School-led research development

A workshop jointly presented by TEAN, the Teacher Education Advancement Network and IPDA England, (International Professional Development Association)

Visit the TEAN web site (to find out more about the TEAN Journal as well as the work of the Teacher Education Advancement Network.

This IPDA/TEAN event took place at the University of Cumbria, London campus, on June 10th, 2014. Schools in England are taking an increasing role in the training of teachers, both of beginning and experienced staff. Research and development opportunities for teachers, where the ultimate goal should be to empower professionals with evidence, are significant and this event sought to address the following questions: How can research capacity be built in schools? How can research practice be embedded as part of general practice? How does it benefit learning in school? In what ways can strong partnerships between schools and HEI promote and enhance opportunities for school-led research?

We were very pleased to welcome Bob Burstow to open proceedings by setting the scene for us and inviting us to consider the policy landscape. How, he asked, are teacher and researcher ‘related’ to one another? What were the mistakes of the past and how can we avoid them now? The challenge, he reminded us, is for us all.

You download Bob’s powerpoint here.

Dr Jonathan Sharples gave the keynote for the day. Jonathan Sharples is Manager of Partnerships at the Institute for Effective Education, University of York, which aims to capture and spread ‘what works’ in teaching and learning. He is building networks with educational stakeholders across the sector to advance evidence-informed policy and practice. Jonathan regularly supports schools by signposting them to relevant research information, and helps teachers apply the evidence in practice. Heis currently on secondment to the Education Endowment Foundation.

The title of Jonathan’s keynote was: ‘How do you choose a washing machine? Using evidence to improve outcomes.’ He suggested that part of the problem is the difference between the two worlds of school and research. However the momentum for research is being carried by the profession and uncovering that the weak link is coupling evidence with practice.

You can download Jonathan’s powerpoint here

Other resources mentioned by Jonathan:

Building evidence in education – Ben Goldacre

Evidence for the frontline – A report for the alliance for useful evidence – Jonathan Sharples

Delegates had the opportunity to address the questions which Jonathan had posed and a summary of their thoughts is to be found in the group debates below.

After lunch, we welcomed school colleagues to explain their position with regards to school-led research development:

Bob Drew OBE, Head Teacher at Gearies Primary school, started this section of the day for us. He explained that everything must come from the Head of the school. Bob made the decision that his staff would engage with Masters. All the work for the Masters was based around school improvement, all was practical. He feels strongly that Masters study raises the game but you do need the culture in the school and to embed research in whole school development.

You can download Bob’s powerpoint here

Other documents from Bob Drew

Theory of Change – Bob Drew

Pedagogy proposal – Infrastructure proposal – Bob Drew

PE and sport Theory of Change – Bob Drew

Next we heard from Emlyn Lumley, Headteacher at Park High School and Hélène Galdin- O’Shea, English and Media teacher and CPD co-ordinator at the same school. Emlyn encouraged us to think of this as a time to innovate and not be risk averse. Masters again was mentioned as a positive step, encouraging staff to have the confidence to take risks.Hélène suggested to us that research and development opportunities for teachers, where the ultimate goal should be to empower professionals with evidence, are significant. She described examples of effective research into classroom questions with enthusiasm and commitment.

You can download Hélène’s powerpoint here

Finally Anastasia Ioakeimidou and Andrew Thorpe Anderson, on behalf of the Woodfield Teaching School Alliance, talked of changing educational landscapes. Andrew suggested that lots of Teaching Schools do not know what to do about research development and would welcome help from Higher Education. Productive partnerships with HEIs are most important he suggested.

The group debates during the day produced a lot of ideas and a synthesis of key points can be accessed here.