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Education Development Trust: leading the way in educational research

25 August 2015

To help supercharge the research debate, Education Development Trust has commissioned a series of reports and surveys on the role of research in schools which we will be publishing later this autumn.

The work seeks to understand what part research can play in school improvement, what are the obstacles to it, and what role teachers and schools can realistically play in learning from and participating in research.   

Research in schools is an important – but often overlooked – facet of education. Until recently, involvement in research has tended to be the personal enthusiasm of the individual teacher rather than a coordinated whole-school endeavour. Our latest reports, written by Tony McAleavy, research and development director at Education Development Trust and Tom Bennett, director and founder of researchED, not only help to further establish Education Development Trust as a thought leader in teaching research but also underline its role as an essential element of pedagogy.

The role of the research lead

It will demonstrate how we are working to deliver best practice and become the first academy chain to put a ‘research lead’ – a key individual who takes a whole-school view of the use of evidence – into all of our schools.

These will be important and timely reports. As Tony McAleavy explains: ‘Our understanding of teacher professionalism is in flux and we have a chance to re-define teaching as a research-engaged calling. The new cadre of research leads can influence this and make sure that our view of evidence is securely institutional rather than individualistic.’

How to become research-informed

The reports will provide guidance to any teacher interested in becoming more research informed, suggest different approaches to research leadership and offer advice on how new research leads might use their role to help deliver better teaching and learning in their school.  

While there remain contested issues in educational research, we believe there are also good grounds for optimism about the task of better connecting school teaching with the world of education research.  Our reports will demonstrate why this is such an exciting moment for everyone interested in the development of teacher professionalism.

As Tom Bennett explains: ‘Increasingly, teachers and schools are becoming aware of the possibilities that becoming research-aware can bring. There is a small but powerful movement within the profession – in the UK and abroad – that has begun to integrate the fruits of research and the skills of the research practitioner into their own practice.’