Research & School Improvement services

Improving performance, engagement and achievement with teaching and learning

Enquiring Schools

Evidence-based teacher development and school improvement


The evidence behind Enquiring Schools 

Research findings from the OECD1 show that the quality of teaching is the biggest influence on pupil achievement. While there are many ways of improving teaching and different forms of professional development, evidence indicates that CPD which has the characteristics listed below has the best outcomes for students2. The Enquiring Schools programme offers all these opportunities as shown in the table below.

Characteristic of good CPD Enquiring Schools approach
Focused on aspirations for students At the very start of the seven step process teaching staff consider their students’ needs and identify the outcomes they want to see in their learning.
Explores evidence from trying out new things, relating practice to theory, so practitioners can adopt new approaches using the concepts underpinning them During step four teachers review relevant research and identify new strategies based on the evidence about what works. This is then put into context for your own school.

Projects are also baselined and controlled so their impact can be effectively measured.

Collaborative Throughout the programme staff at all levels work together in facilitated workshops, meetings and as part of their normal week identifying the priorities, plans and progress.
Sustained over time The Enquiring Schools programme usually takes two to three terms to complete so it is thorough, disciplined, the impact of changes can be evaluated and it becomes embedded in the school’s improvement and CPD plans.
Structured dialogue and group work During the programme practitioners develop a shared language aiding in depth discussions about enquiries. As well as working together in facilitated sessions, participants constructively review their work together and provide each with ongoing support.

The last day of the programme is dedicated to sharing findings about projects and the Enquiring Schools approach with colleagues.

Supported by specialist expertise, usually drawn from beyond the learning setting A dedicated facilitator works with you through the programme providing guidance at every stage and brings in additional expertise if required.
Coaching and mentoring Teaching staff at all levels are encouraged to review and discuss each others’ ideas and support their work to benefit the students.

The facilitator also offers one to one coaching and research reviews as required.

Collaboration within and between schools The programme can be run for groups of teachers, the entire school or customised for clusters and school networks.

Where possible networking sessions will be held with other Enquiring Schools to share learning and findings.

Programme details

Contact us to find out how the programme can be tailored to meet your needs


1) Schleicher, A. (2011). Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession: Lessons from around the world, OECD Publishing.

2) Understanding What Enables High Quality Professional Learning, Centre for the Use of Research Evidence in Education (CUREE), Pearson School Improvement, 2012.