Wow! What a year it has been for me in my new role as Research Lead. It is so wonderful to reflect upon the last academic year and consider the many challenges that I have faced. I have well and truly put myself out of my comfort zone but I have had the realisation that as a result of taking on this role, it has not only made me a better teacher but it has made me more passionate about working with our staff and students alike to ensure that the purposeful use of educational research and ‘evidence’ underpins everything that we do here at Culcheth High School.
Professor Jean Ruddock of Cambridge University believed that being ‘research-engaged ‘…leads teachers back to the things that lie at the heart of their professionalism: pupils, teaching and learning’. Similarly, Baroness Estelle Morris (2009) argues that “If teachers are to make wise decisions, they will need access to the very best evidence on what has already been proven to work, and they will need to be confident about the accuracy of that information.” A key goal for me this year was to ensure that staff could access credible, useful educational research that could support them in making incremental improvements to their practice. I continue to be inspired on a regular basis by the high level of professional dialogue that is happening amongst our body of staff around educational research, not only in CPD sessions, but also in classrooms, workrooms and in the corridors!
At Culcheth High School, we were already incredibly proud of our TDT Bronze Award that demonstrates our commitment to high quality professional development for all staff. However, after a recent audit in May 2017, we are incredibly delighted and proud to have received the TDT Silver Award for continuous professional development at Culcheth High School. By giving our staff time and resources, it has enabled us to work towards a culture of evidence informed practice. Over the coming year, my role will be to embed this culture across school with the aim of allowing all staff to feel more confident in using educational
research to develop their knowledge and expertise in a way that will continue to develop the educational opportunities available to each and every one of our students.
I am incredibly excited about the coming year and I am looking forward to the many challenges that will come my way! I am sure that I will be able to report many more exciting developments with you…watch this space!
Miss J Lomax, Research Lead
Culcheth High School has recently received further recognition for the quality of its Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme. An audit carried out by the Teacher Development Trust found the school to have ‘an incredibly strong developmental culture’ and that CPD ‘maintains a tight focus on pupils’. The positive findings of the audit have led to the school being given the Silver Award.