In 2017 Durrington High School was successful in its bid to become one of 22 National Research Schools (funded by the EEF) thus recognising the school’s dedication to using evidence-informed research to improve teaching and learning. Over the past 2 years the school has gone from strength to strength, maintaining its research school status and supporting over 280 schools by providing CPD via a range of training programmes. Shaun Alison, director of the Research School and Head of School improvement said, ‘We are proud of our status as an EEF Research School, engaging with and sharing the latest research evidence to improve teaching and learning, and ultimately student outcomes. After a hugely successful second year we are excited about planning the programme of training for our third year over the next month.’

In April the Research School hosted a ResearchEd conference which sold out, hosting almost 250 delegates and 28 influential speakers which included Professor Daniel Muijs, Deputy Director Research and Evaluation at OFSTED, delivering a keynote address.   Delegates, including headteachers, senior leaders and classroom teachers, came from all over the country, including flying from Guernsey, to network and hear the latest ideas and practical strategies to implement evidence informed research in the classroom and across the whole school.

Recently the school has received yet another acknowledgment of its status as an influential and high performing school by joining Leading Edge, a national network of exclusively high-performing secondary and special schools. Leading Edge supports schools working in partnership to raise achievement, develop innovative practice and share practical strategies within and beyond the network. Run by the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT), Leading Edge is made up of schools who have demonstrated statistically significant levels of progress and that their students perform above the national average. SSAT’s Chief Executive Sue Williamson said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Durrington High School to our Leading Edge network. It is a credit to the hard work of all of their staff and students that they have been recognised as high-performing and we look forward to working with them.’

The school is also the founding school in the Durrington Multi Academy Trust (DMAT) which includes the Research School, the South Downs SCITT and the Laurels Primary School. The Southdowns SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training), which offers PGCE at Masters level (accredited by the University of Chichester), was graded Outstanding by OFSTED in October. The current cohort of trainee teachers are coming to the end of their training and 67% of primary trainees have already secured a job and a fantastic 100% in core subjects. This school-based training offers a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to train as a teacher, offering a high level of support from expert colleagues across a network of primary and secondary schools.

As the Research School is part of DMAT and works closely with the SCITT, it is also uniquely placed to ensure trainees are using the latest evidence-informed practices, which are then disseminated across the schools in which they begin to teach.

The SCITT and Research School place Durrington High School in a central role to developing education in West Sussex and beyond. By providing both initial teacher training and the ongoing CPD for a large number of schools, the school is playing a key role in the educational landscape and is growing it’s influence over an ever-wider network of schools.  Sue Marooney, CEO of DMAT said, ‘As a high performing school that has shown sustained improvement over a number of years, we are always keen to work with colleagues and other schools. Through DMAT we are able to do this in a variety of ways and ultimately help improve education for students in schools beyond Durrington High.’ 

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