If you have been following my blog for any period of time, you will know that I think it would be a very good thing if we were to better use research evidence to support the teaching profession.
You see, I don’t see research evidence as something you disappear off to a university to find, or a bolt-on added extra to provide a glossy sheen to a singular school training session. For me, I see reading, understanding, distilling and translating the best available evidence to help guide our work as a basic necessity given the importance of what we do.
It can help us fight off fads, better evaluate and implement what we do, providing guidance for our decision-making in the thick of school life. Lee Shulman described teaching as tantamount to the complexity of an emergency room in a natural disaster (clearly, Lee has seen a few lessons with hormone-fuelled teens). With such complexity, we can do with every useful help and support we can find.
Now, many a research journal is not very useful for busy classroom teachers and school leaders, but by selecting the best resources and distilling the research down into useable knowledge to inform our training and practice, we can better manage our own personal classroom-shaped emergency room.
So, what of this new development?
Well, I am happy to say that Huntington School has been designated as one of five schools in the new Education Endowment Foundation and Institute for Effective Education joint project to establish a national network of Research Schools. I now have the great privilege of leading Huntington Research School in the exciting first wave of the Research Schools project.
The other Research Schools in the first wave of this project include:
- Aspirer Teaching School Alliance, based at Ash Grove Academy, Macclesfield
- Kingsbridge Community College, Devon
- Kyra Teaching School Alliance, based at Mount Street Academy, Lincoln
- Shireland Collegiate Academy, Sandwell.
As a Research School we will have the remit to help support the school-led system in the Yorkshire and Humber region to root what we do in the existing evidence base, whilst growing that evidence base still further with valuable research from local schools. We will disseminate research evidence and useful tools, provide training to teachers and school leaders, as well as hosting events and launching innovative new projects.
We know that schools trust one another and share practice. We know that the best research evidence is rooted in the needs of students and their teachers. We know that excellence exists in schools across our region. Our aim is to help connect and network that expertise.
There is much more to come and more to say about this Research School development, but with no little excitement, I wanted to say that we are happy to have made a start.
Do follow our Twitter feed at @HuntResearchSchool and you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Huntington Research School website will be imminently populated with blogs and information about training here: http://huntington.researchschool.org.uk.
Right, now, time to get back to the emergency room!