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At Redhill Primary Academy, we consider ourselves to be a centre of educational excellence who are at the forefront of educational research, regularly finding new and innovative ways of teaching and learning. Over the past three years, we have invested time through continuous professional development for all staff across the school to undertake educational research projects which focus on improving staff's subject, pedagogical and pedagogical content knowledge to enhance the teaching of the curriculum and the appropriate use of assessment. We believe that evidence-based practice is now at the heart of what we do. As a research-informed school, we aim to share the best evidence-based research through staff training; show how research can be implemented in the classroom through trialling best practice and making adaptations where appropriate for our children; and to support other schools within our locality and beyond in a variety of ways.
We complete educational research in a number of ways; through attending an array of conferences like ResearchEd; purchasing and reading educational books and blogs; and by completing our own research using publications from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), the Research Schools Organisation and the Chartered College of Teaching to name but a few.
Some of the educational research undertaken over the past few years:
* Nuffield Early Language Intervention to target children with poor language skills. This was implemented through EYFS and KS1 with several members of the TA team and teaching staff being trained in 2019. Children in EYFS and KS1 have benefitted greatly through the roll out of the programme, seen improvements in children's listening, vocabulary and narrative skills.
* Metacognition and self-regulated learning EEF report 2018 - Staff implemented explicit strategies which encouraged metacognition which has led to raising the attainment of pupils.
* Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants EEF report 2018 - A series of sessions through TA training were completed and are frequently revisited to support TAs in being as effective as they can be when working alongside teachers in the classroom or delivering high quality interventions.
* John Sweller's Cognitive Load Theory - As a result of researching this in detail, all staff have employed strategies to 'chunk' learning into smaller steps so that the working memory is not overloaded. Children are more active learning in their learning and have built schemas through revisiting of concepts.
* Daniel Willingham's Why Students Don't Like School - Staff completed discussions about the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experience. Led to the school's initial discussions around reviewing the curriculum in light of the EIF in 2018-2019. We have implemented a predominately knowledge rich curriculum with important skills outlined in all individual disciplines.
* Barak Rosenshine's Principles of Instruction - Staff trialled and implemented the full breadth of the principles with retrieval practice through daily, weekly and monthly review being the biggest change through a variety of strategies e.g. quizzing, self-explanation, demonstration through paired work - show another, explanation to another, write/sketch from memory, draw a concept map, label a diagram, tell the story of how..., summarising, create flashcards, mark my test, write the question, bingo etc.
* Mary Myatt's Curriculum Gallimaufry to Coherence, High Challenge Low Threat, Back on Track Fewer Things in Greater Depth - Further research was taken into how to store knowledge in the long-term memory as a result of reading these texts. Throughout the books, staff noted the importance of vocabulary and this now takes high priority in every lesson. In order to support this further, staff outlined key vocabulary in our knowledge and skills document for each year group or phase of primary education.
* Dylan Wiliam's Five Assessment for Learning Strategies - We returned to this really important piece of research to ensure the implementation of effective formative assessment. As a result, staff are clearer on key assessment strategies to employ in the classroom and in turn, have a better understanding of the children's progress within a lesson and throughout a sequence of learning.
As well as supporting our own staff in evidence-based practice, a number of our middle and senior leaders regularly support staff from other schools across Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire and the West Midlands:
We are proud to be a partner of West Midlands Consortium Teacher Training for primary education. Throughout the year, our staff design and implement high quality ITT curricula, structured around subjects, delivering a whole host of sessions focussing on pedagogy, reading and foundation subjects. All middle and senior leaders are involved in delivering this content to the Associate Teachers, sequencing their learning appropriately for the primary phase of education.
For several years now, our school science subject leader, Tom Hodgkison, has been a trainer for our local science hub, offering training for subject leaders or whole staff to develop their science provision. In addition, he also works alongside other schools to coach them through achieving the Science Quality Mark, something we are very fortunate to have had in place here at Redhill for a number of years.
Through Severn Teaching School Alliance, the Headteacher, Claire Whiting, is a Local Leader of Education, regularly supporting other schools with school development and their leadership and management. Lydia Cartwright, the Deputy Headteacher, is a Senior Leader in Education for curriculum, as is Tom Hodgkison for science, both regularly delivering training to other schools and offering support and advice to subject leaders.
Denise Rock, our SENDCo, has been involved in many authority wide SEN initiatives throughout the years working closely with the local authority SEND team and colleagues in school across the borough. At various points during her time at Redhill she has also worked for the local authority as a Learning Support Advisory Teacher, going into schools across the local authority supporting with the identification of individual pupil's Special Educational Needs and their associated provision required, as well as offering support and advice with whole school SEND provision. She also spent time working in the primary phase of one of our local special schools, where she was able to share and learn many aspects of best practice surrounding SENs education alongside specialist SEN colleagues. Currently she is a member of Telford Inclusive School Forum. The Inclusive School Forum is a school led forum within Telford and Wrekin that provides support and challenge to mainstream schools regarding the provision and practice they deliver for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). It aims to provide an opportunity to network and deliver peer to peer guidance. The focus is, through sharing best practice, to develop an inclusive education system within Telford and Wrekin whereby children with increasingly complex needs achieve and succeed within mainstream schools. In addition she also works in a SEN consultancy role supporting local schools develop their SEN provision. She is also a governor at a local specialist secondary school.
Our Early Years Foundation Manager and early reading expert, Sam Farmer, has completed various visits to other schools, advising on best practice and hosted many members of staff from other settings, so they can see educational research in practice. In addition, she has supported schools to observe how the TEAACH programme is provided for children with SEN. In her role as art leader, she has also created a local network for subject leaders to review the way in which art is taught across primary schools in the local area. This is a collaboration project whereby staff review current art provision and develop coherent and sequenced medium term plans together.
Our maths subject leader, Lisa Williams, has supported other schools in reviewing their provision, developing calculation policies, conducting learning walks and observing teaching here at Redhill. Alongside another colleague, Laura Fance, she has also supported secondary school staff in both maths and English to ensure that pitch and expectations at Year 6 were built upon in Year 7 and beyond.
Shaad Dhillon, our RE subject leader, is part of the SACRE working party, delivering training at conferences and offering support and advice on ensuring statutory requirements for teaching religious education in schools are adhered to.
We also have a local authority approved moderator, Becky Williams, who annually visits other Telford and Wrekin to ensure the standardisation of writing across the locality.
Several subject leaders, Lydia Cartwright, Sam Farmer, Vicky Kibble and Amy Coughlan, have supported the schools across Telford &Wrekin, Birmingham and the Black Country in offering advice to subject leaders in French, Art, Computing and Phonics.