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professional development of staff

Sussex Research Network

The Sussex Research Network is a new network organised by Sussex University. The partnership between Sussex University and schools is intended to promote the creation, use and dissemination of knowledge and research within the network. 

The partnership consists of a new MA in Education (Research Leaders pathway) programme which two members of staff from a seven schools in Sussex are taking part in. 

Four teachers from within the Millais Alliance are taking part in the programme which started in Autumn 2014. 

The programme is part of the growing national momentum behind developing research capacity within schools and in particular into practitioner research. At the end of the programme it is intended that the new Research Leaders within in school will be able to:

  • Facilitate and lead teacher research and enquiry
  • Develop the capacity to lead colleagues in research
  • Understand teacher learning and collaboration

Helen Sykes is one of the Research Leaders from Millais School below is her reflection on how the programme is going so far.

I started the part time MA Ed Research Leader’s course at the University of Sussex in October this year and I am finding it the most rewarding learning experience that I have had since qualifying as a teacher some twenty years ago!

I attend sessions on educational theory and practise and research methods at the University twice a month, and benefit from having a ‘critical friend’ in Colleen McLaughlin, a leading light in current educational research. Her role is to be a sounding board for my reflection on my teaching and also for planning for the school research project. Speaking with her helps me to formulate my views on my teaching and the research project and she also supports me by suggesting reading in journals and articles.

Working this way has been a refreshing and very enriching experience and it has opened my mind to the infinite possibilities and methods for improving my own practise and therefore the experiences of the students in the school too. At the same time I am looking forward to leading a research project at Millais focussed on the School Development Plan.

By the end of the two year course Millais will have a research leader/champion with the skills for qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods of research. We will also have the results and analysis of the school based research project for moving teaching and learning forward in our school for the future.

Ultimately the research work will be published at the University of Sussex along with that of other schools linked into the research partnership with a view to sharing the findings as widely as possible.


For further information on the programme and its participants please go to the Sussex Research Network website on the Sussex University site 

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