The Samuel Ward Academy Trust, which has 15 schools across Suffolk, has been given a £200,000 grant and become the first academy school in the East of England and the 11th in the country to be awarded research school status, meaning it will become a focal point for educational research.
As a spokesman for the Trust’s Suffolk Borders Teaching Alliance commented, this is wonderful news not only for students and teachers at the academy but for all the schools in Suffolk, as the designation will give them access to the very best thinking on teaching and learning.
He added that, as well as this, the Trust will be instrumental in sharing good practice across schools in the county, working in partnership with the Teaching Schools and the School-to-School Support Partnership.
His words were echoed by a spokesman for the Trust, who said it will enable the Samuel Ward group, in partnership with others, to stimulate educational innovation in order to raise standards and outcomes.
As he pointed out, many educational initiatives fail to embed because they have not been grounded in research, which has led to educational fads that are unsupported by systematic investigation and analysis. However, the grant will enable the Trust to ground practice in theory that works for all young people.
The first wave of five research schools was announced in October last year in a bid to help schools make the most of teaching assistants, deliver training to support literacy in the early years and host conferences for schools.
These research schools aim to break down the barriers between educational research and classroom teaching, putting teachers “in the driving seat”.