Becoming a research engaged school


What is a research-engaged school?

As the term suggests, a research-engaged school places research and development at the core of its policy and practice. It actively encourages and supports teachers and other staff to carry out research and use evidence to inform teaching and learning. Such a school invites school staff to challenge the status quo, with their learners’ interests at heart.

Why become a research-engaged school?

Engaging with research encourages practitioners to question, encourage and explore their own practice and assumptions. When research becomes part of the culture of a school, it can be transformative. It provides invigorating and satisfying CPD for staff and is a tool for improving teaching and learning. Evidence becomes integral to decision-making, supporting school leaders to invest their limited resources wisely. Ultimately, becoming a research-engaged school should help to improve learner outcomes.

Becoming a research-engaged school can be a venture into new territory, but it also provides exciting opportunities for new insights, experiences and relationships. If you are interested in making research a core part of school improvement, you may find these NFER resources useful. This webpage has drawn on several of these.

Already research-engaged?

NFER, together with support from AOC, ATL, Education Journal, IfL, NAHT, NCTL, NUT and 157 Group, offers schools, colleges and early years settings an award to acknowledge their efforts in using research to improve teaching and learning. If your school, college or early years setting is already research-engaged, please think about applying for the NFER Research Mark. We would love to hear about your research and the impact it has had. Further information is available here.

How do you become a research-engaged school?

This free guide for senior leaders summarises what current "evidence-informed practice" looks like, the perceived benefits of engagement and how to develop a culture of evidence-informed practice. 


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