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Bradford Research School: Evidence-informed practice

Posted 19th April 2023

Bradford Research School: evidence-informed practice

“Evidence does not provide easy solutions, but evidence-informed improvement is a process that has integrity and holds greater promise than any alternative.” Professor Becky Francis, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation.

This quotation resonates with us at Dixons. We value the role research evidence can play in supporting decision-making in our schools.

Since 2018, we have been proud to be the home of Bradford Research School, one of 38 across the country supporting schools in the use of evidence to improve teaching practice. Research Schools are funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, an independent charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and education achievement. This mission is aligned with our own of challenging educational disadvantage in the North.

Working with schools in our region

Over the last three years, we’ve worked with 1700 teachers from a thousand schools.  Much of our work has come in the form of sustained partnerships, where we support colleagues in other organisations to embed evidence-informed practice in their context. Collaboration like this helps to build capacity in our school system, and the co-constructive nature means that we are always able to learn from those we work with, and this ultimately helps Dixons too.

As well as these extended partnerships, we host webinars and training events. You can find all of our upcoming events here, and our next free webinar will be on Thursday 4 May, where we look at some of the challenges of implementing retrieval practice. Sign up here.

Communicating evidence

We aim to be a trusted source for evidence, as we acknowledge that there is a wealth of educational research out there, and teachers have a finite amount of time. Each week you can read an article from one of our team, which balances academic research with practical approaches. As an illustration, here is our most-read post of last year from James Dyke: The What and Why of Routines in School Culture. For a longer read, try our collaboration with Professor Amanda Waterman to summarise the evidence on Working Memory: Working Memory: Research Into Practice:

An evidence-informed trust

Although much of the work of the Research School looks outward into the wider school system, we know the value having a research school can bring to our own trust. This includes CPD which focuses on evidence, such as our Dixons Cognitive Science programme, but also ensuring that evidence informs all that we do. We want to support everyone to find evidence, weigh it up, make decisions and implement effectively. You can read about this approach to evidence in our trust here.

We look forward to the next phase of our journey in developing evidence-informed practice as a trust and beyond.

Mark Miller is Head of Bradford Research School

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