Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
This study investigates the impact and feasibility of using a model of research use within secondary schools in the UK. It uses a ‘hub’ school leading other schools through a process of school improvement, using research evidence as the driver for change. The study aims to equip schools with a way of helping teachers use educational research to develop their teaching practice in a way which maximises the positive impact on student outcomes.
Who can participate?
Forty secondary schools in the UK
What does the study involve?
Participating schools are randomly allocated to either receive the intervention or to carry on with usual practice (control schools). The intervention involves a one-year training programme (8 sessions) for one senior teacher per school to become the Research Lead, and also includes an annual training day for department heads. Research Leads have ongoing support to engage with the learning from the training and incorporate this into the teaching and learning of their school. The intervention has been developed and conducted by Huntington School in York along with academics from Durham University. The effectiveness of the intervention is measured using student GCSE results and also a survey of teacher use of research evidence in their practice.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
For schools, the possible benefits of participating include the payment of £1500 for control school participation and £5000 for intervention school participation. In intervention schools, the training of a senior staff member in research evidence use could result in more research-informed school practices, less wasted effort by teachers and therefore greater contentment. Possible risks of participating are low, but could include, for intervention schools, the opportunity costs of having a senior teacher away from school for about 12-14 days over two years, plus the cost of teacher cover for the training.
Where is the study run from?
Huntington School (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
August 2014 to March 2018
Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)
Who is the main contact?
The RISE Project: evidence-informed school improvement
Do secondary schools taking part in an intervention that uses a research-based school improvement model (the RISE intervention) have better attainment at GCSE in maths and English for pupils versus those in schools that maintain the status quo?
IOE (UCL) Research Ethics Committee, 25/11/2016, Data Protection registration: Z6364106/2016/11/69
Multicentre stratified cluster randomised controlled trial plus an integral process evaluation
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details to request a patient information sheet
The use of research evidence in secondary school teaching
Forty secondary schools in the UK will be recruited to participate - 20 will be randomised to receive the intervention and 20 to carry on with usual practice.
The intervention consists of a programme of training, led by Huntington School and University of Durham, will be delivered to one senior teacher (designated as the Research Lead) per intervention school. The training will initially incorporate eight half-termly training conferences to support senior teachers nominated to represent their schools as ‘research leads’. The training will cover aspects of the research cycle including for instance, methods for evaluating and accessing relevant research evidence.
Following the training programme, Research Leads will work with teachers in their English and maths departments in their school to identify a critical area of need for development to improve attainment. They will identify an appropriate evidence-based intervention to address this need. The length and type of intervention will not be prescribed by the RISE intervention team, it will be locally determined, but they will suggest that it should have the potential to impact on the year 9s and 10s especially. Additionally they will encourage the intervention to be one that can be evaluated by the school. Implemention of this local intervention should start early in the 2015/16 school year. More than one intervention may be undertaken by the school, with the expectation that interventions will be implemented in the 2016/17 school year as well. In between training sessions, and beyond, support will be provided through a secure website; through four annual support meetings; and through two summer conferences where maths and English teachers will also be invited to attend.
In control schools, the intervention will be 'business as usual'
Primary outcome measure
Attainment scores on GCSE exams, conducted when children are aged 15-16 at 18 months after the intervention began (June 2016) for cohort 1, and 30 months post intervention for cohort 2 (June 2017). The outcome measure will be a combined score made up of the pupil’s English language GCSE score plus their maths GCSE score. In the new GCSE scoring system, this will be a score of 0-9 for each of the two domains. GCSE grades will be obtained from the UK's National Pupil Database. A proxy baseline is being used - the young people's KS2 SATS - English and Maths - attainment scores, conducted when children are aged 11-12.
Secondary outcome measures
A measure of teachers' research knowledge and use, taken from the NfER-developed 'Research Use' survey. This online survey will be circulated for self completion to all English, Maths teachers and senior leaders in participating schools in October 2014 (baseline) and 30 months post intervention (June 2017)
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
In this cluster trial, the 'participant' is a UK secondary school that is willing to release a senior teacher for 8 days of training on evidence use. Within each school, teachers within the English and Maths departments and senior leadership team provide data, as well as the use of assessment data from two cohorts of GCSE students.
Target number of participants
40 UK secondary schools; reflecting outcomes from approximately 650 teachers and 16000 pupils).
Participant exclusion criteria
Secondary schools who are unwilling to release a senior teacher for training
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
Education Endowment Foundation
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
Trusts, charities, foundations (both publically funded and privately funded)
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
A study report will be published by the funders on the EEF website in the Autumn of 2018. Subsequent academic articles will be published.
IPD sharing statement
Data will be stored in the EEF data archive, created specifically for education trial data in the UK. Anonymised pupil attainment data as well as anonymised teacher research use data will be deposited in the archive, as will files and project documentation. The data will be available to the funders of the research (EEF) for longitudinal analysis, and to small grantees who apply to do secondary analyses. Parents provided opt out consent for the archiving of this anonymised pupil attainment data. Teachers provided opt-in consent when taking part in the survey for this archiving.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Stored in repository
Basic results (scientific)