'How to do it' Guides

How to … grow leadership capacity for research engagement

Lindsay Palmer and Nicky Theobald explore how the attitudes, understanding and skills of leaders can be transformed to enrich enquiry-led professional development

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) as Research Mentors

Our teaching school alliance was involved in the Teaching Schools National Themes Research programme, Theme 2 ‘What makes great professional development leading to consistently great pedagogy?’  This has enabled us to scope and refine strategies for SLE leadership of school-based research and enquiry. Early on, we recognised the need to identify research advocates and to grow leadership capacity to facilitate and quality assure research hub activity. This presented quite a challenge and required a review of role specifications to make explicit the responsibilities of SLEs in relation to research and enquiry. It further necessitated consideration of the professional learning needs of the SLEs in fulfilling this role, leading to the design of an induction programme and ongoing development seminars for SLEs as research mentors. Importantly, this strand of work has been developed in the context of an overarching research strategy and culture, including research hubs, common research methodologies and ethical guidance, providing structures and an ethos in which SLEs can be successful.

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