Evidence for the Frontline

Evidence for the Frontline is a brokerage service that will guide headteachers and teachers to relevant evidence and expertise to enable them to make evidence-based decisions in their schools and classrooms. The service will be based at Sandringham School in Hertfordshire, with input from the Institute for Effective Education, at the University of York and the Coalition for Evidence-Based Education.

Practitioners who call the service will initially speak to a trained broker and explain their query. The project lead will help them to formulate a suitable research-based question, through a conversation about their context and need. They will then be directed to either web-based research resources, researchers engaged in the field, or practitioners who have already addressed the question within their school. This project will develop the brokerage service with 11 schools and then pilot it, from September 2015, with a further 20 schools. 

Why are we funding it?

Knowledge mobilisation in education is an under-researched area, which prompted our recent themed round on Research Use. However, the programme builds on existing knowledge about promoting research use from North America, which makes clear the importance of dialogue and social interactions for the spreading of good practice and uptake of research knowledge.

The pilot will enable us to determine that the service is implementable, understand the likely demand from schools for the service, and work out what the most frequently asked questions are likely to be.

How are we evaluating it?

National Foundation for Education Research will independently evaluate the project. The evaluation will be a pilot study, focused on assessing whether the model is practical and feasible. Through the development phase, their role will be formative and will feed into the pilot stage. During the pilot phase, NFER will interview and survey schools, academics and the delivery team to understand how the service is being used; identify potential improvements; and make recommendations for how to evaluate its impact in a larger trial.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in January 2017.