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Sussex and local schools launch new research network

The Department of Education at the University of Sussex has created a new and innovative partnership with eight local schools.

Education Research NetworkLaunched on 9 July, the Sussex Research Network: Schools-University Partnership will engage schools in researching their own practice, learn from research, and engage 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.  

The eight schools involved are

  • Millais School - Horsham,
  • Helenswood Academy – St.Leonard’s-on-Sea,
  • St Richard’s Catholic College – Bexhill,
  • The Bishop Bell Church of England School – Eastbourne,
  • Roedean School - Brighton,
  • Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) - Brighton,
  • St Pauls Catholic College - Burgess Hill,
  • and Imberhorne School – East Grinstead.

The Sussex team includes Professor Gillian Hampden-Thompson, Professor Colleen McLaughlin (Head of the Department of Education), Professor Brian Hudson (Head of the School of Education and Social Work), Dr Simon Thompson (Director of Initial Teacher Education), Dr Andy Chandler-Grevatt, Dr Julia Sutherland, Dr Barbara Crossouard and Robert Rosenthal.

A core network from both Sussex and the schools will direct research, with Department faculty additionally helping to develop the research capacity of each school - through a bespoke Masters course and the provision of a ‘critical friend’ to build a research culture.

Professor Colleen McLaughlin, Head of the Department of Education at the University of Sussex and leader of the partnership, said: “This form of partnership is a central plank in building worthwhile education. Working together in this way is an exciting and natural development of good links between schools and the Department. I am sure we will be the model for new forms of working in education.”

Professor Brian Hudson, Head of the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sussex, said: This approach is one for which Professor McLaughlin has been internationally recognised in her previous role at her former institution.

"The focus on the development of research leadership capacity in local schools is a very important and distinctive aspect of the research impact strategy of the Department of Education and is one which holds great promise for the future.”

For further information, contact Robert Rosenthal: E r.d.rosenthal@sussex.ac.uk