Research and Development


Knowing what works and perhaps more significantly why it works, are central to maintaining continuous school improvement. Across the city, school networks and groups are establishing action research models to enable teachers to embark on small scale research projects. Some schools are using the Lesson Study model to improve and research practice and some teachers are choosing to embark on accredited Masters programmes.

If you have any school based research that you would like to share more widely then please get in touch so that it can be disseminated through the website.

The Alliance is engaged in a number of research projects:

Maths Research and Development with Bath Spa University

A STEM research project

If your school is interested in developing a bespoke Masters programme and accrediting school improvement learning already going on in the school then please contact Alison Fletcher at UWE who will be able to support you in this process.

National and International Research can also inform practice and the following research reports may be of interest.

Coe, R., Aloisi, C., Higgins, S. and Elliot Major, L. (2014) ‘What Makes Great Teaching’ available at

This report brings together current research into the most effective pedagogies. They identify and explore six key effective practices. The two factors with the strongest evidence of improving pupil attainment are:

  1. teachers’ content knowledge, including their ability to understand how students think about a subject and identify common misconceptions
  2. quality of instruction, which includes using strategies like effective questioning and the use of assessment

Specific practices which have good evidence of improving attainment include:

  1. challenging students to identify the reason why an activity is taking place in the lesson
  2. asking a large number of questions and checking the responses of all students
  3. spacing-out study or practice on a given topic, with gaps in between for forgetting
  4. making students take tests or generate answers, even before they have been taught the material

The report also includes a very interesting section on education myths. These include

Myths about teaching:

  • Lavish praise can be counterproductive
  • Direct instruction is most effective for new learning
  • There is no evidence that ability groupings support progress
  • Learning styles are a myth and have no basis in research evidence
  • Learners need to be active – not evidenced in research. Learners need to think which can be an active or passive activity