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Leading Learning Year 7 evaluation report now available

The summative evaluation report of year seven of the Leading Learning Programme has been published. The report, compiled by Melita Armitage, details the reach and quality of the programme, exploring what difference the programme has made to participants. The report demonstrates the value the programme has brought to the careers of participants and concludes: "The underlying sense of energy and optimism of each successive cohort of participants is
palpable in the feedback of respondents. This is an exciting and affirming legacy of the programme and one that is repeatedly captured through the evaluation."
Download NLCF Leading Learning Programme Evaluation:
Summative report for the seventh year of the programme. [Pdf]

In-house learning, development and improvement support

Following consultation and feedback from the culture, leisure and sport sectors, we have developed a package of specialist in-house learning, development and improvement support as part of the NLCF Leading Learning Programme. This support has been specifically created to help leaders, teams and partnerships within the culture, leisure and sport sector to develop enhanced workplace resilience

Workplace resilience is the ability of the organisation, teams and individuals to respond to the challenges of the external environment in a way which achieves sustainable positive outcomes and enables people to flourish.

The support comprises bespoke one-day and half-day workshops, designed especially for your team or partnerships to develop new plans and ways of working and to support each other to develop new skills. Follow-up one-to-one coaching sessions are also provided. These sessions are delivered/facilitated by our team of specialist associates.

The workshops cover subjects which are not normally included in other learning and development programmes, but which are key to long-term workplace resilience:

  1. Developing and using Outcome Frameworks for your organisation or partnership
  2. Developing plans and skills for powerful influence and advocacy
  3. Creating collaborative working (not just partnerships)
  4. Collective innovation and creative problem-solving
  5. Systemic improvement (to solve complex challenges in a way which reduces the risk of the solutions becoming tomorrow’s problems)
  6. Creating a system and style which enables your people to become more resilient
  7. Managing your mental, emotional and physical states (including handling stress and anxiety)
  8. Managing the ‘flood’ (of work!)
  9. Working with the changing political environment
  10. Peer-supported improvement (including peer coaching, mentoring and action learning sets)

Steve Wood, a member of the Leading Learning Programme associate team, explained the workshops in the context of the challenges that the leisure sector is facing. "We are being asked to achieve much more with decreasing funding and this looks set to continue into the future," he said. "These workshops are focused on the individual rather than their organisation’s processes or other people’s leadership style. The workshops will develop tangible new skills and change habitual behaviour relating to workplace resilience. We also hope that they will help delegates to influence the behaviours of their peers."

Please contact us and let us know what learning, development and improvement support your organisation and partnership needs. We will be happy to meet you to discuss this further. Contact Sue Isherwood, Leading Learning Programme Director, via the contacts page.

Rate your own workplace resilience

Try the free Workplace Resilience Diagnostic Exercise to help you assess your requirements for training and support.
This simple exercise is a preliminary stage of the Master Class Series. Download the tool and take a couple of minutes to gauge your workplace resilience.
Download the free Workplace Resilience Diagnostic Exercise
[Excel file; you may have to enable editing to view]

High-quality, relevant and specific: report evaluates six years of the Leading Learning Programme

The Leading Learning Programme has maintained its quality and relevance while successfully delivering individualised and specific learning to professionals working in local government, according to a long-term evaluation of the sixth year of the programme. Based on surveys of six annual cohorts of alumni, the evaluation report found that members of the Leading Learning Programme were overwhelmingly positive about the impact of the programme on their professional lives, whether through aspects of personal development that the course provides or the taking of skills and perspectives learned during the programme into their work. The surveys of alumni show that each year participants’ expectations are that the programme will enable them to achieve career ambitions and that these expectations are consistently realised. The report also notes the scale of the challenges that Leading Learning Programme alumni are encountering in their professional working environments. “What comes through the comments from participants loud and clear,” the report states, “is the extent of change that they are in the throes of navigating, whether those changes are to do with outsourcing and restructuring services, staff turnover, political upheaval and budgetary restraints.”
• Download The Leading Learning Programme Summative Evaluation of Year Six [pdf]
• To discuss any aspect of he Leading Learning Programme, including participation in the 2016 programme, contact the programme director Sue Isherwood via

Leading Learning masterclass series: get on the list

The Leading Learning Programme’s one-day masterclass series offers senior leisure professionals the opportunity to access expert tuition, discourse and debate with the leading figures of the industry. Themes for recent events in the series have included resilience, restructuring services, thought processes, and advocacy and influencing. To be included on the mailing list and be among the first to hear about the new programme contact Sue Isherwood at

Leading Learning Programme alumnus wins Guardian public servant of the year award
Christine Parsloe, leisure and culture development manager at the London Borough of Merton and alumnus of the Leading Learning Programme, has been named the Guardian public servant of the year. Having won the online vote from a short list of peers from across the public sector, Parsloe thanked everyone who had voted for her. “This is a massive accolade,” she told colleagues at the Leading Learning Programme, “but one that can only be achieved with other fantastic people around you, so thank you one and all.” The national competition seeks to acknowledge and celebrate those who “embody the very sprit and ethos of public service” and find the public servant “who has gone the extra mile for service users and made a real difference to outcomes”. Speaking to the Guardian, Parsloe was clear that such awards were important to a precariously funded sector such as sport, leisure and culture. “Keeping a high profile for our services is very, very important because the public must need and want them,” she said. “Otherwise we’re at risk – we’re not a statutory service. We’re measured by how happy and satisfied people are with their lot. In difficult and challenging times, it’s nice to know that your council is trying to lessen your challenges. It gives a great feelgood factor.” The award follows Parsloe’s work to deliver tangible legacy achievements from London 2012. Working with no specific budget, Merton has seen a doubling of the number of young people taking part in health and fitness activities at the borough’s leisure centres, the development of partnerships to bring in external funding, the opening of a BMX track, the creation of two beach volleyball courts in Wimbledon Park and 116,000 children have tried out activities at its watersports centre. “I didn’t do all that work last year on my own,” she said. “I did it with a huge number of people all playing out their parts in a massive theatre.”

"The Leading Learning Programme is an excellent programme and one that I’d recommend to anybody. Those that are good managers still need to go on it." Christine Parsloe

Read The Leisure Review interview with Christine in which she explains how the Leading Learning Programme helped her develop her career, her leadership skills and her ability to deliver services on behalf of her communities


The Leading Learning Programme: the First Five Years
The Leading Learning Programme has helped more than 100 cultural leaders develop a strategic and political perspective, leading to better decision-making and more efficient use of resources, according to a review of the programme’s first five years. Published via the Leading Learning Programme website, The Leading Learning Programme: Review of the First Five Years explains the context for development of the programme and explores the benefits derived by the individuals taking part, the organisations that employ them and the communities on whose behalf they work. As part of the review Leading Learning participants identified numerous benefits in relation to leadership in challenging circumstances, often describing increased confidence in their ability to lead. Alumni surveys show that an understanding of the importance of working with politicians is among a wide range of topics and learning elements that have been used in the workplace by Leading Learning participants. The programme has also encouraged leaders to forge relationships across departments and with elected members, helping councils project consensus and deliver improved outcomes for communities.
• The Leading Learning Programme: Review of the First Five Years, written by Melita Armitage, is available via the resources page of the Leading Learning Programme website

Sport England supporting Leading Learning

Sport England sponsored two places on the Leading Learning Programme in 2014. This sponsorship recognises the importance of investing in those partnerships that Sport England is forging with local authorities in the major cities.




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