How are teachers and school leaders using research?

The push for more and better school-led research to improve practice and children’s learning has never been stronger. But many are skeptical about its value.Tim Cain investigates its current role and reception at the coal face.
Colleagues at meeting

In many countries throughout the world, schools are turning to research in order to improve what they are doing. In England, there have been concerted efforts to push headteachers and teachers to justify what they are doing with reference to research. For example, schools are expected to consult research to justify their use of Pupil Premium money. However, various academics are skeptical about the ‘use’ of research in schools. Among other issues, they fear that research will be chosen for its utilitarian value rather than its quality; that it will be sensationalised and over-simplified, that it will be used inappropriately, perhaps as a management tool to control teaching and learning (e.g. Hammersley 2013; James 2013; Whitty 2013). This has led me to ask, what is actually happening in schools? How are teachers and school leaders using research?

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