Research & Development

In our experience all schools are taking part in exciting research and development projects, even if they don't call what they're doing R&D.  By sharing the inspirational work of our alliance schools we can all benefit from the knowledge and experience of the inspirational work taking place.

Research Groups were set up to focus on different areas of the curriculum that groups of schools were working on.  Richard Churches, Education Development Trust, showed us the importance of evidence-based research and helped us carry it out.

Examples of our teacher-led research:

Title: Using retrieval practice improves pupil progress in times-table tests with Year 4 pupils - a randomised controlled trial

Author(s): Reuben Elliott & Rosie Wyatt (Corsham Primary School & Malmesbury Primary School)

Purpose: Exploring the use of times tables testing as a learning event rather than as a means of measuring attainment and progress, through retrieval practice.

Conclusion: This research suggests that using retrieval practice does improve pupil progress in times-table tests of Year 4 pupils.  In practice, this implies that children who are given low-stakes tests throughout their learning of times-tables facts are more likely to make progress, and therefore this offers an alternative method to aid children's learning.

To read the whole study please click here

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Title: A whole class intervention (No Nonsense Spelling) has a significant impact on children's spelling scores in a suburban English primary school

Author(s): Deb Gregory & Annie Martindale (Sarum St Pauls Primary)

Purpose: To see whether there was impact of introducing a whole class spelling programme on children's spelling within independent writing.

Conclusion: The study found that using the 'No Nonsense Spelling' whole class spelling intervention had a positive impact on spelling attainment in conjunction with home learning. 

To read the whole study please click here

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Title: A study into the effect of more intensive and extended input into writing

Author(s): Abbie Innes & Annette Lawrence (Bemerton St Johns School)

Purpose: To discover whether this immersion during literacy lessons positively affects writing outcomes in terms of quantity, vocabulary and variety of sentence starters. 

Conclusion: This research suggests that using an extended and more intensive input, results in a borderline significant improvement on the vocabulary choices when the children experienced the extended input. However, the research found that the actual word count was affected negatively by this intervention. 

To read the whole study please click here

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Title: Structured collaborative problem-solving may improve performance more than unstructured collaboration and solitary learning - preliminary evidence from randomized controlled trial.

Author(s): Barry Ramsay & Imogen Boothby (Wyndham Park Primary) The

Purpose: The sustained use of working memory, that social interaction is associated with increased attention (Mundy and Newell, 2007) may help to explain why much education research has pointed to the importance of social processes. However, social interaction can be distracting and could affect a learner's ability to inhibit irrelevant stimuli during mathematical problem-solving (Cragg and Gilmore, 2014). This investigation, involving one school in Wiltshire, looked at the effects of two types of collaborative learning. 

Conclusion: The overall effect may have been caused by family-wise error and therefore the results may need to be interpreted with caution. We know that certain forms of executive function are important for effective mathematical learning, such as the monitoring and manipulation of information in working memory; suppression of distracting information (inhibition); or flexible thinking (ability to shift from concept to concept)(Cragg and Gilmore, 2014). It may have been that the template-informed collaboration helped to guide and focus attention whilst the discussion supported the development helped to guide and focus attention whilst the discussion supported the development of flexible thinking during the problem solving. Future research may wish to explore the combination of approaches in more detail.

To read the whole study please click here


Title: Which group of children does Talk 4 Writing methodology have the most beneficial impact on?

Author(s): Lisa Cole & Claire Murphy (Harnham Juniors & Amesbury Archer Primary Schools)

Purpose: Talk for Writing is a well-known method of helping children to improve their independent writing. Our purpose was to raise attainment in writing across four schools in Wiltshire in Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2. Groups of children were tested to find out which are most receptive to this method of writing. 

Conclusion: None of the results were significant. This was to be expected because of the small sample sizes. Despite this, there were wide differences in effect sizes when the different pupil groups response to the single treatment was compared. 

To read the whole study please click here 

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Title: 10 minutes Rockstar app every day improves speed of times table recall in a rural primary school in England

Author(s): Emily Dunford & Tess Rhodes (Downton Primary School)

Purpose: The purpose of this research was to identify a more effective way for children to engage in learning their times table. 

Conclusion: None of the results were significant. This was to be expected because of the small sample sizes. Despite this, there were wide differences in effect sizes when the different pupil groups response to the single treatment was compared. 

To read the whole study please click here

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Title: Does all day Forest School have a significant impact on the progress from baseline to the end of year data in Understanding the World?

Author(s): Fawn Blair & Sophie Spellar (Harnham Infants Primary)

Purpose: This study aims to answer the question "Does all day Forest School have significant impact on progress from baseline to the end of the year data in Understanding the World?" thus it sought to establish whether this approach has correlations with the quality of Forest School. 

Conclusion: The progress of learners in Understanding the World did not appear to be significantly affected by the additional support. However, the children in the intervention group appear more resourceful when exploring an outside environment. Therefore we suggest that this research is continued for progress to be seen. 

To read the whole study please click here






Title: A preliminary small-scale non randomised case match study into the effectiveness of targeted mathematical reasoning intervention. 

Author(s): Hannah Mansell & Abby Blake (Greentrees Primary School)

Purpose: There is often a debate over the effectiveness of interventions and their impact on progress. Usual classroom practice is to provide the lowest attaining pupils with intervention; we explored the impact of an intervention which specifically targeted problem solving and reasoning in Maths for the 'average' child who is yet at national expectations at the end of year. 

Conclusion: The data suggests that targeted maths intervention does improve pupil progress with a moderately large effect. The intervention closed the gap between higher attaining pupils and children working towards national standards. It would be interesting to investigate the intervention over a longer period of time. 

To read the whole study please click here

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