A week in the life of Bradford Research School

1 July 2018

Author: Mark Miller

With the Research Schools Network a relatively new phenomenon, we often get asked what we typically do. So, to illustrate this, here is a week in my life as Head of Bradford Research School.

Sunday 24th June

Sunday is when we publish our blog posts, which are a simple way for us to share ideas about evidence-informed practice. Last week my post was the second in a multi-part series on using the EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit. We have had over 10,000 views of blog posts since we launched, with Aidan Severs’ exploration of evidence around marking and feedback the most read: Why you might be getting feedback wrong! My favourite blog was on how improving sentence combination helps writing fluency, which dug deeper into a strand of the Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2 guidance report.

Tuesday 26th June

This was the third and final day of our Maximising Memory and the Science of Learning course. I worked on this course with Jess Holdsworth, Psychology Curriculum Leader and Research Lead at Skipton Girls’ High School. This is one of the privileges of the role – being able to work with knowledgeable professionals like Jess, who shared her own expertise, as well as the work of colleagues at SGHS and Northern Lights Teaching School Alliance.

It’s a real learning experience to plan and deliver a three day programme from scratch, and we’re proud of the result. We’ll run the new and even better version of this course next year. You can sign up to our newsletter to find out when we launch it.

Wednesday 27th June

This year, we have hosted a number of Research Roadshows. They are free events where we travel round schools in Bradford, exploring an aspect of evidence each time. We have based them around the EEF guidance reports and on Wednesday we focused on Improving Mathematics in Key Stage 2 and 3.  Once again, we are grateful to a number of people for their support, including Amy Dawson and Stephen Cavadino at Tong Leadership Academy for hosting us (and finding enough fans to keep us cool). Simon Cox, Director of Blackpool Research School, made the trip across the Pennines to present, and delivered a fascinating session, with lots to think about even for me as an English teacher. If you want to host one of our Roadshows next year, please get in touch.

Our next one is based on the Metacognition and Self-regulated Learning guidance report and will be held on Monday 9th July at St Francis Catholic Primary School. Sign up here.

Thursday 28th June

In the morning I met with Alex Quigley to critique the plan for a training programme we will launch next year. It’s top secret at the moment but I think it’ll be something special and having Alex’s input as part of the Research Schools network has been so useful.

In the afternoon, I was invited to speak at the Leeds Trinity University NQT conference and was given the workshop title ‘How do I grow my Knowledge about Education?’. 16 years after my PGCE there, it was great to have the chance to share some ideas with NQTs. I have always been impressed with the work of Leeds Trinity University and we have had some great trainees at Dixons Kings recently. With people like Charlotte Wright and Ed Podesta there, ITT trainees are in safe hands. In the workshop, we explored the EEF Toolkit, the nuances of evidence in education and why we often make poor decisions around ‘what works’.

Friday 29th June

It was fun to end the week speaking to (former) trainees at the Bradford Birth-19 SCITT conference. My presentation was similar to the previous day, with a critical look at what we know and what we don’t know about education. Katie Waring, Head of ITT, has been working with the Research School this year, so it was time to give something back. You can read Katie’s blog about why ITT trainees should engage with educational research here.

During the week, there are all sorts of bits and bobs, the unseen unglamorous yet important aspects of the role. Queries from colleagues, research to inform some work with the Opportunity Area, lots and lots of meetings and end of year exam marking because I’m still an English teacher!

It doesn’t stop. This coming week, we will have the Research Schools ‘boot camp’ where we will reflect on our first year and plan for the next one, then we have a Teach First event in Leeds on Thursday where we look at what it’s like to work in an Opportunity Area. It’s not just for Teach First alumni. Find out more here.

I hope that helps to give a flavour of what we’ve been up to.

Posted on 1 July 2018
Posted in: Blog

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