Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR)

Sussex Research Network

The Sussex Research Network: Schools-University Partnership is an innovative partnership between the Department of Education at the University of Sussex and eight local schools.

Launched 9 July 2014, the Sussex Research Network engages schools in researching their own practice, learning from research, and engaging in large-scale research projects with university-based colleagues.

Educational research clearly shows the benefits of schools and universities working together to generate knowledge through research. The British Educational Research Association and Royal Society of Arts report (2014) describes how engaging teachers in researching their own classrooms is a particularly powerful way of improving teaching, learning and pupil attainment.

Building partnerships that integrate research and school improvement are now key in education and are part of the national, local and international agendas. The purpose of the Sussex Research Network is to undertake collaborative research and capacity building to create useful educational knowledge. The spirit of this model is to work together to build the capacity of Teaching School Alliances and of individual schools and academies so that their staff can research their own practice, by training nominated colleagues to become School Research Leaders (SRLs). In addition, we aim to undertake research which generates new knowledge to benefit all schools, as well as meeting the needs of individual institutions. 

Two teacher researchers, or Research Leaders (RL), from each partner school are enrolled in the MA or Postgraduate Certificate courses, which will prepare them to become research leaders in their school and subsequently drive and develop research projects within and across school communities and partnerships. The Sussex Research Network offers schools not only a dedicated route for developing school-driven research agendas, but also helps partners foster and develop the talent of their staff. This will protect the retention of established practitioners and provide possible foundations for promotional opportunities.

The Sussex Research Network will continually create and share a local knowledge base, including reviews of the national and international evidence base in key areas of education, and findings from school-based research, accessible to all members via a website.  In addition, participants will be invited to university meetings and seminars focusing on the most up-to-date research agendas, drawing on inputs from university Faculty and visiting national and international researchers.

Each school partner is supported by a senior member of the university's Faculty, who will act as a critical colleague to the school and participants. The university offers advice on whole-school research, facilitates access to resources and supports the partner through bespoke training, in termly visits.

See press release about launch of the Sussex Research Network.

See details of CPD opportunities for teachers on our Partners website.