Defining the emerging stage

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Are you just getting started with R&D and looking for advice on where to start?   If so, these pages are for you.  We define the 'emerging' stage of development as follows:  

'The school, alliance or partnership is at an early stage in relation to R&D, when thinking, planning and time are at a premium. Research activity often depends on the commitment and energy of individuals, rather than being an established or routine part of the organisational culture. First steps may be tentative, made with caution, and sometimes in the face of resistance from staff; R&D is not yet a priority in the face of competing pressures and commitments.'


Diagnose where you are now:

Click below for the self-diagnosis tool for schools and alliances, which allows you to assess the extent of engagement in and with R&D across multiple dimensions of school life.

It can be used to assess where you are as a school, as well as an alliance, recognising that individual schools in an alliance or partnership may well be at different places in terms of R&D, with some having more experience and more established approaches than others.


Decide where you want to be:

The tool also acts as a guide to help you decide strategic priorities for R&D, as a school and as an alliance: each section is followed by suggestions for going further to expand and embed research-informed and enquiry-oriented practice. 

Even at this early stage of research engagement, it is worth thinking about how to be strategic, realistic and creative:

  • Strategicbe clear about the difference you want to make.  Decide what will be most useful for your school and alliance through a structured conversation with senior leaders, with input from other staff, pupils, parents and governors as appropriate.  Consult the school improvement plan to identify key areas of focus where research and enquiry can be used to enhance teaching and learning.

  • Realistic: agree with senior leaders how much time and resources can actually be committed to R&D and decide what size and scale of project is manageable in the chosen timescale - don't try to achieve too much in the first year! 

  • Creative: give colleagues the chance to innovate and test new ideas - and give them space and confidence to try things that may not work without fear of failure; remember that people are more likely to be motivated and engaged if have the chance to explore ideas and issues that are important to them, rather than following a rigid set of instructions. 

As a guide, a template for developing a strategic plan for R&D is available to download below, together with some examples of strategic plans from schools in the 'expanding' category.