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IntroductionEEF Partnerships

EEF has one overriding purpose: to use evidence of what works in schools to improve teaching and learning, especially for the most disadvantaged. But it can be challenging for school leaders to know how the latest research relates to different contexts.

EEF Partnerships is our new regional initiative to ensure all schools – especially those in deprived areas – have access to the resources, training and support they need.

EEF Partnerships are an opportunity for schools to work with the EEF, our 40 Research Schools and our six regionally based teams to improve pupil attainment through professional development programmes, access to evidence-based interventions and ongoing support and coaching.

We know that there is no quick fix to meaningful school improvement and that is why the Improvement Partnership is focused on developing long-term collaborations to help schools understand and use evidence in the classroom in a long-term collaboration. 

EEF Regional Support

EEF’s team of Regional LeadsEEF Regional Support

School improvement is not about quick fixes or buying in ad hoc professional development programmes. Accurately diagnosing the needs of your school, finding solutions based on sound evidence, paying careful attention to implementation and successfully monitoring and evaluating your approaches requires sustained support. 

EEF’s team of Regional Leads provide local support to develop Partnerships with our network of 40 Research Schools. Research Schools share their knowledge and expertise on effective teaching and provide evidence-informed support and training to bring research closer to schools in their area. 

Research Schools

The Research Schools NetworkResearch Schools

The Research Schools Network is a collaboration between the EEF and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE) to fund a network of schools which support the use of evidence to improve teaching practice.

Launched in 2016, the Network currently numbers 40 schools: 32 Research Schools and eight Associate Research Schools. All have been appointed following a competitive application process. The Research Schools Network aims to lead the way in the use of evidence-based teaching, building affiliations with large numbers of schools in their region, and supporting the use of evidence at scale.

Research Schools work with the other schools in their areas to help them use evidence more effectively to inform their teaching through:

  • encouraging schools to make use of evidence-based programmes and practices through regular communication and events;
  • providing training and professional development for senior leaders and teachers on how to improve classroom practice based on the best available evidence; and
  • supporting schools to develop innovative ways of improving teaching and learning and provide them with the expertise to evaluate their impact.
Partnership Case Studies linkVisit the research school network

Click the Map to find out about some of our partnershipsPartnership Case Studies

Through our Research Schools, the EEF is engaged in a wide variety of partnership work with Local Authorities, multi-academy trusts, teaching schools and new informal alliances of schools.

Partnerships are long-term collaborations designed to provide practical, hands-on support to help schools understand and use evidence in the classroom through professional development programmes, access to Promising Programmes and wrap around support and coaching.

Find out about some of the Partnerships we have already developed.

Professional Development

Case Study 2Cornwall Teaching Schools Together – a Partnership with EEF and the Research School network

In Spring 2019, 134 schools came together from across Cornwall under a new steering group for a series of focused professional development workshops on Maximizing the Impact of the Pupil Premium. They worked with Research Schools to identify shared priorities and design and deliver an evidence-informed school improvement programme.

Over two terms, participants spent three days identifying their schools’ needs, using the implementation framework to find evidence-based solutions to develop a plan for raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. Additional support included pre, mid and post workshop tasks to work with their school’s staff and reinforce messages and plans, in addition to a follow up day in January 2020 to quality assure and peer review plans, co-facilitated by Kingsbridge Research School and Cornwall Associate Research School. 

Future Plans

The Partnership across Cornwall is focused on developing capacity and building on the region’s expertise. In Spring 2020, a series of follow on professional development opportunities on metacognition and maths at the transition will take place, building on the evidence in our guidance reports and working in conjunction with the Cornwall and Devon Maths Hub. Additional plans include developing assessment strategies to establish a more nuanced understanding of vulnerable learners’ needs and improve monitoring and evaluation. 

Partnership Case Studies

Case Study 1Tameside Metropolitan Council and Oldham Research School

The EEF and Oldham Research School are supporting schools in the area through a three-year partnership with Tameside Local Authority. The Partnership is focused on raising disadvantaged pupils’ attainment by developing teachers’ ability to access evidence, make sense of it and apply it across the primary phase, particularly in the early years.

What is involved?

The Partnership involves three complementary professional development programmes, each designed to cater to Tameside’s local needs.

  1. Leading Learning, a series of ‘Core’ Professional Development (CPD) workshops for all Tameside schools, are co-delivered by Dr Jo Pearson, Director of Oldham Research School, and local school leaders. The three-day CPD draws on the EEF’s guidance reports to support schools in using evidence to implement new strategies and make changes in their schools.
  2. A series of Specialist Programmes for early years practitioners based on the Preparing for Literacy guidance report complements the Core training
  3. The Research Breakfasts series provides a convenient forum for busy school leaders to be introduced to the essential evidence in bite-size chunks (alongside a bite to eat!).

How will this work be sustained?

The training and support is open to all schools, but we used EEF and Tameside Local Authority funding to prioritise schools with high numbers of disadvantaged students who may be likely to benefit most from the additional focus and support.

Tameside have identified system leaders who will steer the direction of the partnership to sustain it into Y2 and Y3. . At the end of the three years, we aim for participating schools to be able to confidently use evidence to inform their practice and improve outcomes for the children of Tameside, particularly the most disadvantaged.

Professional Development OpportunitiesProfessional Development

We understand that schools want to design and shape any school improvement support to meet their particular challenges. The EEF and Research Schools work together to provide evidence-informed professional development for school leaders. 

Our content draws upon the extensive publications, tools and resources from the EEF and elsewhere, equipping leaders with the skills to identify areas of need, explore the evidence base for potential solutions, develop an implementation plan and monitor and evaluate changes. The content is built around core elements of understanding and applying evidence in practice, while being intentionally flexible to allow those involved in the Partnership to adapt and focus on the areas of evidence which are of interest to them. 

Together we can ensure the agreed programme and support is aligned with the evidence on effective professional development, allowing for sustained work and training over at least two terms.

3 day training eventsSpecialist Professional Development

One component of this is our specialist training programmes, which use the EEF’s guidance reports as a basis to develop focused expertise.These in-depth sessions are adapted to meet individual school’s needs over a three day training through exemplars, case studies, templates, tools and resources covering such topics as behaviour, literacy, maths, metacognition and self-regulation and more.

As all RSN training is underpinned by a common framework and process (putting evidence to work), we find that multiple programmes - drawing in different members of a school’s leadership team help provide a common language and approach for more evidence-informed school improvement decisions. For example, a training and retaining great teacher programme for the Deputy Head Teacher and the Specialist KS1 Literacy Programme for the school’s literacy lead.

The range of Specialist Programmes includes: 

  • Literacy: EYs; KS1; KS2; and Secondary
  • Maths: KS2 and KS3 (EYs in development)
  • Science: Secondary
  • Learning Behaviours: Metacognition; Behaviour; Memory
  • And more general programmes around disadvantaged pupils; training and retaining great teachers and curriculum.

Who is it for: Middle and Senior Leaders

Who delivers it: Research School Directors across the network and EEF central staff

linkSpecialist Programmes linkEEF Guidance Reports


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