Research and development

Teaching Schools’ role in research and development (R&D) is about identifying best practice and developing new ideas. The idea is that outstanding schools should identify what works in their schools and share this with others, to help the education system develop. It is about capturing what we do well and disseminating this to others, as well as trying out new ideas to improve provision for children and tackle school improvement priorities.

At Belleville it is important to us that our research work is not separate from our core focus, therefore first and foremost our R&D activity is concerned with ensuring excellent pedagogy.

Our research approach:

Involves all staff: All Belleville staff are encouraged to get involved with research activity and we have engaged an experienced education professor (Professor Michael Gibson, formerly Head of Education at Kingston University) to support them. Staff members are currently working on a variety of research projects on a wide range of topics. Read our staff research papers and find out about our current research projects.
Is outward facing: We look beyond our school to keep abreast of national and international research and practice. We have a well stocked library of education and leadership books, which staff and friends are encouraged to borrow. We visit and learn from other schools and welcome visitors to Belleville. We are part of school networks including the Teaching School network and Challenge Partners. Much of our R&D work draws on learning from our international network - we have strong links with schools and organisations in other counties including Singapore, the USA and Ghana. During 2012-13, planned staff visits include the USA, China, Ghana, Finland, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton and numerous London schools. All staff are expected to visit at least one other school each year. 
Uses the concept of Self Selected Groups (SSGs): We often use the principle of self-selection in our Teaching School activity. This means working with those (individuals or schools) who are interested in engaging with particular projects and are committed to ensuring the activity is meaningful, impactful and sustainable.
Uses Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): At Belleville we have used Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for some time. The idea is that a group of teachers or leaders work together as a learning community, to explore an area of common interest, often leading to the development of new ideas and practice. We have created numerous PLCs, for example:
• we facilitate internal staff PLCs at all levels
• we have brought together heads of different schools to explore teaching and learning policy, teaching and leadership of English and “what makes great pedagogy”;
• we have facilitated PLCs of Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 teachers from half a dozen schools, to come together to develop ideas around the teaching of writing;
• we created a pan-London PLC, inviting some of the most outstanding primary schools in London to meet up and discuss their different approaches to planning, teaching and assessment;
• we have included a PLC element in our new School Direct teacher training programme.

Further information

If you would like to know more about our research and development work please contact Lesley Dibbens, Teaching School administrator, at