Manley Park Primary School is a forward thinking school with reflective practitioners. At the heart of our school ethos we are continually striving to improve the learning experiences for our children. We are open to new pedagogical approaches and relish the opportunity to talk about latest research and how this relates to our own setting.
In past years we have made significant changes to the school in light of the research we have accessed or carried out ourselves. Examples of this include: a £250,000 re design of the school grounds to ensure that memorable outdoor learning experiences became an integral part of the school week for our children and staff, embedded whole school AFL practices that have enhanced the ability of children to see themselves as powerful learners in control of their own learning journeys, technological enquiry to find evidence for the impact of ipad provision on children’s achievement and attainment and Forest School sessions are delivered on site by our own qualified Forest School practitioner.
At Manley Park in collaboration with the University of Manchester we have carried out some research into various topics that we as a school have been working in. These posters are below:
Action Research in Maths – Reflective Inquiry
Manley Park Primary school has embarked on a research program aiming to develop reflective practitioners who can raise pupil achievement and attainment by moving beyond quality first teaching for those pupils who are underachieving. The program has been designed and researched by BFET.
Action research is a process in which teachers and leaders will examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research. The process provides the opportunity to work with others and to learn from the sharing of findings. We aim to promote personal and professional growth and improve practice to enhance student learning.
This innovative approach to developing teaching & learning is embedded in the principles of establishing a culture where there is a strong focus on the quality of professional dialogue. It is truly transformative in that it will develop teachers into reflective practitioners who will encourage discussion and debate around pedagogy and subject development. Through the application of coaching principles and a climate of trust, openness, honesty and challenge we hope to raise the academic achievement and attainment of pupils through the development of the best possible practice embedded in a rigorous and robust Action Research approach.
We hope to build a professional environment where teachers can discuss their areas for development openly and a true community of enquiry is established. The first year of this program will focus on maths. The learning generated will be shared and developed across 3 Primary Schools as well as reporting regularly to the Teaching School Alliance. We will be supported by Manchester University and the Coalition of Research Schools. At the end of year 1 the process will be reviewed and outcomes shared.
Closing the Gap – Test and Learn
Manley Park is also leading alliance schools in a research project with NCSL, Curee & Durham University. Closing the Gap – Test and Learn is designed to carry out Random controlled Trials to find out exactly which interventions are effective in raising attainment and why. The 4 schools that MPPS will lead will access training on the interventions, collate data and reflect on the findings together with other schools in the trials. This is a Nation Wide piece of research which involves hundreds of schools and approximately 30,000 pupils. We are really excited to be involved and to be in a position to engage in high quality dialogue with the institutes leading the research.
In addition Manley Park has invested in training a member of staff to set up ‘Forest School’ on a weekly basis at MPPS. There are weekly sessions for a cohort of Year 5 children. The Outdoor Learning leader is working with a researcher from Bradford University and The Coalition of research schools to measure the impact of Outdoor Learning on perception of self, attainment, achievement and E.I. This is to run for a year initially before research findings are reviewed and plans are made for the implications of the outcomes.
Shine on Manchester
The Education Endowment Foundation commissioned Durham University to evaluate the Hallé SHINE on Manchester (HSoM) programme. This evaluation aimed to find out how well the programme worked in improving educational outcomes for the children involved. The research team, led by Professor Carole Torgerson, had designed a study that assessed gains in literacy, numeracy and attitudes towards learning for the children who took part in the programme compared to the children who did not.
SHINE have awarded grants to three hub schools to deliver the HSoM programme to children from the hub schools and their local partner schools. All schools involved (both hub and partner) are required to take part in the evaluation of the programme.
The design of the evaluation required schools to nominate an agreed number of children from both the 2013/14 Year 4 and Year 5 who would be eligible to (and likely to) attend the HSoM programme.
The school ran the HSoM programme from November 2013 to July 2014. During that time the Durham University researchers observed some sessions and talked to stakeholders including children, parents and staff regarding the programme to learn about how the programme is perceived and whether any improvements could be made. We worked closely with the university to support with the research.
iPads are a constant feature at Manley Park. Children access the internet from their tables, make movies to aid learning and share ideas through Google Drive and via email, all on mobile devices from anywhere in the school, both outside and inside. We've found that the children's engagement in learning has risen dramatically, especially with respect to writing. But we want to do more.
While iPads have unquestionably had a profound and positive impact on the children's learning and attainment, we are most interested in creating a transformational learning experience, rather that simply 'wowing' children the latest tablet technology. So we're engaged in a programme of research and development, in which we gather the best ideas and the best practice from within our school and from the wealth of thinking and development that is happening around the world. We are using these ideas to move the practice of pedagogy forward, through the use of mobile learning.