Research and Development

We are passionate about gathering, translating and supporting schools in the use of evidence-based practice, with a focus on improving teaching practice and raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. Our aim is to ensure that our investment in research has a direct and powerful impact on pupils.

Theresa Peacock, a Specialist Leader in Education for Research within Kyra, and James Siddle, one of Lincolnshire’s leading lights in school-led research, lead this area of work for the alliance. They also work closely with our CPD team to make sure that research influences and guides practice.

Please see below examples of current and historic research that we have been engaged in. To get involved, please contact Theresa @treepea80 or James @siddle_ho

  1. Verbal and visual-digital feedback on creative writing improves progress rates compared to written feedback in rural primary schools – a preliminary study

    Research evidence suggests that effective feedback has a significant impact on pupil progress. Our work over the last 18 months across 34 schools has indicated that delivering effective feedback practices can be challenging and specific approaches are required to improve pupil outcomes. Trials across collaborative partnerships of schools have indicated a positive correlation regarding the impact of digital feedback on outcomes in writing. Evidence suggests greater pupil engagement with feedback and improved outcomes in response to the feedback. Our research also suggests the impact of digital feedback may be greatest on lower attaining and free school meal (FSM) children.

    This is an important area to explore using a randomised controlled trial design because the initial small scale experimental trial we have undertaken on digital feedback suggests these techniques can have a positive effect on pupils’ writing outcomes, but variation between schools indicates the approach needs further refinement. It is an approach (using digital technology) that is poorly studied at a time when many schools are investing significantly in new digital technology. Even for schools without tablet technology verbal and visual feedback can be given via video. Research suggests that marking times may also be reduced using this form of feedback.

    Read the preliminary study here

    Project lead: James Siddle @siddle_ho St Margaret’s CE Primary School, Withern, Lincolnshire

  2. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) Research – 5 Kyra Projects

    We currently have 5 RCTs happening across the alliance:

    • The impact of peer reading on PP learners
    • The impact of active spelling strategies
    • The impact of video feedback on attainment
    • The impact of the community on reading attainment and enjoyment
    • The impact of the classroom environment on attainment

    These projects have been designed to address the needs of our children, to close gaps that we have identified as an alliance, to refine and enhance what is already happening.

    The RCTs that are currently running will be ready for publication in September 2015. We will be holding an event during the Autumn term so that all findings can be shared across the alliance ensuring that these 5 RCTs benefit all, help to develop our professional learning community and so that we can celebrate the success of our partners as we would our own.

    To find our more contact Therea at or via @treepea80

    Also, read our lates Blog for more info on R&D


  3. Research and case studies of practice

    We are delighted to share below case studies of effective practice from our alliance. Our aim is to make known and celebrate the effective practice in our schools, but also to disseminate key learning across the alliance. All of the schools listed below are happy to be contacted to share more of their work.

    Boston West Academy

    Monks Abbey Primary School

    St Hughs RC Academy

    St Margarets CE Primary School

    St Giles Nursery School

  4. National ‘Closing the Gap: Test and Learn’ scheme

    In line with our vision as an alliance we are delighted that many teachers are currently undertaking rigorous research around closing the gap. Our aim is that successful approaches to supporting the most disadvantaged children to achieve academic success are identified and shared across our schools. This is a two year project and school-based research will be carried out during the academic years 2013-14 and 2014-15. A final report on the scheme will be published in December 2015.

    Kyra Teaching School Alliance has four schools in the alliance who are engaging in this research testing the intervention called Achievement for All (AfA).

    For more information please email

    Project Lead: Katie Barry (Headteacher) St. George’s CE Community Primary School

  5. Succession Planning and Talent Management

    In 2014-15 we worked with three collaborative partnerships (10 schools) to trial the development of good practice in identifying talent in a systematic way linking to performance management, as well as using integrated pathways that develop leaders and secured successive next stage developments and/or promotions. Our researcher Paul Gutherson, supported by Michael Pain at Forum Education, has documented the work that these schools have done and what we have learned: Succession planning and talent management – 2014 and there is also a short video below capturing the views of those who took part in the research. The frameworks used in this research are free to Kyra members and available in the members area.



  6. Joint Practice Development

    The focus of this research is: What makes great professional development which leads to consistently great pedagogy?

    The basis of current work centres around “IMPACT teams” (Improving My Practice through ACTion). In these teams, teachers from across our partner schools are working together to develop effective pedagogy in small teams. There are a number research-focussed twilights where teaching study an aspect of peadagogy, plan together, observe each other teach and review the impact on learning.

    For more information email

    Project lead: Theresa Peacock (Monks Abbey Primary School)

  7. Distinctive Features of effective teaching and learning in Primary schools with mixed aged classes

    Whilst small schools comprise around one quarter of all primary schools, international research remains inconclusive about their effectiveness. Furthermore there is little current research available and a recent study in Wales showed that the quality of teaching in very small primary schools with less than 30 pupils was lower than that in larger primary schools. This lower quality was seen to be a consequence of the challenges to plan lessons that meet the needs of pupils from a wide age and ability range (Estyn, 2013). There is also a recurrent concern about specialisation in the primary curriculum and the pressure this places on small schools with less teaching staff to take on subject leadership roles (Alexander_ 2011).

    As many of the schools in Lincolnshire are small schools, our research was intended to highlight and document the key characteristics of effective and inspiring teaching in small rural schools and explore the challenges and opportunities small school teachers face.

    Click here to read the report.

    Project lead: Judith Bentley (SLE) with Bishop Grosseteste University and CfBT Education Services Lincolnshire