicators, and research tools;
- Develop a detailed workplan, clearly outlining roles and responsibilities, deliverables and timelines;
- Produce a detailed analysis of findings, including recommendations to support the design of an impact evaluation of PSP in the next phase of the programme, including the suggestion of indicative milestones
- Conduct the review, including reporting in a succinct relatable format.
- The production of collateral is not required, but the reporting should provide the basis for advocacy and associated collateral without requiring significant interpretation;
The above list of tasks is not exhaustive. It will be further developed and agreed upon during the inception meeting.
- Inception report;
- Data collection tools, sampling plan and analysis plan;
- Field work and methodological report;
- Draft reports, and presentation of finding at a meeting of key stakeholders; and
- Final review reports including executive summary, full report, proposed design of an impact evaluation for the following phase of the pilot and presentation to a similar stakeholder group.
The Independent Evaluator will begin the assignment as soon as feasible in 2020, would expect the evaluation to take three to four months and should be complete by the end of June 2020.
The primary recipients for this review will be the Pilot Support Office, and the project’s group of contributing funders. The independent evaluator will report to and be supported by the PSO.
Skills and qualifications of the required team
The team will need to demonstrate a range of experience in undertaking process and impact evaluations, preferably in the education sector.
The team will have relevant expertise and contextual knowledge and understanding.
The evaluation is funded by the DG Murray Trust, representing a group of the Public School Partnership’s contributing funders. An indicative budget of R1mil is provisioned for the evaluation, although proposals offering value-for-money will be viewed in a favourable light.
Criteria for selection
Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Experience undertaking process and impact evaluations;
- Knowledge of the education sector, specifically in South Africa and in the ambit of ordinary non-fee schools;
- Quality of the methodology and tools proposed;
- Value for money offer of financial proposal;
- Team composition
- BEE status
How to apply:
- Service providers, individuals, or a team of individuals are invited to apply. One entity or person will be required to take responsibility for satisfactory delivery of the work.
- Applications will be considered on a rolling basis but should aim to be submitted by Tues 10th March 2020.
- The proposal will need to be organised according to the following headings:
- A summary understanding of the scope of work, including the context and goals of the review
- Overview of proposed approach and methodology:
- Research questions to be addressed and key outcomes to be examined given the programme theory of change (i.e. 3 levers of change)
- Overall approach to review (e.g., process evaluation)
- Data sources:
- Existing data sources to be used for secondary data analysis
- Suggested primary data collection approach, proposed sample size and sampling approach
- Information about the development of data collection tools or the use of existing data collection tools and of data collection processes
- Overall data management and analytical approach
- Team structure, including detailed curriculum vitae (CV) of proposed team members. Please include BEE certifications where applicable
- Project management approach, timetable and proposed quality assurance processes
- Ethical considerations
- A detailed budget, including details of staff, overheads and other expenses, and a narrative outlining the value for money proposition.
- An indicative budget should be to a maximum of R1,000,000, excluding VAT
Members of the PSO may avail themselves for Q&A upon request.
Enquiries and proposals should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
 A school operating partner is a non-profit civil society organisation that has been commissioned by the provincial education department to work in partnership with a number of public schools to delivery high quality education.
 The PSP Mid-Pilot Strategy will be provided to the selected organisation.
 The PSO will be using the final reports to produce informational and advocacy documents aimed at school leaders, parents, teachers, students, Department of Education partners, etc.