An Evidence-Informed Approach

Engaging with evidence has contributed significantly to our school improvement journey. We are very proud of what we have achieved at Alexandra Park and more significantly the impact this has had on the children. We have successfully implemented research and evidence-informed approaches and practices over many years. We have learnt that implementation processes used are key to driving to success and effective monitoring and evaluation of approaches and practices are essential for professional learning and therefore impact of the education of our children.  We are also extremely proud of the support we have been able to provide to other schools, allowing us to have a wider impact on children across Stockport.

Being a Research School allows us to guide, advise and more importantly, empower other teachers and school leaders. As a school, we have created a research culture that enables all children and staff to excel. To continually develop, we feel it is crucial for teachers to have ongoing and regular opportunities to learn and, as a school, we regularly participate in activities that promote excellence and best practice. We have been using research and evidence for a long time to develop our practice and feel privileged to be able to be able to support other schools to ensure all children receive the absolute highest levels of education.

The appetite to understand how education evidence can underpin school improvement is growing. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. They do this by supporting schools, colleges and early years settings to improve teaching and learning through the better use of evidence.  The Research School Network (RSN) is a collaboration of 33 schools across England, supported by the EEF. Research Schools work with schools, colleges, and early years settings in their regions to champion the use of evidence and improve teaching and learning, with a focus on socio-economically disadvantaged children and young people.

Research Schools provide support to other schools by communicating research evidence, and supporting the translation of this into practice through training, exemplification and school-to-school support. The Network is organised into seven regions, each supported by an EEF Regional Delivery Lead.

Research Schools work with the other schools in their areas to help them to make better use of evidence to inform their teaching through:

  • encouraging schools to make use of evidence-based programmes and practices through regular communication and events;
  • providing training and professional development for senior leaders and teachers on how to improve classroom practice based on the best available evidence; and
  • supporting schools to develop innovative ways of improving teaching and learning and provide them with the expertise to evaluate their impact.

Over the last few years, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has developed an approach to evidence-informed school improvement, which treats the school as a continuously improving system. The model aims to frame research evidence in a school’s context, rather than the other way around, integrating the best available external evidence with professional expertise and internal data. At Alexandra Park, we use the EEF implementation cycle as part of our overall approach to evidence-informed school improvement and hope to support others to understand and develop their approach to implementation. 

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