Further Information and Additional Projects

Bradford Research Champions / Evidence Active Network

This is a project explicitly designed to embed evidence in classroom practice, by creating a sustainable network of schools and practitioners all linked to the Research School and the Centre for Applied Education Research. The Research Active network will allow us to disseminate new learning on removing health barriers to learning across the Bradford district. Research Active schools will be better able to identify effective interventions, supporting sustained improvement. We would also expect an Evidence Active school to be more attractive as an employer. Practitioners will be expected to outline how they have implemented evidence beyond the scope of 2020/21. This would provide measurable actions and also case studies of practice and impact.

The following highlights Bradford Research Champions breadth of activity:

Assimilation and advocacy

  • Review available and accessible research relevant to the school’s setting and phase(s)
  • Act as a devil’s advocate/critical friend to challenge thinking and decision making
  • Contribute to a community of educational research champions in Bradford, including supporting partnership with the Bradford Research School


  • Develop an awareness of where the school is on its journey to engaging with research and making evidence-informed decisions
  • Act as a gatekeeper and filter of research to maintain a focus on addressing the school priorities through research and evidence informed actions and processes
  • Support the governors, headteacher and senior leadership team through acting as a ‘special adviser’ to support the implementation of change


  • Disseminate research to teachers and leaders in a logical, well-considered process to help develop school practice in teaching and learning
  • Build the capacity of associate staff, teachers and leaders to engage with research and to consider evidence-based practice
  • Skilled in communication and professional development approaches including coaching

Trialling and implementation

  • Encourage and support the school to engage in research or participate in trials
  • A classroom-based practitioner able to trial and develop strategies/research in their classroom

Further information

Below are some examples of other projects developed by CAER. They address a range of health-related issues which impact the education of Bradford pupils:

Making Handwriting Shine – Handwriting (producing letters and words using a pen) is a crucial skill underpinning attainment. Taking notes, capturing ideas, and demonstrating knowledge on paper underlies much of children’s attainment, and it’s unsurprising that handwriting ability (both legibility and speed) predicts educational achievement at even an early age. An RCT (EEF funded) involving 100 schools empowered schools to use evidence-based clinical techniques for improving handwriting. The study yielded promising results with plans to scale up the study once the schools are through the worst of the aftermath of the pandemic. The invention aims to improve KS2 results in writing and reading by at least one percentage point.

Oral health – Born in Bradford datasets have also allowed us to understand how physical health problems can affect school performance. We have identified over 700 children in Bradford who have been absent from school for 2-15 days because of tooth decay. In England, a quarter of children have experience of tooth decay by the age of five years. In Bradford, this figure rises to around 40% and for those children affected they will each have 3-4 decayed teeth on average. We are currently designing a project to improve dental education within schools and support schools to tackle these problems.

Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) – There is a strong body of evidence (including data from Born in Bradford) showing a relationship between FMS and educational attainment. FMS deficits are also a known risk factor for mental ill health. Studies have suggested that a large proportion of children are unable to perform age-appropriate FMS. Unfortunately, schools are not well equipped to identify these difficulties so CAER has created freely available resources that will enable all primary schools to identify and support children who lack these fundamental educational behavioural building blocks.

Digital Makers – To ensure that every child has the best possible chance of prospering in our increasingly digitised society – and making certain that our business community and the wider economy have access to a steady pipeline of ‘techsavvy’ talent – we need a better understanding of the barriers to digital teaching and learning. In order to meet these goals, CAER has developed the Digital Makers programme. Digital Makers is adopting a whole systems approach, exploring how we can address the digital skills gap across secondary education, colleges, universities, and even into post-graduate study. The aim is to ensure we learn how to make children and young people digitally prepared and generate evidence on identifying and fast-tracking the digital leaders of tomorrow.

We are always looking to strengthen our networks with researchers and academics. If you can offer support to our social mobility ambition in Bradford please contact us at opportunityareas.bradford@education.gov.uk