NCTL has just announced a funding opportunity to allow Teaching Schools to develop their research skills using the Evidence Based Teaching methodology.  Clearly this ties in neatly with our work on the Leadership of Great Pedagogy and a number of other projects the alliance is involved in.  Our bid is outlined below:

The Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis

Jurassic Coast Teaching School Alliance

Funding opportunity – developing expertise in supporting Evidence-Based Teaching


Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to apply to take part in the Evidence-Based Teaching project advertised by the NCTL in the January 2014 newsletter.

The Woodroffe School, leading the Jurassic Coast Teaching School Alliance, is a cohort 2 school with a strong record of research work and a real enthusiasm for developing its expertise in this area. As a Research and Development Lead school, we have worked closely with the college on a number of projects and I am a member of the R&D advisory group.  As you will see below, we have a strong commitment to Evidence-Based Teaching and we consider Research to be one of our strengths as a Teaching School Alliance.

How is teachers’ engagement with the wider evidence base currently supported in your school?

The Woodroffe School has been interested in using research evidence for a number of years and we are now stepping up our involvement in this area in order to make research a key feature of the way the alliance operates.  More specifically we:

  • Keep up to date with key academic studies. Recent development planning, for example, has been based on responses to the Sutton Trust report plus the work of Hattie, Fullan, Hargreaves et al. We have been working recently with Gordon Stobbart from the IoE in order to develop our G&T programme, basing our initial development on ideas drawn from Syed’s Bounce – the Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice.
  • Encourage staff to take part in Masters level courses.  This year we have set up a Research in Action group led by Keith Posthelthwaite from The University of Exeter which gives teachers a chance to undertake small scale research projects before committing to the full M.Ed course.  This is funded from Teaching school income.
  • Ensure that all teaching staff at Woodroffe take part in Trio Research Projects, which are written up and evaluated at the end of the year (there is also a presentation evening).  This mode of working has now been widened to encompass cross phase and cross alliance Trios. See below.
  • Encouraging senior and middle leaders to keep abreast of current educational research and disseminate via staff and department meetings.

What research and development activity is your alliance part of and how is it linked to teaching and learning?

The JCTSA is taking part in the following activities:

  • We have an R&D grant from NCTL exploring the question: “How can leaders lead successful teaching school alliances which enable the development of consistently great pedagogy?” This is proving to be a very successful project now in its second year.  Due both to our geographical location and the pace at which we are working, we moved into a Cohort 1 cluster.  We have Trios successfully operating right across the alliance and we are already planning our second Presentation event at which the projects are disseminated and evaluated.  There is a huge amount of work relating to this project on our TS website, including a Blog of research activities: https://www.jctsa.org.uk/category/r-d-leadership-log/
  • We have been working with The University of Exeter as part of the Empowering Partnerships initiative and they are working with our Business Studies teachers to explore innovative approaches to Enterprise Education
  • We are involved in the local My Science Learning Centre project
  • We also have our own in-house research project based around offering free instrumental hire and tuition to Pupil Premium students in Years 7 and 8.
  • We have six of our alliance schools involved in the Closing the Gap project, with two chosen to lead projects this year and the other four as controls.


Ideas for developing the JCTSA alliance to support EBT as a routine method for robustly supporting teaching.

Much of the work we have been doing derives from our Learning Plan’s intense focus on Teaching and Learning.  This began at Woodroffe but has now become the driver of much of the work of the alliance. In order to avoid the top down, SLT committee driven TS alliance model, we chose to make classroom practice the fundamental linking device.  Trio working has allowed us to create a real sense of a learning community across the alliance and this is something we wish to expand year on year.

This culture is now beginning to become embedded in the alliance but we are now seeking to find ways to formalise the links.  Use of the EEF’s DIY evaluation toolkit, for example, would give a common format to the work of our Trios and allow us to take our research up to the next level.  In addition, further work utilising the skills of our HEI partner, and indeed other HEIs, will help to enhance the research work currently undertaken and enable use to disseminate it more widely and more effectively.

More specifically, if our bid is successful, we would like to:

  • Devise a common format for the presentation of research
  • Extend and develop our TS Research website  – https://www.jctsa.org.uk  – to make it of national importance
  • Create routes into research for teaching and non-teaching staff linked closely to our CPD programmes, beginning with involvement in Trios/Collaborative projects; participation in Research in Action projects; involvement in M.Ed and Ed.D courses at The University of Exeter
  • Create effective means of ensuring that the outcomes of the various research projects are fed back directly into the classroom
  • Create a model for EBT which can be used by other schools interested in getting more involved in Research based teaching