Research-led Sheffield: Conference Review

18 July 2018

The ‘Making Evidence Work in Schools’ conference on June 15th featured presentations from colleagues from across Sheffield schools and universities, as well as members of the Research Schools’ network.

Following on from Huntington Research Schools’ training courses in the city, Julia Bourne, Sarah Clark, Jenna Collins and Sarah Drazek spoke about how the programmes had influenced practice in their own classrooms and schools. A common thread through their talks was about how an evidence-informed approach had helped generate staff buy-in because it was helping tackle real problems in real classrooms. Providing an element of choice to staff was also highlighted more than once as an important feature of making any changes to staff CPD or classroom practice.

The true impact of an evidence-informed approach was explored in the session led by Doctor Bronwen Maxwell and Mike Coldwell from the Sheffield Institute of Education. They shared findings from the recent DfE funded national study into evidence-informed teaching. Core findings identified the importance of enabling teachers to see the practical link between research and practice. This is assisted by school leaders promoting conversations about research, and often acting as mediators, selecting relevant evidence that is then shared with staff.

Marc Rowland shared the most relevant evidence around Pupil Premium strategies during his session. He spoke passionately about ensuring a PP strategy not being about labels, but being about learning needs and requiring a school-wide approach to pupils, families, all school staff and the wider community.

Considering the importance of pupil-teacher relationships has been flagged as a key factor for pupils with PP. Keeping the same teacher for two years was shown to have a positive effect compared to changing teachers.

Charlotte Bowyer spoke about how their school PP strategy has centred on addressing the learning needs around academic vocabulary, and her detailed examples of practical classroom examples tied in perfectly with Alex Quigley’s talk on closing the vocabulary gap through explicit instruction .

Sessions throughout the day highlighted the great insights, resources and support that evidence can provide to teachers and schools. Huntington Research School would like to thank all those who presented on the day, and all delegates for their attendance.

Posted on 18 July 2018
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