Research evidence can help teachers and school leaders make well-informed decisions on the best approaches in schools. However, navigating the evidence base is a challenge, and then implementing these approaches can provide even more challenges. More widely, school leaders do not embrace the need to follow evidence-backed teaching approaches.
Led by Bradford Birth to 19 and Beckfoot Trust, with support from Bradford Research School, the Evidence Active Schools Network brings together schools and organisations across Bradford to develop evidence-informed practice. Key to the success of the Evidence Active Network are 50 Bradford Research Champions and Research Fellows, drawn from Bradford’s nursery, primary, secondary and special schools.
Bradford’s Research Champions have a role in exploring, implementing and evaluating the use of research evidence in their settings, and raising the profile of evidence. They are supported through a two-year professional development programme, with input from CAER and EEF colleagues.
Bradford’s Research Fellows, a combination of Research Champion alumni and experienced new recruits, support schools and organisations in the wider network beyond their own schools, thus ensuring that more schools across Bradford can benefit.
Examples of the projects:
- Utilising a resilience intervention within a secondary alternative provision setting.
- Peer to peer mentoring for 6th Form students.
- Developing an alumni network to raise aspirations.
- Relationships and well-being in the Early Years.
In leading a sustainable model of local and system-wide evidence-informed school improvement, the Evidence Active Schools programme is trailblazing in its approach.
The sustained operation of local Evidence Active Networks, with a significant cohort plays a pivotal role developing school cultures, so that local areas can becomes cities of research. Sustained professional development for school-based researchers enables much improved access to the school & HEI-led research base, better implementation, changes to school leadership cultures and improved outcomes for children.