Why engage in Research and Development in schools?

In a period of decentralisation, schools are often faced with a myriad of different strategies to improve progress/outcomes for students. As a result it often becomes difficult to decide which strategy is right . There is therefore a need for reliable and accessible evidence to inform decision making over the strategies to use.

Where we have come from…

Blue Coat school as hub of the Teaching School Alliance has been involved in small R and D projects over a few years. Having realised the significant benefits shown above of engaging in research the school has been working over the last year to become a research engaged school bringing teaching expertise together with the best external research evidence to improve the quality of teaching practise.

Working closely with the University of York the school has set out to create a culture in which research, evaluation and evidence are routinely used to identify and understand what works at Blue Coat.

With this growth in R and D activity the school has established a R and D team that are creating research projects in line with whole school priorities. As well as national projects, teaching staff have become very engaged in this and there are lots of examples of action research that is currently being carried out in school by different teachers and departments which are profiled below – these include:

  • Closing the Gap
  • Cornerstone Maths
  • Peer tutoring to develop literacy in year 7
  • The effect of single sex classes in year 8 German
  • Early interventions in year 7 to improve attendance
  • Developing Mental Toughness in year 11
  • Growth mindset strategies for Year 12

Where we are going…

Alliance partners get involved!

The move to an Alliance of schools has opened new exciting avenues and opportunities to get involved in more research through economies of scale and access to new expertise and resource among the Alliance partners
 The long term vision is to create a learning community of teachers and support staff which engages with the best evidence to inform practice.

Tune-in to Talking Phase 2

The Phase 1 research is complete, and we are now confidently extending the project to settings across Oldham. You can read the full report on Phase 1 and its impact here. It shows the progress made in Speech, Language and Communication by vulnerable cohorts of children, and the growth in practitioner knowledge and confidence using
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Tune-in to Talking for Early Years

Practitioners in Phase 1 made a fantastic contribution to our research by wholeheartedly putting the activities into practice in their settings. Read more here about what we did and its impact presentation slides 9th. Phase two starts next week with a programme for three settings which includes training, resources and music sessions for children and families.

Year 7 Maths Project: End of year review

The first year of this project is nearly complete and we have made some significant changes to the way we teach year 7: Students are now taught about 50% of the content from previous years and spend time mastering this and applying their knowledge through intelligent practice. The classes work in groups according to ability
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Phase 1 Findings Tune-In to Talking Early Years Project

Please see the attached presentation which documents the findings from Phase 1: Closing the Gap Research Project with selected school and PVI providers in Oldham in partnership with The Blue Coat School. phase 1 presentation

Year 7 Maths Project: Parents’ Support Evening

If we were going to be successful with this project we would have to engage parents.  We are lucky to be well supported in general by parents but often parents struggle to know how to help their sons and daughters in maths. “We didn’t do it like this when I was at school” “I tried
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Tune-in to Talking Project Update

    Since the enthusiastically attended launch training day, the project has taken off with a real buzz in all our partner settings. Participants have returned the Service Level Agreements to secure their share of the funding towards staff cover and for research grants. Seven settings will track children and provide data for our research
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Sarah is researching the effect of MT and target setting on Pupil Premium students

Narrowing the Gap: Using Mental Toughness & Aspirational Target Setting

Sarah Coleman in Social Science is researching the effect Mental Toughness training and target setting can have on Pupil Premium students: Pupil premium students have been identified nationally as one of the groups that are underachieving in schools. The research will include an initial analysis of the differences (if any) in home support in particular-
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Tune-in to Talking – A training and research project for Early Years practitioners

We are delighted to have been awarded funding for this Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) improvement project starting later this month. Our focus is on improving provision for disadvantaged children in Oldham by providing high quality training for practitioners to help them accelerate children’s speech language and communication through creative means and music. The project
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Randomised Control Trials

“This is not about telling teachers what to do. It is in fact quite the opposite. This is about empowering teachers to make independent, informed decisions about what works, by generating good quality evidence, and using it thoughtfully.” “The gains here are potentially huge. Medicine has leapt forward with evidence-based practice. Teachers have the same
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Paul Briggs

Context-based learning in STEM

Paul Briggs in Design Technology is investigating What impact does context-based learning have on effort and achievement within extended writing? As STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) co-ordinator for the school it will be interesting to see if applying a specific STEM context to a piece of extending writing will result in pupils achieving a higher
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Mr Luscombe is investigating competition and the effect it has on  homework

Motivation in Mathematics

Laurie Luscombe in Maths is investigating To what extent is motivation towards homework a factor in the success of a pupil studying mathematics?   Research into the influences on students’ GCSE attainment and progress at age 16 carried out by the Department for Education points towards homework as a key factor in the mathematical success
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The A-Level Mindset

Steve Oakes, The Assistant Director for the 6th Form is currently looking at improving students’ performance as a pastoral leader. Background Story The leap from GCSE to A level is a significant and challenging one, and students often find themselves struggling. We have worked together for five years supporting students with difficulties and conceptualising these
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Design and Technology – The Flipped Classroom

Mrs Lawson was keen to investigate the impact of new curricula on pupil progress at KS3. Based on the changing curriculum at KS3, two Y9 Textiles classes have been selected as focus groups to trial a more relevant and realistic Project Based Learning program. Pupils will work with a ‘Flipped Classroom’ approach and become increasingly independent
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Growth Mindset in the Social Sciences

Miss Henshall wanted to investigate the impact of Growth Mindset strategies on students achievement and attitudes in the Social Sciences Background Story The aim of the interventions was to increase AS Social Sciences students’ motivation levels and in turn improve attainment. This would be done by implementing strategies that aim to increase how much students value
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lucy hough

Developing Mental Toughness in Year 11

Mr Keane Director of Learning Year 11 was interested in improving the wellbeing of year 11 students. Background Story In my role as pastoral lead I was concerned by the report from the National Children’s Society in 2013 which commented on the negative wellbeing of teenagers. At the same time I was reading a lot of
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Cornerstone Maths

The Northern Alliance is also involved in subject-specific Research and Development, in 2013-2014 focussed on Mathematics.  We are part of a national project designed at developing pupil understanding at Key Stage 3, Cornerstone Mathematics.  Cornerstone Mathematics is the result of collaboration between SRI International and the London Knowledge Lab working with nine English schools in
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Closing the Gap: Test and Learn project

Along with 1000 schools across the UK we are taking part in an ambitious and exciting project ‘Closing the Gap: Test and Learn’ organised by the National College. This involves testing a series of interventions (Growth Mindset, Research Lesson Study and Response to Intervention – Literacy) nationally and across the Alliance to see the effects on progress
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Growth Mindset to Improve Year 12 Student Outcomes

At Key Stage 5 Dr MacKey (Chemistry) is looking at a variety of interventions including Growth Mindset to target how we can improve the outcomes for year 12 students deemed at a risk of failure Background Story Together with our head of chemistry, we identified a group of students that were most at risk of
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dave kelly

A study into the effectiveness of early intervention strategies for pupils with low attendance in year 7.

Mr Kelly ( PE) and Mrs Lees (Social Inclusion) are studying the impact of early intervention strategies in year 7 for pupils who are at risk of developing attendance issues in key stage 3. – with a particular focus on Pupil Premium students. Background Research Taylor (2011) in his report titled Improving Attendance in School states
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jutta

Effects of single sex classes and ‘boy friendly’ teaching strategies on progress in year 8 German.

In year 8 Ms Thiessen White (German) is looking at the effects of single sex classes and ‘boy friendly’ teaching strategies on progress in German. Background At the end of the last academic year the deputy head teacher in charge of assessment suggested to my Head of department that we could have one single-sex (all
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tori boyle

Impact of Peer Tutoring on Developing Literacy Levels

Miss Boyle (English) and Mrs Ryan are currently evaluating the quantitative and qualitative impact of peer tutoring on developing the literacy levels and experiences of year 7s. As Literacy Co-ordinator and Learning Mentor we were interested in the achievement of our most vulnerable students. We decided to look at the qualitative and quantitative impact of peer tutoring on
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