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NatCen evaluates programmes encouraging teachers to use research to inform teaching

20 May 2016

Two new NatCen studies published today examined the effectiveness of pilot programmes designed to encourage teachers to use research to inform their teaching.

NatCen was commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation to evaluate the pilots of the Rochdale Researchinto Practice programme and the Ashford Teaching Alliance Research Champion programme.

Researchers found a statistically significant increase in teachers’ positive attitudes towards academic research at the end of the Research into Practice programme, in which teachers received half-termly training sessions on a particular area of research.

They also found an increase in the proportion of teachers who said they felt able to relate research to their own contexts and use information from research to implement new approaches in the classroom. However, they did not find evidence that teachers were more likely to use research to inform teaching approaches after the pilot ended.

NatCen found no evidence that teachers’ attitudes towards research changed over the one year Ashford Teaching Alliance Research Champion programme in which a senior teacher based at one of the five participating schools became their ‘research champion’.

The effectiveness of the programme appeared to be affected by low attendance and engagement in the programme due to time pressures faced by teachers, suggesting that greater commitment from senior leadership would be necessary for the programme to succeed.

Dr Svetlana Speight, Research Director at NatCen Social Research, said “Evaluating these programmes is important because it allows us to test and compare different ways of improving the education of children in Britain. They show how, given the right support and sufficient time, teachers can and will incorporate research into their teaching.”


Reports available here.

For more information contact Leigh Marshall: or 0207 549 8506.

Note to editors.

NatCen Social Research is an independent, not for profit organisation. We believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone.

The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by The Sutton Trust, as lead charity in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus–The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £75.4 million to 127 projects working with over 750,000 pupils in over 7,500 schools across England.

The Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research developed by the EEF in collaboration with the Sutton Trust and a team of academics at Durham University led by Professor Steve Higgins. The expanded Toolkit covers 34 topics and summarises research from over 10,000 studies.  The Toolkit is a live resource which is regularly updated.