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Research & Development

This is an exciting area of the ‘Big Six’ which we hope to develop and expand over the coming year. Research and Development will inform future planning and CPD as well as supporting succession planning.

Alliance Schools are requested to identify key personnel who may lead research and innovation in their schools. If you have any examples of research currently being conducted in your schools please send them to Ann Wilks and we will include them on this page.


Current projects


Supporting Schools to Improve outcomes for Children in Care

We are working with partnership schools attended by Children in Care, to develop and provide a programme, to support lead practitioners in the specialist are of raising attainment of Children in Care.

Recent Projects

‘Closing the Gap: Test and Learn’

This is an evidence based research project to help close the attainment gap led by Natalie Hawkes, the deputy headteacher and an alliance SLE, from Newlands Spring Primary School Academy Trust. It is commissioned by the National College for Teaching and Learning. It is driven by the Centre for the use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE)

Practising Philosophy – Researching how Peer Assisted Learning in a Virtual Learning Environment can impact on Critical Thinking.

Gemma Woolley is Head of Religious Studies, Philosophy and SMSC at Chelmer Valley High School. She is a trained ITP and OTP facilitator. Gemma recently completed her Masters degree at Cambridge University and is continuing her research to measure the impact her strategies are having on her Year 12 & 13 students.

Gemma’s hypothesis is that as educators we maintain that ‘student-led learning’ encourages students towards higher quality understanding, whilst in reality students often say they prefer to just be ‘given’ answers. The subsequent research has involved promoting students’ ability to find answers for themselves and recognising that they needed to be able to adapt their work outcome as their understanding developed. Gemma has developed a Virtual Learning Environment which she is using to encourage the externalisation of their Critical Thinking.

Gemma is now trying to change the attitudes of students towards Philosophy and become independent ‘critical beings’ . She recognises that further cycles of action research are necessary, specifi cally when students are younger, hence she is now promoting critical thinking in lower years as well as VIth form. She is now experimenting to discover if these skills are transferable and could be utilised in other subjects.

The Bridge Project

The Royal Opera House Bridge Project has been funded by the Arts Council England for three years (2012-15) to ‘connect children and young people to great art and culture.’ Initially, a small cluster of primary schools, led by Newlands Spring, Little Waltham, Great Leighs and Ford End have been working on a joint arts project involving Art and Technology. Whilst the project is still in its infancy there is huge scope to develop it further with the support from the Royal Opera House.

Primary Teaching and Learning Conference.

Our first Primary Teaching and Learning Conference was held in the summer term 2015 at the The Marconi Club in Chelmsford.

A variety of T&L research projects were undertaken by 8 primary teachers culminating in a major conference in June. This year long project, which has received no funding, was led by local consultant and ex LA advisor, Jonathan Bond. Significant impact was reported by the participants and this formed the basis of the workshops at the conference.

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Tracy Goodway

Chelmsford Teaching Schools Alliance
Newlands Spring Primary School
Dickens Place
Newlands Spring
Essex CM1 4UU
Tel: 01245 442031