How our research will help you
The NIoT is researching what works best in teacher and leader development. As soon as we have evidence showing practical ways to improve training or professional development, we will use that evidence to inform the programmes we offer. We will also communicate it to schools and providers across the sector, so that they can use it, too.
How our research will help your students
Our research will be fed back into schools, because we want teachers and leaders, no matter where they work, to receive the best professional development possible – ensuring that their students receive the best education possible.
The cutting edge of educational research
We will build on international standards of best practice in research production and communication. But we will also be sector-led. We will consult with teachers and leaders, and use our research in a transparent and accessible way to inform best practice.
"We want teachers and leaders to design our learning agenda. Then we will design our research so that it answers precisely the questions they most care about." Hear more from our Executive Director of Research and Best Practice, Calum Davey.
The NIoT research team is currently engaged in projects, which will produce evidence that will directly inform the teacher-training and professional-development programmes we offer, and which we will communicate to schools and providers across the sector.
Teacher recruitment and retention in schools in socio-economically disadvantaged areas in England: A review of practice
There are currently significant challenges in teacher recruitment and retention in England, with schools serving disadvantaged communities in particular facing even greater challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers.
Recent research has pointed to the gravity of the issue of teacher shortage and its negative impact on disadvantaged schools, especially on education quality. To better understand the strategies employed by English schools in socio-economically disadvantaged areas to support teacher recruitment and retention, the NIoT, with support from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), is conducting a review of practice across a large sample of schools serving disadvantaged areas in England.
The research includes two phases:
1) Desk-based review and analysis of school job advertisements in 55 EIAs (Education Investment Areas);
2) Survey issued to staff in our four founding Multi-Academy Trusts and Associate Colleges located within EIAs.
The findings from this review will help us to build a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of recruitment and retention strategies in disadvantaged areas and indicate which of these strategies are perceived by teachers as most effective.
This review of practice aims to answer the following research questions:
1) What are the teacher recruitment and retention strategies used in primary and secondary schools in England in socio-economically challenging areas?
2) What is the perceived importance of these strategies?
Mentoring and coaching trainee and early career teachers
All trainee and early-career teachers have mentors. Under the new Early Career Framework, these mentors play a more important role than ever. But the way mentors are chosen and the support they offer varies widely – there is considerable ambiguity about what good mentoring actually involves.
For example, we know that many schools are struggling to identify appropriate mentors and to provide them with sufficient time and support. Within this context there is a need for more guidance.
Our research on teacher mentoring explores how mentoring programmes can best deliver the outcomes we care about – teacher wellbeing, retention, improved teaching practice and pupil attainment. It's also informed by research with current teachers, and by an expert panel including teaching leaders. We will put its findings into practice in our own mentoring programmes and then communicate them to the wider sector.
- To identify what research is promising and where there are gaps in the evidence, in order to inform the commissioning of new research into teacher mentoring and coaching
- To inform a set of recommendations for schools and teacher-development providers on effective practice in novice and early-career teacher mentoring and coaching
- Cat Scutt, MBE, Chartered College of Teaching
- Dr Sam Sims, UCL Institute of Education
- Professor Tanya Ovenden-Hope, Plymouth Marjon University
- Dr Dan Goldhaber, American Institutes for Research
- Natasha Raheem, Dixons Academies Trust
- Sharon Harrison, Star Academies
- Professor Sam Twiselton, OBE, Sheffield Hallam University
Intensive practice: new research
Providing high-quality opportunities for trainee teachers to practise is one of the essential building blocks of great teacher training. Practice can help trainees refine their skill and deepen their understanding of the relationship between educational theory and its application in the classroom.
There is promising evidence that increasing the amount of high-quality practice that trainees undertake within initial teacher training can improve outcomes for teachers and their pupils.
This project aims to help initial teacher training providers design and deliver effective intensive training and practice, by documenting the planning and piloting process of four initial teacher training providers working in different contexts.
- Inform providers’ decision-making about the design and delivery of intensive practice during initial teacher training
- Identify barriers and solutions to support the successful delivery of intensive practice
- Inform future research about intensive practice, conducted both within the NIoT and by other organisations
Closer to the classroom: Teacher’ professional development research priorities
We ran a consultation to understand what questions about teacher education and professional development teachers and leaders want answered. We listened to teachers, school leaders, education researchers, policy maker and teacher trainers and, from over two thousand responses, these are the professional development priorities that emerged.
National Institute of Teaching: Our research agenda (2024-2027)
The National Institute of Teaching’s Inaugral Research Agenda outlines the eight topics we will prioritise when conducting research over the next three years. This school-led research agenda was derived from the consultation with the sector that we published in our Closer to the Classroom report (2023).
Protocol for a meta-review in teacher education and professional development
Educational research is an ever-expanding field, requiring evidence to be collated and synthesised, providing up-to-date and relevant information to researchers, educators, and policy makers. In the field of teacher education and professional development, such secondary reviews can lead to evidence-based reform, with the potential to improve educational outcomes.
However, as the number of evidence synthesis papers increase, so does the risk of ‘research waste’ where multiple reviews are conducted on overlapping or similar topics. The National Institute of Teaching plans to carry out a ‘meta-review’, combining and evaluating secondary reviews on teacher education and professional development, allowing policy makers and educators to consider all the available evidence from around the world.
The meta-review will address the following research questions:
- What topics and sub-topics in initial teacher education and in-service professional development have been reviewed?
- What is the demographic distribution of participants (e.g., educational settings, countries/regions, subject/phase) in these reviews?
- What kinds of evidence syntheses have been used?
- What programmes or interventions are employed in initial teacher education and in-service professional development?
- What are the key reported findings in these topics and sub-topics?
- What is the quality of the synthesised evidence?
In addition to the meta-review, the project will deliver:
- A ‘living library’ of key literature in teacher education
- An evidence ‘gap map’ for researchers and funders to review existing evidence and identify areas where further research is necessary
- An interactive evidence toolkit, likely to include multimedia resources for teachers and teacher educators to use such as infographics, videos, interviews, podcasts.