Five schools unveiled as regional research hubs

Five schools across England will be given a share of £2.5 million to become education research hubs for their region, it was announced today.

The new “research schools” will receive the funding from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE) to build support networks between the schools in their areas with the aim of getting teachers to make better use of evidence.

The five were unveiled at the Department for Education West Midlands conference at Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick today.

They include Aspirer Teaching School Alliance, based at Ash Grove Academy in Macclesfield, Huntington School in York, Kingsbridge Community College in Devon, Kyra Teaching School Alliance, based at Mount Street Academy in Lincoln, and Shireland Collegiate Academy in Sandwell.

The EEF said the chosen schools, who were selected following an application process, are all recognised as “leaders in bridging education research” who will use their expertise to support up to 1,000 schools across the country.

The research schools will be expected to be in regular communication with neighbouring schools, providing training and professional development for senior leaders and teachers on how to improve classroom practice based on evidence.

They should also support schools to develop “innovative ways” of improving teaching and learning and providing them with expertise to evaluate their impact.

The EEF has previously piloted two other research schemes which set aside £1.5 million to “improve the link” between research and school practice.

But results released earlier this year found no substantive evidence that the projects had an impact on classroom practice and the use of academic research. The EEF said teachers “struggle to interpret and act on findings”.

Sir Peter Lampl, chair of the EEF, said evidence “of what works” is one of “our most useful tools in the drive to improve educational standards” and the launch of research schools is an “important step by the EEF to supporting schools to make best use of it”.

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said a “significant and growing body” of academic research is now available to schools and no-one is “better placed” than teachers to support schools in applying evidence findings to the classroom.

Roger Pope, executive principal of Kingsbridge Community College, said being one of the first five research schools is a “fantastic opportunity that allows us to build on our extensive networks so that we can support other schools in embedding a research-based approach to improving pupil outcomes”.

The EEF and IEE will appoint a further five research schools next year. Each of the ten schools will receive £200,000 over three years to fulfil their roles.

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