The new Research Schools – part-funded through the Government’s Opportunity Areas programme and part of a joint initiative between the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE) - were unveiled by the Education Secretary Justine Greening at a summit hosted by the Sutton Trust today.
The Keele and North Staffordshire Alliance will receive £200,000 over three years to become the focal point of evidence-based practice in Stoke on Trent and build networks between large numbers of schools. They’ll develop a programme of support and events to get more teachers using research evidence in ways that make a difference in the classroom.
The 11 new Research Schools, appointed following a competitive application process, are:
The Keele and North Staffordshire Alliance will join a growing network of Research Schools across the country. The first five were announced in October 2016, with a second six established in January 2017.
The Alliance has been recognised as an Outstanding provider of Initial Teacher Education and consists of a partnership of over 70 schools, including Teaching School Alliances. They work in a collaborative partnership with Keele University and have links with Staffordshire University too.
Since their inception, Research Schools have delivered a wide range of activities nationally to help teachers to use research to improve their teaching. They include programmes to help schools make the most of teaching assistants, training to support literacy in the early years and backing to develop Research School leads to spearhead the use of evidence in the classroom. They’ve also hosted conferences for schools in their area and put together monthly Research Schools Network newsletters, sent to 3000 teachers around the country.
Justine Greening also announced today that Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the EEF, would become ‘Evidence Champion’ for the Opportunity Areas. He will support the regions, including Stoke-on-Trent to better use evidence to improve outcomes and social mobility prospects for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged homes.
Education Secretary Justine Greening said: 'Teachers are key to making sure that young people can reach their potential, regardless of where they start in life, so helping the profession be the best it can be will help tackle social mobility. By gathering evidence on what works in the classroom and sharing the best practice with teachers we can help to level up the opportunities for every pupil. These Research Schools will accelerate the work that is already underway in our Opportunity Areas and as our 'Evidence Champion', I know that Sir Kevan will look to share these learnings with teachers across the country.'
Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: 'I’m delighted that Kevan is to become ‘Evidence Champion’. Under his leadership the Education Endowment Foundation has changed the landscape of education research in England. No one is better placed to support and inspire schools to use research to improve outcomes for their pupils.'
Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, added: 'We know that there are big differences in social mobility across the country. Reaching those ‘coldspots’ is one of the biggest challenges we face in our drive to improve social mobility.
'Evidence of ‘what works’ is one of our most useful tools to do this. I’m looking forward to getting started as ‘Evidence Champion’ and bringing this to bear in these areas that need it most. By working with local partners, schools and organisations, we have the potential to really make a difference.
'The new Research Schools will be crucial. They’ll help to break down barriers so that research doesn’t stay in the pages of academic journals but has a real impact on classroom practice. Putting teachers in the driving seat can make all the difference.'
Professor Bette Chambers, Director at the Institute for Effective Education, said: 'We have been very impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm of the first eleven Research Schools to using research evidence to enhance teaching and learning. The new Research Schools show similar enthusiasm and will contribute considerably to the growing Research Schools Network. “By supporting schools in their areas, and bridging the gap between research and practice, they will help to improve outcomes for children across the country.'
Sandra Mitchell, headteacher of Seabridge Primary School said: ‘We are delighted that the Alliance will be well places to enrich and enhance teachers’ engagement with research. Evidence informed decision making is something that many teachers will welcome as a way to help improve the educational experience for all pupils.’
Professor Shane O'Neill, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Advancement & Global Engagement, Keele University said: 'We are delighted at Keele University to support and foster a vibrant partnership with the new Research School for Stoke-on-Trent. Keele University is committed to building on its strengths in interdisciplinary research seeking to overcome all forms of social exclusion so that we can harness the talents of all. The research that will be undertaken by the School on inequality, educational opportunities and social inclusion, will form a key strand of these interdisciplinary collaborations with leading researchers.'
Jo Morgan Chief Executive Officer The Shaw Education Trust added: 'The Shaw Education Trust believes that the learning revolution begins in the classroom; having a Research School as an integral part of what we do, brings an incredible opportunity to really transform the lives of our young people.'
Research School Website: www.researchschool.org.uk