Research & Development

Here at Manchester TSA we are continually striving to improve the learning experiences for our children. We are open to new pedagogical approaches and relish the opportunity to talk about latest research and how this relates to our own setting.


Manley Park Primary School is the lead partner in the alliance for Research & Development.

We have a professional reading group who meet to discuss current research ideas on pedagogy and reflect on how these can influence practice at school.

We have a number of ongoing research projects:

Action Research in Maths – Reflective Inquiry

Led by Manley Park School, we have embarked on a research programme aiming to develop reflective practitioners who can raise pupil achievement and attainment by moving beyond quality first teaching for those pupils who are underachieving. The programme has been designed and researched by BFET.

Action research in maths

What is action research?

Action research is a process in which teachers and leaders examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research. The process provides the opportunity to work with others and to learn from the sharing of findings. We aim to promote personal and professional growth and improve practice to enhance student learning.

This innovative approach to developing teaching & learning is embedded in the principles of establishing a culture where there is a strong focus on the quality of professional dialogue. It is truly transformative in that it will develop teachers into reflective practitioners who will encourage discussion and debate around pedagogy and subject development. Through the application of coaching principles and a climate of trust, openness, honesty and challenge we hope to raise the academic achievement and attainment of pupils through the development of the best possible practice embedded in a rigorous and robust Action Research approach. 

We hope to build a professional environment where teachers can discuss their areas for development openly and a true community of enquiry is established. The first year of this program will focus on maths. The learning generated will be shared and developed across three Primary Schools as well as reporting regularly to the Teaching School Alliance. We will be supported by Manchester University and the Coalition of Research Schools. At the end of year 1 the process will be reviewed and outcomes shared.

These sessions are running weekly and providing fascinating insights into children's perceptions of themselves as mathematicians and what they perceive to be the barriers to understanding concepts. The reflections with practitioners are currently focusing on; the value of a range of manipulatives, the ability of children to self-select appropriate resources to support their learning, and the movement from concrete maths experiences to the abstract. 

The coaches from all three Primary Schools involved have come together this term to share outcomes so far and to revise thinking around best practice. The coach for each triad has had the opportunity to be observed and receive feedback on their reflective session. This will generate thinking around future sessions and the possible growth for deeper reflection.

Closing the Gap – Test and Learn

Manley Park is leading alliance schools in a research project with NCSL, Curee & Durham University. Closing the Gap – Test and Learn is designed to carry out Random controlled Trials to find out exactly which interventions are effective in raising attainment and why.

Closing the gap

The four schools will access training on the interventions, collate data and reflect on the findings together with other schools in the trials. This is a nationwide piece of research which involves hundreds of schools (180 Teaching Schools) and approximately 30,000 pupils. We are really excited to be involved and to be in a position to engage in high quality dialogue with the institutes leading the research.

Manley Park has been selected as active participants in the trial for 1st Class@number. We will have a teacher and TA trained at Edge Hill University. The intervention will then be trialled in school before the data is collected again in Spring. This intervention fits very well with the additional research work we are carrying out in maths through the Reflective Inquiry program.

Chorlton Park have been selected as active participants in the Response to Intervention trial. They will access training on a range of interventions and carry these out with a select group of pupils based on the Autumn data collection. Further data will be collected in Spring to analyse the impact of each intervention.

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