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de Souza to sit on NIoT’s research advisory group

Children’s commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza is among high-profile sector leaders who will scrutinise the research output of the new National Institute of Teaching (NIoT) .

The flagship teacher training and development provider has announced the names of the six members of its advisory group, which will also act as a “sounding board” for its ideas.

NIoT said the group was established earlier in the year, and had already supported research into intensive training and practice, as well as training for trainee and early career teachers.

de Souza, a former headteacher who co-founded the Inspiration Trust academy chain before being nominated by Boris Johnson’s government as children’s commissioner in 2020.

Since her appointment in 2021, she has overseen the largest-ever survey of children and experiences, “The Big Ask”, as well as highlighting the ongoing issue of persistent absence.

She will be joined on the group by Professor Becky Allen, a professor of education at the University of Brighton and chief analyst and co-founder of Teacher Tapp, the largest teacher survey in England.

Allen has conducted research into school effectiveness and assessment, as well as teacher careers, and previously chaired a government working group to review school data use.

NFER’s Carole Willis appointed chair

Carole Willis, chief executive of the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and a former director of research and analysis at the Department for Education (DfE), is the group’s chair.

She said she was “delighted” to support NIoT’s work. “Rigorous research is imperative for designing high-quality professional development, helping teachers and leaders be the best they can be,” added Willis.

“Ultimately, that’s all in service of ensuring all children have access to the best possible education.”

The other group members are:

  • Professor Rob Coe, director of research and development at Evidence Based Education and senior associate at the Education Endowment Foundation.
  • Kathryn Morgan, capacity improvement advisor at the Teaching School Hubs Council (TSHC).
  • Andy Samways, director of Unity Research School, one of the Education Endowment Foundation’s 33 research schools. He is also the director of Unity Teaching School Hub.

The institute is set to publish early findings from a consultation to identify priorities for professional development research this month.

More than three-quarters of respondents were serving teachers and leaders.

Dr Calum Davey, NIoT’s executive director of research, said it was important that its research was “methodologically robust and ethically sound”.

“Having this group has been an important part of that process. Their combined experience in research and education has significantly strengthened our output and I’m looking forward to what’s to come,” he said.

The provider has also just launched the first year of its initial teacher training programme.

It is understood NIoT has recruited above its government-set target of 500 recruits.

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