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Research School Network: BLOG: Down the Research Rabbit Hole – Part 3 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 3

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.

Read more aboutKaty Crawford

“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 is the final blog of this blog series where I have given a short tour of three evidence informed pieces that caught my interest and had an immediate impact upon my teaching and school leadership


The School Leadership Podcast – Ep. 21 – High Quality CPD for leaders

Research and evidence are great to get involved with and you could get lost in the amount there is – however this podcast made sure that the evidence base we had in school was focused and made cure that CPD was high quality and was used impactfully.

The podcast begins with David Weston outlining 4secrets’ to the most effective teacher development; Align CPD with the School Development Plan; Don’t just give the ingredients, support staff to understand how to cook with them; don’t assume staff who are good at an aspect of practice will also have the skills to show others how to do it; appraisals should focus on individual goals.

Here are my key takeaways from the podcast:



This podcast made me consider how, in my role as an ELE, CPD is an important tool that can be used to support schools. The analogy about not just giving ingredients but showing people how to cook with them and then eating together really shows that when supporting colleagues/​schools there needs to be a process of discussion, reflection, action and evaluation as positive change is a process, not just a one-off event.

Wanting to find out more about high quality CPD, I purchased his book – Unleashing Great Teaching by David Weston and Bridget Clay. I feel another bullet journal infographic on the way……!

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Weston’s final point about appraisals focusing on individual goals was of interest to me. This year we have trialled using Teaching Walkthrus book (authors Oliver Caviglioli and Tom Sherrington) as an integral part of our appraisal progress. 

Teachers chose a Walkthru to focus on which was then discussed with their appraiser in the context of a specific lesson. The appraiser then dropped into that lesson to support with reflections upon how the Walkthru had an impact upon the learning in the lesson. 

Being the appraisee in this process, I found it personalised to my children and my own goals and a process that had a huge impact on my classroom practice. It was a collaborative and challenging process but came with the motivation bought about by personal choice. 

In the role of an ELE, it is important to always be professionally curious. Therefore, reading, blogging, podcast listening and following evidence informed Twitter trails are all integral to the role. If you are keen to find out more about the above books/​podcasts or you want to find more about bullet journaling, feel free to get in touch.

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