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Research Fellow, Faculty of Social Sciences
Schools led research
I am currently working on the evaluation team for the WELL Programme in Cumbria. The WELL (Western Excellence in Learning and Leadership) programme is run by Cumbria County Council, in partnership… read more
I am currently working on the evaluation team for the WELL Programme in Cumbria. The WELL (Western Excellence in Learning and Leadership) programme is run by Cumbria County Council, in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation. The three-year programme (2021-24) aims to achieve sustainable excellence in Allerdale and Copeland schools by introducing evidence informed practices and proven interventions through teacher and support staff development as well as wider local capacity building. The evaluation focuses on two strands: • Implementation and Process Evaluation (IPE) will assess the various project elements across the universal and targeted offers. Data collection methods will include: interviews, surveys, longitudinal case studies of participating schools, observational research, action research, workshops. • Impact Evaluation will draw on pupil assessment and demographic data provided by schools, trusts and the LA as well as via the National Pupil Database. We will conduct a range of analyses to assess impact from the universal and targeted offer, including on disadvantaged students, using a regression discontinuity design.
My PhD research utilised a multiple case study approach to explore how research activity is being undertaken and managed within Teaching School Alliances and Multi-Academy Trusts. The study responds to a specific period within the English education system where the Government has attempted to implement an evidence-based self-improving 'schools-led education system' (e.g. DfE, 2010). The study addresses gaps in the literature concerning limited knowledge about how much teacher researchers understand about research, the methods being used, and how they are addressing ethical considerations. Overall it was found that research in these institutions was mostly collaborative in nature with a preference for statistical outcomes and a top-down management approach. Participants had a limited understanding of research methods and ethical considerations and it was suggested that this was a training need. It was argued that participants experienced a sense of 'coercive autonomy' (Greany & Higham, 2018) that gave the illusion of autonomy whilst remaining tied to accountability criteria.