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Research School Network: BLOG: Down the Research Rabbit Hole – Part 2 Through the evidence-informed looking glass: Top tips, takeaways and recommended reads from one of our newly designated ELEs

BLOG: Down the Research Rabbit Hole – Part 2

Through the evidence-informed looking glass: Top tips, takeaways and recommended reads from one of our newly designated ELEs

by Derby Research School
on the

Katy c

Katy Crawford

Vice Principal – Fairfield Primary Academy, Derby Research School ELE

Katy is the Vice Principal at Fairfield Primary Academy with responsibility for exemplifying excellence in teaching, learning and assessment and implementation and impact of the curriculum. Katy passionately supports and coaches curriculum leaders and ensures that the knowledge engaged curriculum at Fairfield is having an impact on pupil progress.

Katy is passionate about research informed practice underpinning high quality teaching and shares her most recent reading and key take aways which have positively impacted on her teaching and pupil outcomes.

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“The more you read, the more you know, the more places you will go!"

Dr Seuss

On my path to becoming an ELE, I don’t feel there is a quote that could represent my journey better. From the moment I delved into educational research, I became hooked with seeing how reading could have such a profound impact upon the children I teach. There is an abundance of evidence informed information available, not only through books but via blogs, webinars, podcasts and more. My first encounter on this journey was opening up the EEF Metacognition and Self-Regulation Guidance Report and being greeted by information that was well presented, evidence informed and, frankly, just. made. sense!

I have heard colleagues say that they find evidence overwhelming as there is so much available and it’s often difficult to know where to start. In this blog I will highlight some evidence informed information that is a good beginning to becoming evidence informed. Below, I have modelled how I have dipped my toes into the evidence base, how I have sifted through and found information that is relevant to my setting and how I’ve embedded it to see the results.

This blog series is a short tour of three evidence informed pieces that caught my interest and had an immediate impact upon my teaching and school leadership.

Each week I’ll post one of the evidence informed pieces alongside my key takeaways and recommendations.

The series will end just before the summer, a perfect time for you to get your hands on some of the books I’ve mentioned and join me on this journey.

Paul dix

When Adults Change

Paul Dix When Adults Change, Everything Changes

In my last blog I mentioned how Paul Dix’s book caught my eye as it was widely discussed on Twitter. With a largely positive reaction on social media and an intriguing title, I felt like I needed to take a look.

The importance of positive relationships is a golden thread that runs through this book and because of this, I was instantly hooked. Dix promotes the 5 pillars of practice which he details through the book: consistent, calm adult behaviour; first attention for best conduct; relentless routines; scripting difficult interventions; restorative follow-up. The first three of these pillars focus on ensuring that what the children are expecting, is what happens. The adult should be calm and consistent in their conduct. 

The adult’s attention should always go to the pupils doing the right thing’ as a way of reinforcing expectations and routines should be used consistently and embedded rigorously. 

The last two pillars deal with what to do if behaviour does not match expectations. Scripting of difficult conversations is a tool to ensure that you plan behaviour interventions and rehearse what you are going to say to learners. 

Dix describes restorative follow-up’ as a pivotal technique to help build and restore relationships after a sanction. It aims to encourages pupils to take responsibility for their actions, and repair any harm that they have caused.

The focus on consistency within the first chapter of this book feels deliberate and resonates with evidence-based educational research, particularly the EEF guidance report on Improving Behaviour in Schools. If you’re in a position where you would like to reflect upon how you manage behaviour in your classroom/​school, this book gives you plenty of food for thought.

Here are my key takeaways from the book:

Paul dix


This book served as a reminder of an aspect of teaching that is key to success; relationships are the beating heart of a classroom. It reminded me of the reasons why I greet every child at the door in the morning, the reasons why we have staff on school gates to greet families and wave them off at the end of the day and the reasons why I’m happy to listen when a child reminds you how many days it is until their birthday (for the 5th day in a row).

If you are struggling with relationships with your pupils or you want to achieve consistency with how you attend to behaviour issues, this book will help you to consider your day to day interactions with your children and how these can be used to promote a ready, respectful and safe learning environment.

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EEF Guidance Improving Behaviour In Schools

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In my final blog of the series, I explore my wanderings through the world of podcasts. Join me on 24th June for more top tips, takeaways and recommended reads.

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