Research roles & activities

Forms of collaborative enquiry, such as cross-alliance action research or lesson study, can act as a powerful tool for professional learning and school improvement.  Rather than treating these as separate strands of activity, consider ways of building evidence-based practice and collaborative enquiry into planning for school improvement.  For example, you might consider:

  • replacing the School Improvement Plan with a combined Teaching & Learning Plan, which would allow you to identify priority areas for improvement and then plan and use focused enquiry to deepen knowledge of effective approaches in each area to improve pupil learning

  • ensure that research evidence is part of school development planning and that new resources or practices are evaluated before they are adopted on a larger scale

Distributed leadership for R&D

Effective R&D depends on the active commitment of leaders at all levels.  Distributed leadership allows for setting of clear strategic priorities based on rigorous analysis of school needs and selection, planning and scoping of projects to meet those needs.  Take steps to embed distributed leadership for R&D through:

  • Setting up a middle leader programme on an alliance basis which links leaders within and across schools to work in triads on cycles of enquiry

  • Encouraging leaders to record their reflections on learning in a learning log or journal

  • Setting up an online leadership forum for leaders to share good practice, extend and reflect on their leadership skills and support other curriculum leaders

  • Develop shared leadership standards involving enquiry skills and evaluation strategies to clarify what being an ‘outstanding leader’ looks like in your school or alliance