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20 August 2020
By Andrew Woods

The EEFective Kent Project: Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)

There are certain bodies and organisations that are heavyweights when it comes to helping shape and improve education provision. The Education Endowment Foundation is one the biggest. They collect and evaluate a vast body of research (meta-meta studies) and collect it together into summaries that can be easily read, reflected upon and implemented in schools. One of their most well-known is their Teaching and Learning Toolkit which provides a summary of the most effective strategies within education.

I have dipped into their pool of knowledge countless times and every time appreciated their empirical nature to summarising complicated topics with clear recommendations. I’ve found this helps prioritise change since they attempt to quantify effect size of various initiatives. I’ve always like their method of evaluating success in months of additional learning compared to carefully constructed control group. It is this language of additional learning that is very persuading when we are seeking school improvement.

Ideas of How to Use a Guidance Report

EEF Guidance reports can be easily used as an opportunity to reflect on the quality of education within your own teaching or your team. One very simple way is using the 8 Improving Mathematics Recommendations you can RAG rate each of the recommendations and clarify targets for improvements. This might even form part of a department plan or professional development tool.

What's On Offer

Why am I drawing your attention to the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)? Well an exciting opportunity of partnering with the EEF has arisen, as they have teamed up with Kent County Council (KCC) to create a new joint funding pot worth £600,000 for Kent schools to access and bring evidence-based programmes to the county.

KCC funded schools are invited to apply for 50% match-funding towards implementing a Promising Project. You can find out which of these are on offer in their Prospectus.

Applications are open, so make sure to take a look at the Promising Projects on offer to see what might suit the needs of your school most. All projects have been shown to boost attainment by at least 2 months, with their confidence coming from the methodology and data collection that helps support these ascertains. It is certainly worth investigating if this might work within your school.

Applications deadline is 5pm on Monday 26 October 2020. Further details about applying can be found here.

Why This Is a Great Opportunity

Put simply, carrying out researched informed practice is going to improve outcomes for students. The EFF, and partners leading the projects, will support you in the implementation and funding. Lots of initiatives are trailed in schools and often these may fade because of a lack of conviction or sustainability. The promising projects, due to their tried and tested credibility, give staff confidence for success and help focus on improvement in the right places. This often can help see a project through to completion and enable reflection for how to embed any positive practice for long term sustainability.

How to Implement

Schools may want to consider writing an action plan detailing what the implementation of these ideas might look like in the context of their school. Implementation requires careful planning and preparation. Ultimately, it does not matter how great an educational idea or intervention is in principle; what really matters is how it manifests itself in the day–to–day work in schools.

Prior to actioning any plan, if the preparation and planning has not been through enough, then this can result in a poor execution of the plan and the original gains hoped for will not materialise. Implementing a new programme or practice is a major commitment. The implementation guidance provided by the EEF can provide a helpful framework to work through in approaching any changes considered. See the main points below.

  1. Implementation is a process, not an event; plan and execute in stages.
  2. Create a leadership environment and school climate that is conducive to good implementation.
  3. Define the problem you want to solve and identify appropriate programmes or practice to implement.
  4. Create a leadership implementation plan. Judge the readiness of the school to deliver that plan, then prepare staff and resources.
  5. Support staff, monitor progress, solve problems, and adapt strategies as the approach is used for the first time.
  6. Plan for sustaining and scaling an intervention from the outset and continuously acknowledge and nurture its use.