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Shotton Hall one of six new research schools

Date Published:
Friday 07 April 2017

The Academy at Shotton Hall has been named as one of six new ‘research schools’ in England. We have been selected to receive £200k of funding to help improve the quality of teaching in the region by getting more teachers to use academic research in ways that make a difference in the classroom.

Our appointment is the only such one in the region making us a focal point for educational research in the north east. Over the next three years, we will work to break down barriers between teachers and academics by developing a programme of support and events for north east schools. These will include a range of training programmes designed to make research more accessible for teachers and bringing, what can too often be dismissed as complex concepts and principles, to life for use in the classroom.

Louise Quinn, Director of Shotton Hall Research School, who led our bid said:

“As the founding school of the North East Learning Trust, a network of schools in the North East, we are well placed to lead on this exciting opportunity for the region. Making educational research accessible to teachers is at the heart of Research Schools. More importantly, they communicate what is most likely to work in terms of moving students on. Becoming a Research School not only puts us at the centre of innovative practice, but it gives us another method of improving outcomes for the children of the north east.”

SCHOOLS NorthEast, the regional network for 1,250 schools across the region, welcomed the news. Mike Parker, Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, added:

 “We need a step change in achievement, particularly at GCSE and A Level, and having a dedicated research school in the region will give a clear focus for engaging all north east schools in evidence-based education so that pupils achieve their full potential. We will do everything we can to support the Academy at Shotton Hall and help it to bring research into teaching practice for as many of our schools as possible.”

The first five Research Schools were announced in October 2016. Since then, they 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 early years literacy and support to develop Research School leads. 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.

In addition, the IEE have awarded the first innovation evaluation grants to schools working alongside their local Research Schools. The projects being funded include evaluations of innovations designed to develop pupil vocabulary, increase pupil resilience and improve feedback to students.

In January, the Education Secretary announced funding for a Research School in all 12 ‘opportunity area’, regions of England where social mobility is low. They will be announced later this year.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“For years, the worlds of education research and classroom teaching have been too far apart. The EEF has been making research more accessible to teachers through our Toolkit.

“Research Schools are breaking down these barriers even more 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 first five Research Schools to using research evidence to enhance teaching and learning. The six new schools show every indication that they will contribute considerably to the growing Research Schools network. These schools will improve outcomes for children around the country.”

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