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Evidence Leads in Education

A network of highly-skilled practitioners supporting a vibrant and connected community of research informed educators.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, School Teachers

Aimed at

Early Years Foundation Stage, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5, Workforce

Why was the project needed?

Evidence Leads in Education (ELEs) are designated and deployed by Research Schools. ELEs are outstanding teachers, who are middle and senior leaders with the skills to support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools. They understand what outstanding leadership of evidence-informed school improvement looks like and are skilled in helping other leaders to achieve it in their own context.

What happened and what was the impact?

ELEs are deployed in various ways:

  • Training: co-facilitating and co-designing workshops; twilight; half-day; full day; stand alone or as part of wider programmes.
  • Presenting: to leaders and practitioners at conferences, briefings, workshops and meetings.
  • Evaluating: analytical work, survey design, interviewing, after action reviews, writing up reports etc.
  • School improvement: supporting practitioners to design, implement and evaluate projects that are evidence-informed in their classroom or school.
  • Coaching and mentoring leaders and practitioners.
  • Building the evidence-informed community: running reading/​journal groups; professional learning community and networks.
  • Communicating: writing articles, blogs, tweets; creating podcasts or videos.

How did you measure success?

Our ELEs act as a bridge between schools and academic research, bringing evidence research to life. They help schools to understand research and apply and evaluate it by sharing the best available research to put evidence into practice and improve outcomes for all.


Ingredients For Success

The ELE network is coordinated through Ipswich Associate Research School and Unity Research School. As well as being part of the wider Research School Network nationally.

In Ipswich, most of our team of Evidence Leads in Education developed their skills through IOA funded projects, and have first hand experience of leading, monitoring and evaluating an evidence-led programme of change in their school or setting.

All of our ELEs are plugged into the IOA network, so alongside their skills and knowledge of the EEF guidance reports on what works in education, they have a wealth of experience in the range of projects that have taken place in Ipswich as part of the IOA programme.

ELEs can support your practitioners, middle or senior leaders to define an area of development in your school and direct you to research evidence-based guidance on what works. They can support you in putting that research evidence into practice in your context, and connect you to other local schools that have attempted something similar. ELEs can also help with sound planning for effective implementation, and can help you to monitor and evaluate the impact of any projects you are conducting. ELEs can bring tools to support your work, or simply provide professional dialogue and support when you would appreciate fresh eyes on your problem and potential solution.

Any of our ELEs can support work in an evidence lead capacity, and as a team they have a broad understanding of a range of context, phases and subject areas that you may find of interest in choosing support and meeting your needs.

ELE deployment is through Ipswich Associate Research School and Unity Research School  and costing discussed as part of the coordination.

Is the Project Complete or Ongoing

The project is on-going and we expect ELEs to continue to contribute in the area on a long-term basis.

How is the Project Sustainable

The ELE network is coordinated through Ipswich Associate Research School and Unity Research School. As well as being part of the wider Research School Network nationally.

What are the Long Term Impacts

  • Well supported evidence based network.
  • Sharing best practice.
  • Embedding evidence.
  • Working collaboratively to raise attainment.

Next steps to do something similar yourself

These are a list of Big Idea resources that you can use to implement in your setting:

Evidence Leads in Education - Pen Portraits

Unity Research School Website

Research Schools Network Website

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Effective Professional Development here

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Putting Evidence to Work here

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning here

Champions and contacts


Ipswich Associate Research School

Vanessa Bally

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