Research & Development

One of the best ways of promoting cross-school and cross-phase liaison and collaboration is to be involved in research and development projects which, in turn, improve the quality of teaching and learning and that is why the ATA is keen to establish R&D groups and carry out action research.

Our Aims:

  • Share good practice and research findings 
  • Develop expertise and knowledge
  • Contribute to the wider educational community

What motivates your pupils?

The ATA has decided to focus on pupil motivation for its research project this year. We are aware that there is a tremendous amount of expertise within local schools and working together allows us to share ideas and findings while giving us access to a greater range of external expertise and support.

Regular Research & Development group meetings will be arranged to provide a context for sharing ideas, networking and identifying issues we would like to explore in more depth. We want to encourage attendance of both senior staff (with strategic overview) and newer teachers (with immediate teaching experience).

We would like to rotate the location of these meetings, if you are willing to host us later this year please let us know!

Please click here for the first Research and Development Newsletter.

Assessment Without Levels

For the latest Assessment Without Levels Report please click here.

Research & Development: ‘Research Symposium' - March 2015

We are pleased to announce that the next of our popular series of research symposia will include top quality input from the following:

Lisa Bradbury from CUREE will be giving a key note address on why teachers generally don't keep improving. She'll highlight the reasons for this, before pointing out what it is that individuals, small groups, and schools do to buck this particular trend. In the afternoon she'll be running a workshop for senior leaders which looks at how to evaluate and refine CPD at a whole-school level.

Malcolm Swan from Nottingham University will be providing a session on lesson study and it's potential to help teachers make real improvements. As he's an expert in lesson study in mathematics, he will be running an afternoon workshop aimed at designing and evaluating effective maths lessons in the afternoon.

Robert Coe from CEM and the Sutton Trust will be sharing his insights on what makes great teaching, and how research use can help us to improve.

Ben White will be sharing how our EEF funded research project is helping local schools to make use of research insights and principles to inspire real improvements in their classrooms.

We will be meeting at the excellent Marsh Academy Conference Centre from 9:30 until 3pm on 19 March 2015. Further details and our event literature is available on CPD.

Research & Development: ‘Research Symposium' - December 2014

We have received excellent feedback relating to our recent Research and Development Symposium that took place on 2 December, delivered as part of the ATA’s work with the EEF (Education Endowment Foundation). The venue itself was praised and the focus of the day was must appreciated - thank you to The Marsh Academy! Comments include: “We all thought it was an excellent day.” and “From my point of view particularly, the assessment content was very interesting!”

Our keynote speakers, Dr Bob Burstow (KCL) and Professor Jeremy Hodgen (Nottingham University), provided some excellent input on evidence-based practice and feedback respectively. Our follow-up workshops provided a chance to unpack the implications of their insights for our own practice.

Our next Symposium will be at The Marsh Academy on 19 March. The theme of the day will be evidence-based practice at classroom level. There will be direct input from Professor Coe and training in the principles of Research Lesson Study. The afternoon will include workshops to help staff design a lesson study cycle to tackle a particular gap with regard to specific students in a single class. We are also looking into providing a session specifically tailored to new teachers alongside those aimed at experienced practitioners.

Research & Development: ‘Research Symposium' - December 2013

The day included training from keynote speaker Alan McLean; research review and training produced by Tom Welch (EdYou) and lastly workshops led by teachers from ATA schools.

Alan McLean is the author of ‘The Motivated School’. McLean is a renowned psychologist, commissioned by the Scottish Government to produce a training programme on motivation in schools. Following the success of the Motivated School in Scotland, the counties of Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Bristol and the Isle of Man are now adopting the programme, which provides teachers with strategies for building higher levels of intrinsic motivation in learners.

Tom Welch, for EdYou, a research group to raise attainment, will present research findings on high achieving white working class boys, and will give advice on how to carry out research. Individual schools will share their own research projects, school practice and experience in relation to pupil motivation.

Closing the Gap: Test and Learn Scheme

As a training school we are committed to taking part in high quality research, which contributes to the development of education in England.

We have been selected to take place in a national scale ‘Randomised Controlled Trial’ into the efficiency of specific interventions designed to ‘close the gap’.

  • In 2014 this involves a pilot project at Highworth
  • In 2014/2015 this will be expanded to include a number of schools within the alliance.

We are also looking to carry out smaller scale studies of our own. This year we are carrying out research in conjunction with our ‘Motivation’ theme. The initial findings of this research will be shared within the ATA. In the longer term there is scope to publish the results and offer motivation themed training courses to other teaching alliances in England.

Tailored training on the theme of ‘Motivation’ is already available for individual schools.

For further details of delivery options, an outline of how this has worked with schools in the past and how we can assist your school, please contact Lesley Donald at