One of the characteristics of effective schools is how they put new approaches into practice. Research suggests that this implementation can have an impact on school practices and pupils’ learning outcomes. However, implementation of any school-based intervention cannot be seen as a linear process from adoption to outcome. Schools are complex ecological systems, so understanding implementation in schools needs to focus on context, barriers and enablers as well as the specifics of the implementation process.
Aims and objectives
The project aims to develop a rich understanding of effective implementation in schools in England, integrating the best available international research evidence with insights on current implementation practices in schools. It aims to address two overarching questions:
- How should school leaders and teachers understand and implement evidence-informed approaches in their context in order to have the best chance of improving all pupils’ outcomes?
- What is the relationship between context (‘what’) and process (‘how’) within school implementation?
The project combines reviewing existing evidence with primary research with schools. We will:
- Systematically locate and select evidence from the field of school implementation and implementation science more broadly to inform a theory of change for how implementation in schools will improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.
- Conduct primary research with schools in England (survey and interviews) to investigate how they understand and conduct implementation practices.
- Identify and map studies and reviews that are relevant to implementation in education, including research on:
- Factors that influence school implementation
- The impact of those factors on implementation outcomes, school/teacher practices and pupil outcomes
- Interventions that aim to improve implementation in schools
- Undertake a systematic review on a particular area of school implementation research (to be agreed with the Education Endowment Foundation).
We will produce a final report that will be used by the Education Endowment Foundation to inform an update to its guidance report, Putting Evidence to Work: A School’s Guide to Implementation (PDF, 5.04MB).
Dr Darren Moore, Project Lead & Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter
Simon Benham-Clarke, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Exeter
Hayley Gains, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Exeter
Dr Jenny Lloyd, Senior Lecturer in Public Health Research, University of Exeter
Professor Dave Hall, Professor of Education, University of Exeter
Professor G.J. Melendez-Torres, Professor of Clinical and Social Epidemiology & Associate Dean for Global, University of Exeter
Rachel Proctor, Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of Exeter
Dr Jemma Hawkins, Senior Lecturer, University of Cardiff