Informing schools; informing our programmes

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.

Research projects

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.

Research aims

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?

Study plan

Project team:
Professor Sin Wang Chong, Head of Evidence Synthesis, NIoT Dr Melissa Bond, Research Fellow, NIoT Dr Violeta Negrea, Research Fellow, NIoT Dr Emily Oxley, Research Fellow, NIoT Qi Liu, Research Assistant, NIoT Ming Sum Kong, Research Assistant, NIoT Jack Worth, Lead Economist, NFER
Phase 1 & 2: June-August 2023 Preliminary findings and report: November 2023
In progress

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.

Research Aims

  • 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

Expert panel

  • 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

Read the published reports here

Project team:
Professor Andrew Hobson (University of Brighton)Professor Emerita Bronwen Maxwell (Sheffield Hallam University)Catherine Manning (Education and Training Foundation)Professor Becky Allen (Teacher Tapp)Jennifer Stevenson, independent (3ie senior research fellow)Dr Zsolt Kiss (ZK Analytics)Dr Clara Joergensen (University of Birmingham)

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.

Research Aims

  • 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

Evaluation Plan

Intensive Training and Practice Pilot Evaluation Report

Intensive Training and Practice Pilot Evaluation Summary Report

Project team:
Project Director and Team Lead: Lydia Marshall (Oxford MeasurEd)
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