Last week, NACE member and Challenge Award holder Holme Grange School hosted the launch of a new regional NACE Research and Development (R&D) Hub. Joanne Hendriksen, Director of Teaching and Learning, shares some of the key benefits valued by members of the hub...

1. Celebrate what is working to inspire future success

The inaugural hub meeting at Holme Grange School afforded participating schools the opportunity to share the abundant examples of best practice associated with supporting our more able learners. All too often this side of evaluation and review is omitted and we focus on what is not working, rather than purposefully acknowledging what is going well. Discussing our journeys as a group led us to the realisation that a great deal has already been achieved, and we must stop and celebrate in order to cultivate a success mindset and inspire future work.

2. School-to-school working across phases, subjects and sectors

This NACE initiative allows schools to share across phases, subjects and sectors of education. The appetite for this type of collaboration was evident at our launch meeting, where the group was formed of primary, prep, secondary and through schools from both the state and independent sectors – a diversity which was particularly apt given the session’s focus on transition. This opportunity of an open and supportive forum allowed delegates to consider their journey towards a long-term, genuine and sustainable approach towards transition across all phases.

3. Sharing evidence-based good practice

Billions of pounds are spent on research each year, but how much of this informs practice in our schools? A positive shift in culture has seen many schools move towards more enquiry-based philosophies, where leaders encourage teachers to see themselves as researchers. The hub launch at Holme Grange School saw participants relish the opportunity to share evidence-based research from work completed in direct association with key educational researchers such as Bill Lucas and John Hattie. It also sparked a desire in many to work collaboratively and move forward with in-house research to explore implications of actions on current practice.

4. Opportunities to shape the future provision for more able learners

The Holme Grange NACE R&D Hub sets out a clear ambition and commitment to continue to serve our more able learners now and in the future. The team involved in the meeting were highly experienced, credible leaders and practitioners who know and understand the educational landscape and the needs of our schools. This group will allow staff in schools, working at ground level, to be at the forefront of evidence-based approaches and discover, first-hand, the results of implementing various interventions. Projects will be guided, tested and evaluated by the group, for the group and for our learners.

5. Impact-focused, long-term collaboration

All too often CPD and INSET are costly, short-term and have very little impact on staff bodies as a whole, on learners and therefore on schools. At our hub launch, practitioners were able to collectively agree on future priorities, in the knowledge that there will be regular opportunities for support, discussion and evaluation. Areas of focus varied greatly and included writing, effective use of technology, and learner awareness of ability. The hub plans to meet regularly and encourages core members to commit to consistent collaboration and communication to gain maximum benefit. The group has also discussed involving learners in the hub, supporting cross-school collaboration between pupils.

About the NACE R&D Hubs

NACE R&D Hubs are open to all NACE member schools, offering regional opportunities to share effective practice for more able learners and to collaborate on action research projects in this field. To date, four NACE R&D Hubs have been launched, all hosted by NACE Challenge Award-accredited schools: Barry Island Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan, Haybridge High School and Sixth Form in Worcestershire, Portswood Primary School in Hampshire, and Holme Grange School in Berkshire.

To find out more or to join your nearest hub, get in touch.

Joanne Hendriksen is the Director of Teaching and Learning and a member of the science department at Holme Grange School, Wokingham, which successfully gained NACE Challenge Award re-accreditation in 2018. Joanne leads on action research within the school, supporting and developing staff as a dedicated research team. Joanne also features as a speaker for the new three-day course for NACE members, Leading for more able learners: policy and practice
Monday, November 26, 2018