Small-Scale Research

Reading time: 2


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

What research does the Department for Education conduct which is ‘off the radar’?

The analytical associate pool consists of more than 150 independent academics and researchers, who carry out small-scale data analysis, rapid literature reviews, primary research and peer review for DfE. Much of the analysis summarised is too small-scale for publishing on its own.

I have provided a brief outline of the projects commissioned through the DfE analytical associate pool – last updated on 16th August 2017 – with some notable pieces of research that are of interest to me. There are over 19 projects in this paper, so it really is worth skimming through to find something that interests you.

30 Hour Childcare

This feasibility study was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to review options for evaluating Early Implementation (EI) of delivering the 30 hour extended free entitlement for working families of 3 and 4 year olds from September 2016, one year ahead of the national rollout. The study was undertaken during January to April 2016. Read more on page 6.

School Inspection Grading

This is a stand-out piece of research for me – that the Department for Education is looking into ‘how we can improve school inspection grading’. There were 6 jurisdictions: Belgium (Flemish community), England, Hong Kong, Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

The purpose of this review was to draw together information and evidence on different models for grading the outcomes of school inspection, and the impact they might have on the behaviour of schools, and on other relevant stakeholders. The review provides a summary of the different approaches in operation across selected jurisdictions, with a focus on those regarded as having effective accountability systems, including England; and it reviews what is available in the research literature of the past 10 years on the effectiveness and impact of different approaches. Read more on page 22.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unknown Land

… still much of the research is on the impact and effects of inspection in general, and on schools judged to be failing, rather than on the specific issue of grading models that was the object of this review … there remain areas which are largely terra incognita.

Mental Health

Alongside the review of school-based support available to parents , this project was commissioned to review the support available more widely for parents around children and young people’s mental health. Read more on page 23.


The overall finding of this research is that transgender awareness is an area in need of development within the child and family social work profession, with the evidence clearly indicating a demand for additional training materials. Read more on page 30.


Much of the analysis undertaken through the Associate Pool is too small-scale to be published on its own, and this report summarises these smaller pieces of analysis.

Over 180 independent academics and researchers are in the pool, and they can be commissioned to carry out small-scale data analysis, rapid literature reviews, primary research and peer review. I’ve been inspired, so I’ve submitted my application to become a researcher.

Source: Department for Education.

2 thoughts on “Small-Scale Research

  1. This is really informative. I’m glad we understand that there needs to be more transgender awareness in schools. Teaching students about social issues can only help society in the long-run, just like employee wellness programs. Keeping people informed and educated makes a better working system. Let’s keep looking into what students need to know more of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.