Research School Network: Reflections on being an Evidence Lead in Education (ELE)

Reflections on being an Evidence Lead in Education (ELE)

by KYRA Research School
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In this blog two of the Kyra RS ELEs, Louise Davidson and Julia Greenfield, share their reflections on being designated.

At a time where there is the greatest wealth of research in the history of education and increasingly an evidence informed base to our practice, what a privilege it is to be designated an ELE.

As a strategic leader who has sought to improve pupil outcomes through impactful pedagogy, hard facts and strategies that make a meaningful difference to the profession as a means of maximising pupil outcomes and wellbeing, this has already been an invaluable opportunity to share the latest best practice and research findings.

This is a result of the evolution of Research Schools over the last three years and the significant resources that they have provided as both disseminators of evidence informed practice and professional development that coincides with it. They have been perhaps the greatest catalyst, alongside the guidance papers from the EEF, towards creating synergy locally and nationally in what has felt like an ever-changing landscape.

The reality is that the profession has always undertaken research in its loosest term, however there was no easily accessible professional vehicle to truly formalise it, to support with measuring it or to develop high standards in critical reading and knowledge of our own professional bias.

We could take the stance of the cynic and argue that this is yet another overload for the teaching profession, another thing for them to do. Yet, as many go into the profession believing that it has a moral obligation to improve outcomes for children in the broadest sense, then isn’t it better to plough time into this as a key to deeper knowledge about what really has an impact and benefit from the potential time saving mechanisms that proven strategies create? Is it time we practice what we preach if we take the core message from the EEF’s latest guidance on metacognition; plan, monitor and evaluate? Can we truly plan without giving credence to the weight of the EEF’s Impact and Security findings?

On a personal level, being an ELE supports the creation of a network of like-minded individuals and seems to have mobilised vibrant individuals who want to create research that truly informs the policy making of the future.

This brings me to leadership. Leaders of today and in the future must, somehow, in this landscape of education being all encompassing, create opportunities for head space. For themselves and for their staff to read and truly reflect on what will work from the evidence available in their context.

Ultimately this may mean that as self-regulating practitioners we re-visit regularly the layers of bureaucracy present. That we celebrate meaningful change in our settings and balance the need to be accountable with the creativity and professionalism of individuals and teams across the country, to truly digest evidence as innovators in polishing and honing our craft rather than investing in logistics that create cyclical change.



My role as an ELE has, so far, been hugely enjoyable and variable. In the past month I have: co-led training on how to carry out teacher-led research projects; attended training from the EEF and Huntington Research School; and commenced training to support Lincolnshire Schools, in making successful bids for funding, to carry-out their own trials. All of these have been interesting and incredibly informative. However, it has been particularly inspiring to hear about the variety of trial ideas and promising results, which have already been seen within our schools. A bonus of my involvement in these projects, has been the wealth of knowledge and ideas (evidence-informed of course) that I have been able to bring back to my own school, to improve our evidence-informed practice further.


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