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Research School Network: reflecting on researchED Ipswich: ensuring my supermarket trip results in a delicious feast!

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reflecting on researchED Ipswich: ensuring my supermarket trip results in a delicious feast!

Inspired by my recent experience of working with the Research School Network, I attended the first Research Ed event in the East of England organised by the team at Unity Research School and what a great decision that turned out to be!

A day packed full of food for thought however, the danger of one off sessions in the words of David Weston is like saying a shopping trip is a good meal”. Of course it’s what you bring back and do with the ingredients that count. So the day after I was up bright and breezy on a Sunday morning with my action plan template at the ready…

Because …
I will…
I hope…
Of something said or presented
My response/​action will be
The impact of the action will be

This is something I always do for my own professional development to ensure those best practice examples or the provocations experienced are not lost or become wasted opportunities. 

On this occasion, in going through my notes certain phrases and ideas kept coming back to the fore so I thought these must be worth sharing for others to contemplate. 

Estelle Morris said research isn’t sexy, it’s a slow burner but one which can fill the void and stop politicians trying to fill it. This is a chance for us to take back control of the profession, build the knowledge base and stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, sharing wisdom along the way.


Professional development is like a rhythm that flows through the dance or the wires that stretch between the pylons. We get it wrong when it’s too generic, there is no time to reflect and implement, it’s a one off (pylons with no connection), driven by performance management or is set within a poor professional environment. This resonated with me as no-one sent me on the day, no-one had an agenda for me attending, it was a day for me to network with others and contemplate up to date issues in our profession and move my practice on. 


Forensic, evidence based and responsive; an approach to school improvement which is fast paced but thorough. It’s focussed on teaching the right things efficiently and this runs right through the professional culture. Thank you Ipswich Academy, much of what you presented has caused me to take action and reflect on how I support teachers to have a greater impact in the classroom. 


Coaching people off the edge, a chance to retain staff and coach them back to success. Given the percentage of teachers leave after 3 – 5 years; do teachers appreciate they have got over the biggest climb in the learning curve by this stage? Have they appreciated that some research reveals it can take 10 years before we perform consistently well?

Joining up the dots of messages heard in several sessions have given rise to many actions linked into developing our teachers to be the best they can be in a manageable way.

I am so pleased that I took that opportunity to make that supermarket trip on a Saturday (yes my weekend) and come back to create a meal that not only tasted delicious, looked amazing and most of all was satisfying. I know it’s early days but several of the because statements are being discussed and debated within our trust and between our teachers. My thanks go to the team at Unity for offering a great variety of local and national ingredients for us to start experimenting with and producing the ultimate feast. 

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