Insights into the role of research and development in teaching schools
Insights into the role of research and development in teaching schools

Matt Walker

Research Report, January 2017


Teaching schools are outstanding schools that work with strategic partners, such as universities and private sector organisations, to provide high-quality training and development to new and to experienced school staff. Research and development or ‘R&D’ forms one of their six key areas of responsibility, often referred to as the ‘big six’.

This report seeks to explore the effectiveness with which teaching schools are delivering their R&D responsibilities. It provides new insights based on an analysis of a survey of 83 teaching schools and a comparison group of 80 outstanding schools.

Andrew Warren, Chair of the Teaching Schools Council, has welcomed the NFER report. You can read his response here.

Key Findings:
  • There is evidence to suggest that R&D is becoming increasingly embedded within the other areas of the big six, and particularly within school-led initial teacher training (ITT) and continuing professional development (CPD).
  • Despite this, many teaching school alliances (TSAs) report that R&D is treated as an ‘add-on’ and is considered less important compared to other concerns.
  • Many TSAs report engaging ‘to a great extent’ in producing evidence-informed outputs and yet do not appear to prioritise the development of their staff’s research literacy to the same degree.
  • There are many challenges facing TSAs in delivering R&D including the long time it can take to show the impact of R&D and the fact there is still a need to build an expectation for teaching as an evidence-based profession.
  • There is evidence to suggest that teaching school status does not necessarily enhance an individual teaching school’s level of research activity, as measured by selected R&D indicators, relative to other Ofsted-category outstanding schools.

Further Information:
Format: PDF, 19pp
Sponsor(s): NFER


How to cite this publication:

Walker, M. (2016). Insights into the Role of Research and Development in Teaching Schools. Slough: NFER


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