£Millions spent on educational research every year but why is there so little evidence?

barber RT

Whilst attending Research Ed 2014 #rEd14 that is one question I heard several presenters ask and one that was left circulating my brain for the next week afterwards. Today I am asking myself a follow up question, well if it is true what can we do about it?

I attended my first ResearchEd conference last Saturday and had a wonderful time, it was a wonderful buzzing, bohemian, grassroots filled conference which was refreshing to see many teachers from the ‘chalk face’ there giving up their 1st weekend of the new academic year. I believe that this is a ‘movement’ that is trying to do something about it! A special thank you to both Tom Bennett and Helene Galdin-O’Shea for organising such an inspirational event. As I finish writing this post I see that @kieranearley has beaten me to it, I have resisted reading this yet till I have completed this one but I will as soon as this is posted http://kieranearley.co.uk/2014/09/researched-september-2014/

I picked up several great ideas at #rEd14, links to more reading and research in addition to confirming my own reflections and recent decisions on certain developments at DHSB. However one thing that I came away with following the conference was multiple questions that I am not necessarily sure I have the answers to. Do you? What do you think?

Apparently 1 in 6 schools are taking part in research and there are potential pots of money out there such as with the likes of the Education Endowment Foundation and all you have to do is get in touch. So should more schools/teachers carry out research?

Whose responsibility is it to connect research to practice in education? Should we? A good example was given about Nurses and Doctors who regularly are immersed in both research and practice – should teaching be like that?

To become a better teacher and for schools to become better do teachers need to carry out classroom research or do they just need to reflect on their practice and try to improve it?

Is a ‘top down’ approach to make research a part of being a teacher from the Headteacher or from the state?

What research has been carried out in the UK to show that carrying out research for teachers improves their practice? (I have to say that probably my own best CPD was my MEd but is that the same for everyone?)

Do ‘Outstanding’ teachers need to do it or just poor performing ones?

How will schools/teachers be given the investment and support (both time and money) to encourage more teachers and schools to engage in research?

So going back to the initial question which is also the title of this blog and my own subsequent question about what can we do about it?

The first thing we can do as teachers is access the research that is there and look at it. You can find various good sources below:

Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Teaching Toolkit http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/

Institute for Effective Education


Teaching How2’s – great infographics – some are free but most are paid


National Foundation for Educational Research


You can view videos of the talks and find other resources below:


Other recent interesting posts about #rED14

http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/evidence-education-grassroots – @oliverquinlan

http://reflectingenglish.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/the-cerebral-life-of-schools/ @atharby


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