Research Leads: current practice, future prospects

Anna Riggall
Rachel Singer

This report is the third of three publications that collectively provide a commentary on research awareness and research use within schools in England

The first in the suite, a report authored by Tony McAleavy, deals with difficult questions such as whether teaching should be seen as a form of evidence-based practice; whether there is enough good research to guide day-to-day practice in school and whether schools should be generating and using evidence of their own. The second, by Tom Bennett, is a reflective essay on the relatively new idea of a school-based Research Lead and what this role might look like in practice. Tom welcomes the diversity of possible interpretations of the role and provides a taxonomy based on some contrasting ways of doing research coordination. Tom’s report has been influenced by the growing community of Research Leads who have emerged from within the researchED community that he has promoted.

This third report in the series presents findings from a small-scale, detailed study of teachers who are operating as their school’s Research Lead. The small scale of the study is significant. We contacted over 2,000 members of the researched social media community, fully aware that many of these people were not acting as whole-school research coordinators. Of the 2,000 contacts, 55 responses were received from individuals who had both completed our questionnaire and appeared to be operating in practice as a whole-school research coordinator. It seems that the number of active school-based Research Leads is still relatively few. Nevertheless, this small pioneering group is engaged in a serious enterprise. They are attempting, in different ways, to create a new form of teacher professionalism based on research engagement.

Other reports in series:

Teaching as a research-engaged profession

The school Research Lead