TRIED but not necessarily tested teaching methods and new, innovative approaches to learning are to come under the spotlight in a major education study by a North-East trust.
The Carmel Education Trust, which runs primary and secondary schools and sixth forms across the Tees Valley, has secured full Research School status after bidding to join an exclusive national network.
The prestigious appointment is the latest in a series of national projects involving Carmel Education Trust, which also include Leadership Lite, addressing teacher workload, and Deeper Thinking, a move to improve the teaching of science.
It also places the trust at the forefront of the development of learning and education nationally with the backing of The Education Endowment Foundation and Wellcome Trust and brings to almost £1.5m the funding received to carry out vital research.
As a Research School, the trust will receive £140,000 over three years to become a focal point of evidence-based practice in the region and build networks between large numbers of schools.
More than 80 delegates, including head teachers and senior management from primary and secondary Catholic and non-Catholic schools and local education authorities and the Department for Education, attended a launch event at Carmel College, Darlington.
Leading experts in education, Tom Martell of the Education Endowment Foundation and the director of research and evaluation at Evidence Based Education Prof Rob Coe, also attended the launch.
Director of Research and Development at The Carmel Education Trust and the new Director of Research School David Bailey said: “The application process was very competitive and from 200 applications we are one of ten new schools to join the now 32-strong national network.
“Traditionally, education is perpetuated by things being done a certain way because we think it’s a good idea. It used to be the same with medicine until they started testing whether things worked as they should.
“Lots of approaches can be counter-intuitive and what looks on the face of it like a good idea turns out not to be the best way forward. The Research School will help test what we are currently doing and share what we know.”
Carmel Education Trust chief executive Maura Regan added: “The aim is to produce better quality evidence so we can have the most effective teaching, learning, leadership and governance in our schools.”
Carmel College principal Mike Shorten said: “This is going to be a huge collaborative effort and we are really looking forward to working with all our partners to ensure we are providing the most relevant form of education for the next generation of learners.”
The Research School will analyse and test every facet of education, from the way children are taught and teachers observed to the way marking is conducted and students’ progress assessed.
The research and work with teachers is expected to improve learning and also teaching conditions and boost staff retention.