Matt Dobbing, Senior Vice Principal at Thomas Clarkson Academy
"At Thomas Clarkson Academy we wanted to develop a culture that ‘breathed’ evidence informed practice. This meant not just relying on the research others did, but pushing ourselves to meet the standards of academic research when we initiated change...ImpactEd enabled us to access information we wouldn’t otherwise have, and staff time is saved as time intensive elements of research are supported by ImpactEd."
We know that supporting teachers to feel empowered to use research and evidence to inform their teaching and decision-making in the classroom can improve pupil outcomes, and helps teachers’ professional development. However, we also know that without the necessary support, a lack of time, resource, and expertise can make this difficult for teachers in school.
Aiming to empower staff to use education research to inform their teaching practice, Thomas Clarkson Academy, a non-selective 11-18 academy and part of the Brooke Weston Trust in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire began working with both ImpactEd and the Chartered College of Teaching in 2022.
Here Dr Rachel Lawrence-Byron, Director of Professional development at the Brooke Weston Trust explains how they use ImpactEd at Thomas Clarkson Academy to support teachers’ engagement with impact evaluation in their practice and the wider impact this has had on culture across the school.
My brief for Thomas Clarkson Academy was to increase engagement with education research in the school. I addressed this by designing and delivering a practitioner research programme for 5 teachers in the pilot phase that involved using the ImpactEd platform, additional training, and the Chartered College of Teaching Certificate in Education Research and Inquiry.
School based training
I led 4 training sessions, each of 2.5 hours. These sessions included content on how to successfully design and implement a research project in the context teachers were working and focused on the needs of Thomas Clarkson Academy. The teachers then formed a ‘community of practice’ and gave each other encouragement and support as well as offering constructive feedback to help each other refine their thinking about their practitioner research projects.
The ImpactEd platform
As novice researchers the teachers did not have experience of designing impact measurement. We therefore decided to work with ImpactEd. ImpactEd were able to support teachers to set up evaluations based on their research projects.
The partnership with ImpactEd offered a range of research-based impact measurement tools. This included using academically validated measures and national benchmarks which helped provide context and rigour to teachers’ evaluations and made it easier for the teacher to monitor and evaluate the impact of the interventions they had designed.
Chartered Teacher ‘Certificate in Education Research and Inquiry’
We decided to use this module as a framework for the project because it gave teachers clear guidance on what high quality practitioner research involves, as well as models of good practice from other teachers. It offered online resources so that teachers could study in their own time, and the opportunity of accreditation for the practitioner research.
Richard Scott, Principal at Thomas Clarkson Academy
"ImpactEd has contributed significantly in our journey to embed evidence-based approaches into all that we do, confident that it will help us to further improve outcomes for our students and increase the sense of agency, motivation, and engagement of our staff."
To support more schools to develop their research informed practice, ImpactEd is delighted to launch their new partnership with the Chartered College of Teaching. This will support more school leaders to develop skills in education research and inquiry, and help put evidence-based research in the hands of practitioners. Teachers at ImpactEd partner schools are also able to access discounted membership to the Chartered College of Teaching.
Helen Barker, Teacher Assessment Manager at the Chartered College of Teaching explains practitioner enquiry in more detail:
At the Chartered College of Teaching we are dedicated to bridging the gap between research and practice and equipping teachers with the knowledge and confidence to make the best decisions for their pupils. We know that every school, teacher and class is different, and that what works in one classroom for one teacher with one class won’t necessarily work anywhere else in quite the same way. When our questions are "What works?” or “How well is this working?”, practitioner inquiry can be a powerful way to develop understanding about how the best available research evidence actually works in our unique contexts.
Practitioner inquiry is therefore a key part of gaining Chartered Status through our Certificate in Educational Research and Inquiry assessment unit. For classroom teachers, practitioner inquiry can be a valuable mechanism for professional development, enabling individuals to better understand the impact they have in their classrooms. Planning what data to gather, collecting and then analysing the data are all important parts of the process, allowing teachers to see the effects of their changes. Using a platform such as ImpactEd can support this aspect of the inquiry process, enabling teachers to gain deep insight into their practice.
If you would like to find out more about our work together then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
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