Application Round: The Research Schools Network in Cumbria

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent grant-making charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential and make the most of their talents. 

The Research School Network has played an important role in supporting this mission over the last four years. Research Schools aim to lead the way in the use of evidence-based practice. They act as a bridge between evidence and practice, providing local and regional support to other schools by disseminating research findings, supporting the translation of this into practice through training and other school support. Through the Network they share what they know about putting research into practice, and support schools in their region to make better use of evidence to inform their teaching and learning so that they really make a difference in the classroom.

We believe sustainable impact is best achieved by working with, and through, the profession as partners in mobilising knowledge. There is a clear rationale for such an approach:

  • Schools listen to other schools (a clear finding from the EEF baseline surveys on teachers’ use of research).
  • The evidence on ‘what works’ on implementation suggests that encouraging practitioners to ‘own’ the evidence results in wider and deeper understanding and use.
  • The expertise on how to apply evidence precisely in schools and classrooms lies within the schools themselves.

What does it mean to be a Research School?

The purpose of being a Research School is to provide support to schools to access, understand, critique and apply evidence, with the aim of improving the quality of teaching and learning. Specifically, this involves supporting schools in their locality to access and use systematic external evidence and be critical of their use of evidence in school improvement activities.

Research Schools work with schools directly, but they also support partners such as Local Authorities, Teaching School Alliances, Multi-Academy Trusts and other organisations to be more evidence-informed in the content they use and the approaches they take.

Being a Research School is not about doing research in your own school, or focusing solely on improving your own school, although existing Research Schools express the significant benefits of being engaged in professional networks with access to high-quality professional development and training.

The application window will open on the 19 April. If you would like more information please contact pauline.brown@eefoundation.org.uk.