who is Dylan Wiliam anyway (@dylanwiliam) or why the language of RESEARCH might be more trouble than it is worth for teachers

Have you noticed that there has been a change in language used in schools?

I am not sure when it happened or who is to blame but it is making me feel a bit anxious.

Even with people I don’t know very well via debates on twitter or during chats at Teachmeets I am being asked to justify my decisions about what I do. The questions sometimes include a request to share my EVIDENCE base or the detail of the RESEARCH which informs my daily work. I am expected to be able to measure my IMPACT scored from 0 to 1 and explain the RANDOMISED CONTROL TESTS I have completed to validate my findings!!

The discussion exhausts me never mind the thought of doing the work. My experience I have acquired over my 20 years is appearing to be less and less important. In fact if people don’t like what I am doing they can be quite dismissive unless I can back up my argument. Not since the psychology unit I studied at University have I been part of discussions like this. And that is 23 years ago.


I had the honour and the privilege of listening to Dylan Wiliam (@dyalnwilaim) talk about this new language and its impact at #rED14 this weekend and it has got me thinking ever since. If you have a spare 40 minutes it is the best cpd I have had in a while. (http://www.workingoutwhatworks.com/en-GB/Resource-library)

It was pure theatre.

A lesson on how to deliver a key critical message with clarity and poise.

A call to arms for the teaching profession.

And well worth the £50 entrance fee!

Anyway back to the day job on Monday and I’m off to London not to see the queen but to sign up for our Parent Engagement Project (PEP) to be completed in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation, Harvard University, Bristol University and Belfast University. The managing director of schoolcomms even turned up.

Not the IOW Council any more. Or even Hampshire Inspection and Advisory Service (HIAS). The start of a new relationship??


The point I would like to share is not about the £100m of funding the EEF has available or the fact that the UK is viewed as the new global centre for educational research (apparently). It isn’t about how these research projects are devised or implemented or the interest the US research community now has in the UK research market! (Who provides the 100m to the EFF btw??)

The point I would like to make is about padlocks.

I’m not sure if I am the only one who has missed the significance of the padlocks? The 4/5 column in the table above.

How many schools are making decisions about what they are planning to do this year based on the Sutton Trust / EEF toolkit above? Without understanding the nature of the key? Apparently the number of padlocks relates to the availability of evidence.



How may school leadership teams have missed this fact? 1 padlock very limited evidence etc…

How many schools have discarded teaching assistants based on this evidence base? Despite having a hunch they might be useful. What else has been assigned to the post RESEARCH dust bin?

How much do we need to think about what Mr W suggests before we start these new relationships?

ps – I think I am getting old – I miss the LA


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