Do we really have to wait a whole year for researched2014?

Others have blogged about researched2013 and how great it was. I want researched2014 to be just like researched2013 because it was perfect. But just in case Tom Bennett and Helene decide to tamper with the current model, here are seven (it’s always 3 or 7) minor modifications I’d vote for:

  1. Many participants were tweeters, so wifi is pretty important. But if we get wifi next year our phone batteries will run down, so we’ll need a phone charging station too.
  2. Let’s have a consistent hashtag next time. How about #resed2014 compromise, or am I just encouraging further hashtag proliferation? (And what about a screen somewhere showing the tweets as they appear?)
  3. Participant lists are really useful for people who like stalking at or after the conference
  4. If we’d had twitter avatars and handles on our name badges I would have been able to spot Andrew Old!
  5. It was fine having no lunch break. Lunch breaks just produce huge queues. How about charging everyone for a lunch bag in the ticket price that they can pick up and eat anytime?
  6. Dulwich College worked pretty well but it was so hard to get to! Some of us visited a Dulwich village pub afterwards. I couldn’t stay long, but met even more new people and learnt about Croydon schools and English GCSE controlled assessment! Can we have a venue nearer a nice pub please?
  7. Laura McInerney‘s (say “mac-in-errr-knee”) session on #touchpaper problems is the one I’m still thinking about because it was participatory and left us something very specific to think about. I thought about running a more interactive session myself, but chickened out. Conventional talks are great, but perhaps a little more audience participation (or homework!) might be nice for next year?

I hope we don’t have to wait until September 2014 to engage with researched stuff again. It is probably unreasonable to expect Tom Bennett to do everything for us (please Tom?), so I guess we each have to make some sort of tiny contribution. What is yours going to be?

Looking for research curious teachers

Are you a teacher who is interested in how we should train our new teachers?

Would you like to observe how (fairly) large scale research is carried out?

I am looking for some research-curious teachers and headteachers who might be willing to sit on the advisory board for one of the research projects I am currently involved with. The purpose of the advisory boards is to help inform the research questions and methods, and to help interpret the findings of large projects.

The projects are:

  • A Nuffield-funded investigation into initial teacher training (this is a joint Institute for Fiscal Studies, National Foundation for Educational Research and Institute of Education project). This project investigates the costs and benefits of different teacher training routes. In particular, we would like to discover whether certain routes are more effective than others, in terms of recruitment, the costs (particularly time costs) and benefits to schools associated with training, and their subsequent retention in state schools in England. It would be particularly useful to include teachers on our advisory board who have experience of mentoring PGCE students, GTP/SCITT/School Direct teachers or who have recently trained themselves. The project is led by Ellen Greaves at IFS.
  • An ESRC-funded investigation of the early careers of teachers. This project investigate how the early experiences of teachers in training placement schools and first posts affects their subsequent likelihood to move into particular types of schools or exit the profession altogether. Understanding how to create a schooling environment that retains the best teachers within the state maintained system is critical because we know that relatively large numbers of high quality teachers leave the profession every year and this turnover is damaging to pupil achievement. The project will conduct a large survey of PGCE students and will match this data to institutional records and the School Workforce Census to track the careers of these teachers. It would be particularly useful to have early career teachers on our advisory board for this project.

The advisory board for each of these projects meets about twice a year for the two-year life of the project. The advisory boards would be held at teacher-friendly times, e.g. after 4:30pm during term time or possibly at half term holidays. Obviously 100% attendance of advisory board members is difficult to achieve, so we will recruit more teachers than we need in the hope of achieving representation at each meeting. The meetings will held at IOE or IFS (i.e. in Bloomsbury, close to Euston station) so teachers will need to think about whether it is feasible to travel into this part of London.

If you would like to get involved or would like to know more, please do contact me at In your email it would be helpful if you could tell me how many years you have been teaching, what training route you originally took and what school you now teach in.

EDIT: Thanks for all the interest in these projects. We’ve filled the spaces on our Advisory Boards, but do still send an email if you’d like to give feedback on our proposed surveys.

Evidence-based practice: why number-crunching tells only part of the story


Rebecca Allen

As a quantitative researcher in education I am delighted that Ben Goldacre – whose report  Building Evidence into Education was published today – has lent his very public voice to the call for greater use of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to inform educational policy-making and teaching practice.

I admit that I am a direct beneficiary of this groundswell of support. I am part of an international team running a large RCT to study motivation and engagement in 16-year-old students, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation. And we are at the design stage for a new RCT testing a programme to improve secondary school departmental practice.

The research design in each of these studies will give us a high degree of confidence in the policy recommendations we are able to make.

Government funding for RCTs is very welcome, but with all this support why is there a…

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