Success, Ambition, Respect, Care
York College is a single campus institution set in the ancient capital of the North of England. We have been active in evidence-based practice research for the last 18 years.
York College began to move to evidence-based practice in 2002 when a small number of staff were given roles as Advanced Practitioners and, concurrently, two staff members were sent on Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme (TEEP) training. On their return from the training, they cascaded the training to the Advanced Practitioners and a passion for making use of evidence to enhance and improve practice was born, strongly supported by the Senior Leadership Team.
The College supported the development of, and mass training of staff, through the development of a training course, based on TEEP made more relevant to the sector and the College. This was taught by the 2 original TEEP trainees and the Senior Tutors who were put in place to support teaching and learning enhancement from 2005. This group introduced the idea of a Festival of Learning, and worked with Subject Learning Coaches, to enhance the Professional Development of teaching staff and ensure that they were kept up to date. When one of the Senior Tutors, and one of the TEEP trainees became Teacher Educators, they came together with a passion to make the evidence they were researching easily accessible to their colleagues. They found a ready ear amongst their colleagues in College Leadership and were enabled to continue the developments they had begun.
The College introduced Professional Learning Communities in 2010 with the initial support of Frank Coffield, and actively encouraged action research through this vehicle. So successful was this initiative that it is mentioned on the 2013 OfSTED report where the College received an Outstanding Grade and it had a powerful effect on the development of the teaching team. Evidence-based practice was written into policy and York College embraced practitioner research and encouraged staff to try new things, and abandon those which evidence showed were ineffective.
Since 2013, we have changed to Teaching and Learning Communities, but evidence-based practice has been at the core of policy and training. Continuous development of our practice has been reflected in the Festival of Learning held every summer for the past 10 years, in the active debate about teaching and learning amongst the staff team and the number of staff who are willing to take risks and try new things. The Covid-19 pandemic has showed us all that the team can adapt to new methods of teaching and that there has been a lot of research going on. The number of staff who have learned something new and passed that on to their colleagues has shown that they are actively seeking out evidence and applying it to their practice.
When approached to join the Research College Group in 2020, it was clear to us that this is an opportunity to build on all that we have done so far, to develop and formalise our practitioner research activity, and to celebrate all that we have achieved since we accepted that evidence-based practice was our goal. We believe that encouraging close to practice research, promoting a culture of curiosity amongst our staff and improving the visibility of their practice is in line with our values and will enhance the experience of our students.