: Blog four | The benefits of participation in an EEF project Knowledge that participation helps to add to the broader evidence base for the system will be significant reason to take part.


Blog four | The benefits of participation in an EEF project

Knowledge that participation helps to add to the broader evidence base for the system will be significant reason to take part.

by Cornwall Research School
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John Rodgers

Director of Cornwall Research School

John has been a teacher for 24 years, the last 19 in Cornwall. He currently works as an Assistant Principal at Mounts Bay Academy, Penzance. He is also Content Lead for Secondary Literacy for RS Network. Click here to read more.

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Luca Owenbridge

Deputy Director of Cornwall Research School

Luca Owenbridge is History and Maths teacher based in Penzance, Cornwall. He came to teaching after working as a Policy Analyst for the Department for Education in London. Click here to read more.

Read more aboutLuca Owenbridge

In blog three of our series on EEF projects we looked at the different types of projects the EEF fund. Here in blog four, we will explore the potential benefits to schools participating in EEF projects.

In the Access EEF Funded Projects’ brochure1 three potential benefits are listed. These range from the more self-interested benefits to your school/​setting to the altruistic impact your participation could have on education settings across the country and further afield.

Receive promising approaches in your setting at a heavily reduced cost

First, the EEF fund most of the costs of the programme. There are some cases where they may ask you to contribute a small amount towards the programme you are receiving.

This could be anything an approach to help embed formative assessment across a whole school to a programme assessing the impacts of generative AIs like GPT on lesson planning in a specific subject. With invaluable support with implementation this gives you access to cutting edge’ practices and approaches without the financial cost and with a reduced opportunity and time cost for staff as the EEF support participants through each stage.

The ever improving picture of best practice informed by evidence and systematic review at the EEF is fast moving and so the chance to integrate these developing practices into your setting is potentially of huge benefit.

If you are assigned to a control group in an Randomised Control Group (RCT – see blog 2 in this series), you will not receive the given intervention or approach but will still receive a payment for taking part in evaluation activities.

Access professional development for your staff

Most of our programmes involve high quality professional development and support resources, so taking part can support the ongoing improvement of your staff and your setting.

The EEF’s guidance report on professional development suggests the importance of its mechanisms. Mechanisms are the core, observable and replicable building blocks of the professional development which can be replicated. They also stress the importance of ensuring that professional development effectively builds knowledge, motivates staff, develops teaching techniques, and embeds practice and that context is key.

Getting all this right is a challenge, and often time consuming, but it is crucial to a healthy functioning school. The chance to access the quality resources and professional development opportunities attached to participation in an EEF project should be a welcome one.

Contribute to the evidence base and support your colleagues to improve teaching and learning

More altruistically, your participation stands to help shape and better inform the national picture of evidence informed best practice for others. The EEF’s mission of closing the gap for disadvantaged pupils is one schools share. We, as individual schools or trusts, have the keys, in our pupils and settings, to help unlock what works in closing this gap. 

Over half of all schools and settings in England have taken part in an EEF trial. Every one of them has made a valuable and long-term contribution to the education evidence base by supporting the profession to improve teaching and learning through better use of evidence.

In a blog2 from November 2020, Shotton Hall Research school lists a further 3 benefits:

Trial a high potential programme which has the potential to benefit your pupils learning directly Create a legacy of knowledge everyday teachers and school leaders make countless decisions P

East London Research School have also blogged3 about the benefits; Being part of a project is hugely educative. Just the process of answering the questions they put to me, helped me to clarify so many thoughts. It shook up some stale ideas I had and shook out lots of nonsense I had picked up on the way as a teacher, doing things because someone else had always done them like that. The whole experience was educative and illuminative for me. What’s better, I made a small contribution to increasing knowledge.”

For many schools, the knowledge that participation helps to add to the broader evidence base for the system will be a significant reason for participation. Altruism can only go so far in individual schools’ contexts though. Therefore, knowing that participation will contribute to an evidence base which benefits society, but also that school staff will potentially develop an increased understanding of how that evidence is generated and how to use it is important. This in turn helps schools engage with research evidence to support practice and pedagogy. Schools and staff will also be potentially exposed to promising interventions, along with attendant PD and resources.

The benefits are multifaceted and substantial but schools and school leaders must weigh potential benefits against the pressures and context of their settings.

Find out more

To find out more about the projects that the EEF are currently funding visit the EEF website here Projects | EEF (educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk)

To explore projects that are currently recruiting in your area, visit Take part in an EEF project | EEF (educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk)

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