Research & School Improvement services

Improving performance, engagement and achievement with teaching and learning

Enquiring Schools

Evidence-based teacher development and school improvement


Case study - Brooklands Farm, a large primary school, runs Enquiring Schools Programme to help with teaching and learning

Brooklands Farm Primary School is a very large primary school near Milton Keynes which is split over two campuses. They are using the NFER Enquiring Schools Programme to learn more about educational research and how it can help with their teaching and learning. They started the programme in September 2015 and are running it for more than 30 staff, including support staff.

In the initial session, in order to help develop their topics for enquiry staff looked closely at their pupils’ needs, teachers’ needs and what the evidence says.

The NFER Enquiring Schools facilitator also helped staff develop their methodology to capture data so that they could evaluate impact as the programme progresses. They identified five areas of focus, which link to their development plan:

Because of the large number of staff involved, smaller working groups have been set up for each focus area. The working group leaders have also had one-to-one sessions with the NFER facilitators, helping them to plan next steps. Melanie, a teacher at Brooklands Farm said: ’The discussions we had today have given our team clear next steps for our project.’

Katie Sutherland, Head of School at Brooklands Farm, said: ’We believe that action research is at the heart of powerful learning for teachers. The support from NFER has made all the difference to us through the Enquiring Schools Programme.’

To find out more about the NFER Enquiring Schools Programme please visit: /enquiringschools.


Pictured (from left to right): Alison Willmott (Facilitator at NFER), Katie Sutherland (Head of School) and Mary van der Heijden (facilitator at NFER).