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What is the proposed role of research evidence in England’s 'self-improving' school system?

Godfrey, D; (2017) What is the proposed role of research evidence in England’s 'self-improving' school system? Oxford Review of Education , 43 (4) pp. 433-446. 10.1080/03054985.2017.1329718. Green open access


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This article examines the English government’s vision for how research is proposed to lead to improvements in the system in the context of a school-led, self-improving system and rapid and sweeping legislative reforms. The debate about the role of research in the teaching profession has been sharpened by a large consultation effort in the academic community. The BERA-RSA inquiry suggests an empowering vision for teachers where research engagement informs practice and a role for schools in providing a ‘research-rich environment’. However, the government’s proposals offer a rather less empowering vision. The author of the paper contrasts a version of research-informed teaching and leadership with one where teachers are supposed to follow and be led by the evidence. The government’s education policy, especially as set out in the 2016 White Paper ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’ is analysed in relation to this position. Analysis of statements from the document are shown in the paper, and contextualised with examples from the English school system. The extent to which teacher agency is promoted through research evidence is explored. The article concludes that the government’s over emphasis on a ‘what works’/‘evidence-based practice’ model is unhelpful in achieving an improved education system. Suggestions for the role of universities and the College of Teaching in promoting research-informed practice are given.

Type: Article
Title: What is the proposed role of research evidence in England’s 'self-improving' school system?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/03054985.2017.1329718
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2017.1329718
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Evidence-informed practice, evidence-based practice, research-informed practice, what works, self-improving system
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1535414
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