In the April 2019 Easter holiday, teachers visited Aalborg to look at outdoor learning in Denmark. The Educational Visit was funded by Erasmus +.

In the February 2019 half term, teachers visited Berlin to look at inclusion in Germany. The Educational Visit was funded by Erasmus +.

In the April 2018 Easter holiday, teachers visited Elblag to look at narrowing the attainment gap in Poland.

In the May 2016 half term teachers visited Palma and Reggio Emilia, the home of Montessori schooling, to look at Early Childhood Education in Italy.

In October 2015 a number of teachers and leaders visited Sweden and Finland respectively to learn about pre-school education and the Leadership & Management of schools. These Educational Visits were funded by Erasmus +.

Erasmus + supports the implementation of the European policy agenda for growth, jobs, equity and social inclusion.

Europe needs more cohesive and inclusive societies, which allow citizens to play an active role in democratic life. Erasmus+ is an important instrument to promote the inclusion of people with disadvantaged backgrounds.

Well-performing education and training systems help to tackle challenges by providing people with the skills required by the labour market and the economy, while allowing them to play an active role in society and achieve personal fulfilment. Reforms in education strengthen progress towards these goals, on the basis of a shared vision between erasmus+logo1policy makers and stakeholders, sound evidence and cooperation across different fields and levels.

Our visit evaluations are available to read above.

Erasmus + Educational Visits to Denmark, Berlin, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Poland


BERA Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research

A summary of the BERA Ethical Guidelines has been developed to aid staff with various aspects of educational research. The summary can be downloaded here. Please note that the full BERA Guidelines can be accessed from within this document.

Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research 2011– A Summary

Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research - Full Guidelines

Wickford TSA, Billericay & Thurrock held a joint event celebrating success at KS2.

 80 teachers spent the afternoon of Friday 18th November discussing successful strategies.

The Powerpoints can be downloaded here

Leader in Me Programme Teachers chatting

In January, nine teachers embarked on a 7-month programme to develop their leadership capability. The programme comprises 6 face to face modules on topics as diverse as coaching, crucial conversations and personal productivity.  Initially individuals completed the Myers Briggs Type Indicator – a questionnaire designed to assess their strengths and provide a framework for understanding why people behave differently. As well as the workshop, participants benefit from 2 individual coaching sessions and an opportunity to network with and learn from their colleagues in other schools.

Stuart Botwright from Hilltop Juniors described the programme as “It’s been a different experience as its been about focusing on ourselves as leaders. It’s not been a programme where you take copious notes, it’s about exploring ourselves, looking inwardly as to how we can improve. I’ve found that it brings out skills that I didn’t know I possessed – and I’m finding are real and practical It’s so helpful having this opportunity at this stage in our careers as we are learning about and practicing all the sorts of things we are experiencing in our roles on a frequent basis”

Margaret AllenMEA Logo

Essex conference on Pupil Premium

Wickford Teaching School Alliance was approached to contribute to a recent Essex conference on Pupil Premium Grant families. Staff from Wickford Church of England Pre-School, Little Ted's, and Briscoe's The Orchard wrote Case Studies about how their pre-school provision had supported families from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Head of School from Stambridge then shared this work at a conference with over 350 delegates.

Case Study for Disadvantaged Parents

Case Study- Little Teds

Using lesson study to improve teaching and learning in mathematics

The term ‘lesson study’ carries a number of different guises, ranging from shared planning and teaching, through to formal ‘public research lessons’.

Formal lesson study (not necessarily public) is arguably the most powerful,  and exciting form of professional development available because: 

  • The focus is entirely on learning (rather than teaching) and how decisions we make in planning for learning impact on the outcome for learners
  • Teachers are empowered to reflect on and review planning in the light of input from colleagues
  • Shared observations of learning followed by analytical reflections on learning build cohesion in approach, structures and curriculum across all year groups
  • All staff have a shared ownership in applying learning to improve outcomes for pupils

A lesson study cycle can typically include:

  • A meeting to decide on the research theme or topic for the lesson. (for example, enabling learners to articulate their thinking, engagement, the use of models and images to support learning)
  • A planning team is identified. Members meet with an external advisor discuss ideas for designing a lesson to address that theme. They also read around the topic
  • A meeting of the planning group to identify misconceptions and key issues, plan unit of work and decide on and outline for the research lesson and focus (schools may prefer to just design a one-off lesson as a research lesson)
  • A meeting with the external advisor to review plan and reflect on possible eventualities and outcomes
  • Plan finalised by the planning team
  • The research lesson is delivered by a member of the planning team and is observed by all staff. It is preceded by a briefing session (34 minutes), and followed by a post lesson discussion (60-90 minutes)

The outcomes are wide-ranging and include:

  • Improved cohesion in teaching approaches
  • Stronger subject knowledge and pedagogical understanding in mathematics
  • Greater levels of motivation, ownership and confidence of teachers
  • Improved teaching, leading to improved pupil outcomes

    Janine Blinko

Child working on taskWickford Infant School and Hilltop Infant School  lesson study report

For the first round of lesson study, staff from Wickford Infant School and Hilltop Infant School focussed on Year 1 children developing a conceptual understanding around calculating using a number line. We wanted to bridge the gap between the practical, concrete work on addition children learn in EYFS and the abstract concept of addition on a number line. To do this we worked on children becoming a part of the number line. We used carpet tiles to create number tracks with children jumping along them, moving to self-created chalk number lines and then invisible number lines where children were internalising the process. Following this process, many children were able to create their own empty number line jottings based on the practical jumping and actually bypassed using a filled in number line at their desk.

During the observed lesson, staff were asked to focus on whether children were developing a conceptual understanding, were able to reason mathematically and whether they could solve problems and apply previous learning.

We have just begun the second round focussing on developing systematic thinking in Year 2 children to help them with problem solving and reasoning skills.

Digit task


Other useful Research & Development links

Below are links to other useful areas of research and development supported by Wickford Teaching School Alliance.

Peta Ullmann's Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Toolkit

10 tips for successful school-led research projects

BERA Annual Conference

In September, the results of a survey investigating the experiences of LGBTQI teachers were presented at the BERA Annual Conference. An anonymous online survey was devised inviting LGBTQI teachers in the UK to respond to questions about their engagement with the school community. Within these questions, the researchers sought to find out whether the experiences of LGBTQI teachers differed depending on whether they taught:

  • in a rural, urban or suburban school,
  • in Primary or Secondary Education

Researchers also considered whether those teaching during UK Clause 28 of the Local Government Act (1988-2003) were more guarded than those entering teaching after its repeal in 2003. The results can be viewed here.

Wickford TSA logo

Research and Development

Wickford Teaching School Alliance

Driving a school-led system