Our research

Research report

Action Research at St Mark's Academy 2012

Edited by Karen Whitby, Lisa Peterkin and Olivia Douse

The aim of St Mark's 2012 action research was to analyse the role of partnership teaching in a classroom where different levels of linguistic ability constitute barriers to academic progress in English.

St Mark’s Academy has a diverse student population; pupils come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and speak over 50 languages. At the time of the research, a third of the pupils attending the Academy were considered to be learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL), and nearly 70 students were at an early stage of learning English. The highest population was from the Somali, Polish, Tamil and Urdu communities.

 The aim of the research was to analyse the role of partnership teaching in a classroom where different levels of linguistic ability constitute barriers to academic progress in English. In such a classroom, recognition of the needs of and differences between each individual student is a key issue for improving their linguistic development. Therefore the study also investigated whether partnership teaching is beneficial for EAL learners, and which aspects of partnership teaching are the most valuable in the mainstream English classroom. 

Within this report, staff have explored areas such as differentiation; use of independent learning; how to ensure good quality learning continues in a cover lesson; questioning; different models of staff training; developing a values-based system; effective transition; assessment and tracking; the role of student leadership; empowering middle leaders and developing higher-order thinking skills.