Developing Best Practice in the Early Years: Practical Pedagogy, Research and Leadership

During the year, the participants led evidence-informed projects in their own schools and used research to inform the changes to implement. Participants attended eight sessions where key research and leaderships approaches were shared. Each session also included an ethnographic research element, where teachers immersed themselves in the setting, made observations and supported each others’ development through ‘critical friend’ feedback. Each of these visits were then followed up with a ‘Specialist Leader in Education’ (SLE) visit to support the teachers in analysing the feedback and using it to inform their next steps.

In the final session, teachers reflected on their projects and wrote up evaluations to share their learning through the network website.

Evaluation forms completed by the participants demonstrate the increased confidence teachers have in implementing the EYFS curriculum. They report significant learning outcomes as a direct result of their involvement in the network:

  • Cranbrook Primary School have significantly reduced the gap in writing attainment between boys and girls, with boys outperforming girls in the exceeding category.
  • Gilbert Colvin Primary School saw a 22% increase in the percentage of Nursery children reaching the end of year expectations in Communication and Language.
  • A class in Highlands Primary School saw a 20% increase in the number of children achieving exceeding outcome in moving and handling with 11% of children making accelerated progress in this area.
  • Children at Highlands Primary school saw a significant increase in the number of children achieving exceeding outcomes in Communication and Language and Literacy as a result of increased adult interactions in the outdoor area.
  • One class at Gearies Primary School saw 94% of children achieving at or above the expected levels in Communication and Language. An increased focus in Self regulation in another class, resulted in 100% of children achieving the ELG for Understanding, 94% achieving the ELG for Self-Confidence and Self Awareness and 97% achieving the ELG for Being Imaginative.

Gearies - nursery in the playground