What does the E in STRIPE mean for teachers at John Taylor Free School?
I have mentioned in previous blogs about using research to inform best practice but I think it would help to explain what I think that means in reality, in every day school life.
Schools spend many hours trying different approaches, new techniques and strategies; some which work and some which don’t. I think that teachers and leaders could have more impact by using evidence to inform their practice. As a result, I have appointed a Lead teacher whose responsibility it is to be research focused, to disseminate appropriate research to all staff and to drive teacher enquiry (action research) so that John Taylor Free School remains at the forefront of educational excellence. So the E in STRIPE is about having an enquiring mind and that applies to staff as well as students!
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has done much research into various aspects of school life. They can say with confidence that metacognition (understanding learning) adds 8 months of progress to students when specifically developed within lessons. Their research also shows that there is a 2+ month attainment boost for students who attend breakfast clubs. These are just 2 examples of large scale research projects and how the evidence can directly influence decision making in school.
On a smaller level, excellent teachers often complete their own research. This might be as part of their National Professional Qualification of Middle or Senior Leadership where a whole school study must be undertaken. Alternatively, it might be on a micro level where a specific strategy is used with a group over time alongside a control group so that impact on attainment can be measured accurately. This is not to say that children are “guinea pigs”; excellent practitioners use effective methods to enhance teaching and learning. However, in a school which values evidence informed practice these forms of enquiry are scientific, measurable and findings are shared with colleagues to ensure that the most effective methods of teaching and learning are those which dominate the curriculum.
As part of Performance Management, all teachers will have an enquiry question which they will research over the year. They will use evidence to support or refute the question. We will hold “Enquiry Fairs” where teachers can share their methodology and findings with others to inform their practice. Our Research Lead will find, share and use current articles to stimulate discussion and debate during professional learning sessions. Our coaching culture will enable staff to share and discuss ideas in a safe and supportive climate (more on this in another blog). Using the latest observation technology will allow teachers to study elements of their own lessons, analysing them with their coach to refine and develop best practice even further.
By having a continual dialogue about what works in our own and other schools, we can ensure that the children at John Taylor Free School not only get the best education; but have a genuine love of learning role modelled by their teachers. Having an enquiring mind is part of our STRIPE philosophy – our staff will demonstrate that educational excellence is a pursuit worth having.
Head of School