Research School Network: Identifying ​‘best bets’ from educational research Secondary school SENCo Kirsten Mould explains how to make best use of the EEF’s recently updated Teaching and Learning Toolkit


Identifying ​‘best bets’ from educational research

Secondary school SENCo Kirsten Mould explains how to make best use of the EEF’s recently updated Teaching and Learning Toolkit

by Research Schools Network
on the

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is committed to supporting teachers and senior leaders to raise attainment and close the disadvantage gap – rooting our response to this educational challenge in the best available evidence.

The recently updated EEF Toolkit is a free, online resource to help school leaders and teachers navigate the wealth of educational research available, providing an accessible summary of the international evidence on teaching 516-year-olds.

The Toolkit gives a snapshot of what we can learn from current research, providing insights into which approaches have, and have not, had an impact in other classrooms. It is not a prediction of what will happen in future classrooms, but an indication of our best bets’ for maximising the effectiveness of teaching practice.

The Toolkit aims to complement teachers and school leaders’ professional judgement and knowledge of their own school context, so that they can direct their efforts and funds towards approaches that have the potential to make a meaningful difference for their pupils.

Within every strand’ of the Toolkit, school leaders can explore information about the effectiveness of a specific approach. Each includes:

- An explanation of the approach
- Key findings from the research base
- A measure of how effective it has been in other classrooms (in months’ progress)
- What’s behind the average and how secure the evidence is
- How this approach may link to closing the disadvantage gap
- How it could be implemented in your setting
- Links to other EEF relevant studies

How can I use the EEF Toolkit to… inform approaches to parental engagement?

At first glance, the Parental Engagement strand of the Toolkit indicates that this approach can have a moderate impact for very low cost, and that this finding is based on extensive evidence. The impact measure indicates that parental engagement strategies have previously been successful in accelerating progress by up to 4 months.

If we dig a little deeper, the subsection on implementation encourages school leaders to consider how tailored school communications create a positive dialogue about learning – particularly personalised communications that provide practical strategies with tips, resources and support, such as via text alerts.

The Toolkit also gives important insights into the nuance in the findings from educational research. In this instance, it highlights that the effects of parental engagement strategies are substantially higher in the Early Years, in literacy and with approaches that encourage a parent to work 1:1 with their child.

However, it also advises caution, as particular engagement strategies can risk widening the attainment gap. Regular review of parental communication is crucial, as is offering more sustained and intensive support as appropriate.

How can I use the EEF Toolkit to…inform classroom practice?

A range of strands in the EEF Toolkit explore aspects of teaching and learning. Here, Lorwyn Randall, EEF Regional Lead for the Southwest, explains insights from the Peer Tutoring strand of the EEF Toolkit:

Teaching and Learning Toolkit - Peer Tutoring

Whether it is improving the quality of teaching, or informing wider strategies, such as supporting parental engagement, the EEF Toolkit offers an up-to-date resource to support the work of teachers and school leaders.

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