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Research & Development

“Teachers are working in the most effective, informed way to provide the best possible education for children and young people now, and in the future.” The Chartered College of Teaching vision

Research sits at the heart of effective professional learning and development for teachers and school leaders. CTSA is committed to providing access to the latest research through its collaborative work, funded projects and CPD programme. CTSA currently funds membership of The Chartered College for Teaching for key staff in Alliance Schools to enable them to lead research and innovation in their schools, and on behalf of their partner schools. We regularly bid for national funding, where it is available, to support research and development. We are currently in receipt of funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Sport England.

Current projects

School readiness through musicianship : Chelmsford Teaching Schools Alliance in partnership with Essex Music Services and London Music Masters. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Teacher Development Fund

This 2 year funded project is researching and developing the use of music to improve school ‘readiness’ by targeting improvement in PSED and CLD in the Early Years. The EYFS framework forms the basis of a child’s learning throughout their primary school career. Schools are increasingly reporting that children are starting school without the skills necessary to thrive and learn.

There is significant and growing evidence suggesting that engagement in music can positively impact on a child’s personal, social, emotional and intellectual development. Engagement in music, therefore, provides a vehicle through which a child’s readiness to learn in a social school setting might be addressed.

This project will focus on the development of the EYFS framework Prime areas of Learning and Development: Personal, Social & Emotional Development and Communication and Language Development with additional benefits in Expressive Arts & Design. It will also develop teacher skills in using music to develop key skills such as self-confidence, collaboration, turn taking, listening and attention as a foundation on which to build successful learning throughout the curriculum. Teachers will have the unique opportunity to work extensively alongside music specialist tutors in their own classrooms. The project will formally report in July 2021.

Promoting participation and inclusion in PE, Sports and Physical Activity – secondary phase.

6 CTSA member secondary schools are now engaged with a Sport England Secondary Teacher Training fund project focused on developing inclusion and participation in PE, Sports and Physical Activity. This supports Sport England’s mission of creating a more active nation, as well having links to promoting emotional health and wellbeing.

The schools are now involved in detailed planning for individual projects that will run from September, for a year. The schools have access to online student and staff survey tools to inform the focus for these projects, and to date this has provided access to the views of well over 1000 students and 80 staff. Focused areas identified include promoting participation and developing confidence for girls in Years 7 and 8, developing inclusive participation for SEND students and using physical activity to tackle potential exam stress in KS4.

The Project Leads will be meeting termly to share and explore their emerging findings, and the final outcomes will be published in the summer of 2021.


CTSA Research bursaries

In the summer term 2019 Alliance schools were given the opportunity to bid for funding to carry out focused research and development projects on behalf of partner schools.

Two triads of primary phase schools are currently engaged in projects focusing on practical strategies to develop emotional wellbeing and positive mental health.

The outcomes of this research will be made available to all member schools later this year, to support the development of evidence-informed practice and innovation. Watch our latest news for more information.

Recent projects

Developing the Mantle of the Expert approach

As a whole school pedagogy, 9 CTSA schools are currently engaged in an exciting year long CTSA funded project to develop Mantle of the Expert as a whole school approach. Working with Luke Abbott, renowned international MoE expert, participant schools are engaging in joint training days and in-school side-by-side teaching and observation sessions in smaller ‘triad’ groupings. The year long programme will culminate in a final conference to be held on 4 July 2019, where participant schools will showcase their practice. The Alliance will then have access to a unique and rich group of expert practitioners who will be able to support a wider network of schools and teachers.

Creating Real Writers and Mathematicians

Who are real writers and real mathematicians and what do they do? What are the ‘tools’ and core skills that writers and mathematicians routinely use? How can we deepen thinking in writing and maths? How can we apply this understanding to raising attainment for our learners, enabling them to flourish as writers and mathematicians? These core questions are the focus for the 7 Alliance schools currently engaged in a year-long professional learning, research and development programme funded by CTSA. Each school will carry out focused research using the Lesson Study model, with the outcomes being shared across CTSA via a presentation day in July 2019.

Previous projects

Supporting Schools to Improve outcomes for Children in Care ‘Closing the Gap: Test and Learn’ – a CUREE funded research project led by Natalie Hawkes, Alliance SLE and Head of School at Newlands Spring Primary School.

Practising Philosophy – Researching how Peer Assisted Learning in a Virtual Learning Environment can impact on Critical Thinking. Led by Gemma Woolley, Alliance SLE and Head of Humanities at Chelmer Valley High School.

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Tracy Goodway - 01245 442031

Chelmsford Teaching Schools Alliance
Newlands Spring Primary School
Dickens Place
Newlands Spring
Essex CM1 4UU

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