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Research, Review, Report: evidence from CST classrooms

The use of feedback, the role of middle leaders, and student engagement are just some of the areas explored by teacher and student researchers in a new report published today by CfBT Schools Trust (CST) and Education Development Trust.

Research, Review, Report, the first ever publication dedicated to CST schools’ research, showcases what can be achieved in schools through the dedication of senior leadership and Research Leads in promoting evidence-informed practice within their schools.

It features nine studies by researchers at Oxford Spires and St Mark’s academies, from whole-school projects to individual investigations by staff and students. Oxford Spires Academy engaged the entire school in exploring the use of feedback to students and how this embeds learning; and one teacher explored the use of literacy in mathematics. At St Mark’s Academy, middle leaders, teachers, a teaching assistant and a student all engaged in areas of research important to them.

The report is divided into four themes:

Pedagogy: The first of these reports explores a range of techniques for introducing literacy into mathematics teaching; the second looks at strategies for improving outcomes among EAL students in science; and the third on this theme investigates student engagement in physical geography.

Student attitudes to learning: The first report in this section explores the perceived impact of a Year 12 reading mentor programme on Year 7 pupils. The second is student-led piece that looks at girls’ attitudes towards PE and ways of increasing motivation and enjoyment of the subject.

Middle leaders: Three studies place focus on the role of middle leaders. All reports accept middle leaders have a part to play in increasing attainment by working together and working with teachers in their respective departments. The first report looks at strategies that help increase attainment in Year 13 through the use of data. The second investigates a professional development programme for middle leaders; and the final study explores the role of middle leaders to reduce within-school variation in pupil outcomes.

Effective feedback: This final theme is based on a school-wide research project involving teachers across all subjects, in addition to a school-wide survey of 500 pupils.

Helen Woolley, Head of Research at Oxford Spires who led the Effective Feedback research group, said: “The quality of research undertaken at Oxford Spires Academy enables us to ensure, most importantly, that we are employing cutting edge-pedagogy in the classroom. We are currently in our third year of producing research within our school, which we use to attain the highest standards of teaching and learning.”

Hannah Fahey, Senior Vice Principal and Teaching & Learning Lead at St Mark’s, said: “Research has encouraged teachers to be a more reflective which means that they carefully take time to examine the factors that shape learning. By combining research with reflection on practice, staff have been able to engage in a cycle of self-improvement; while involving pupils with the research has had an invaluable impact on staff understanding of their perspectives on learning.”

Research, Review, Report is available to download now.

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