Best Practice

Make research make a difference in the classroom

Action research
Practitioner-led enquiry is increasingly being seen as crucial to becoming a successful school. SecEd is supporting the new NFER Research Mark that aims to help schools promote teacher research. Graham Handscomb explains.


School-based enquiry and research are now being seen to make an important contribution to self-evaluation, improvement and the professional learning of staff.

For teachers who have engaged in researching their own school and classrooms it has not only brought new insights, new levels of understanding and new challenges, but has enhanced the quality of teaching and learning at the same time.

In these schools, research covers a wide range of activities, rooted in the day-to-day life of the classroom and the on-going business of the school and its relationships with its community (as is shown in the case study below).

Just as teachers encourage their pupils to engage in enquiry systematically and with a developing understanding of what constitutes “evidence”, so teachers themselves observe these principles for their own learning. It is about turning intuitive and spontaneous judgements into more systematic investigations, starting with the everyday questions that teachers ask themselves:

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