Research and Development

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How do we know it works?                         

Announcing a second cohort of the the joint IOE & CTSN Research 'How do we know it work?' project starting Summer Term at Trumpington Park Primary school.

Project aims

A great deal is known about the importance and potential impact of middle leaders in schools but the challenge remains of how to fulfil the role effectively in practice.

In a culture of continuous school improvement, middle leaders are charged with the responsibility to ‘make it happen’.  As a result, they are often caught in an ‘implementation trap’ with little time to evaluate whether new initiatives are making a difference.

This programme, costing only £410 per delegate (for the seven sessions), aims to provide a supportive and reflective forum for early middle leaders from both primary and secondary schools to explore how to:

o    robustly evaluate the impact of initiatives run in departments and within school

o    share knowledge about excellent middle leadership practice within and across schools

o    provide the space, conditions and support for staff to grow and develop their practice

o    bring about evidence-informed change in pupil learning

o    better understand the relationship between improved learning and  outcomes

o    better understand and develop the leadership conditions in schools that develop and embed cultures of outstanding practice.

Programme Structure  

The project runs from March 2018 to July 2019 primarily at Trumpington Park Primary but depending on the delegates other venues may be added. Sessions run 2.30-5.30pm.

Session 1

Building an early/middle leader network

What do we understand by ‘evidence-informed practice’?

Developing a ‘focus for change’- F4C

Session 2 

Sharing baseline evidence  Refining your F4C

What’s known about our issue?

Exploring the research base

Developing research tools

NB this session will be held at Saffron Walden County High School and will be followed by the CTSN Research Conference.

Session 3 

What’s known about the change process?

Leading evidence-informed change  Evaluating interim impact

Session 4 

Sharing evidence of learning, impact and interim findings

Re-focusing for 2018-19

Session 5 

Bringing teams into research

How do we support staff to develop and change practice over time?

Re-visiting leading change

Session 6 

Tracking change –gathering evidence over time -where are we now?

Accessing new research.

Establishing impact strategy for the coming year.

Session 7 

Celebrating learning

Embedding new ML practices

Ensuring sustainability of the ML Network

How to apply

Schools are asked to apply on behalf of colleagues in their school. To do this, please email the CTSN R&D Administrator,

Jane Catley, to request an application form.

The first cohort of the CTSN, in collaboration with the Institute of Education, research project across CTSN Schools which started in January 2017 is continuing until June 2018 and many of its research outcomes will be seen at the CTSN Research Conference (at Saffron Walden County High School on 10th July 2018).


“A researching school is an improving school”  

Engagement with cutting-edge research

CTSN have been involved in two national projects: ‘Closing the Gap, Test and Learn’ with the National College of Teaching and Leadership and ‘What makes great professional development which leads to consistently great pedagogy?’ with the Institute of Education, University College London (our work featuring in the final report). Research Communities based in CTSN schools have connected with CamSTar (Cambridge, School Teachers and Research) to underpin classroom based research.  Last year, CTSN R&D schools worked collaboratively on research projects exploring ‘Life after Levels at KS3’ and ‘Developing Growth Mindset in pupils, teachers and parents’.  A conference sharing the outcomes of these projects, with keynote speaker Tom Sherrington, was attended by 100 teachers from across the network.

CTSN recognises the importance of being at the forefront of educational research. Research and Development is therefore one of the main activities of CTSN.

Conscious of the benefits of teachers being reflective practitioners, schools within the network each have their own well-established Research Communities. These comprise groups of lively, enthusiastic and dedicated teachers at different stages of their careers involved in a wide range of Action Research projects. These groups engender cross-curricular conversations where good practice is shared and also provide a vehicle for teachers to be reflective about their own classroom practice. The impact of all of this is a heightened quality of experience for the students at the schools where innovation becomes common place.

If you are interested in learning more about research opportunities across CTSN, contact Jane Catley


Research and Development Enquiry Form

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