Twenty years ago when we started working in healthcare we were viewed by many as heretics and deviants (some may say that few things change). It has taken many years to place evidence-based healthcare at the centre of clinical practice and health policy making and there’s still a huge amount of work to do, but the approach that we have championed for years is now very much the ‘accepted way’. Health professionals have far greater awareness of evidence than a few years ago, critical appraisal skills are core to many training programmes and the quality of evidence is improving all the time.
The same is not yet true in education. Indeed, there are many comparisons that can be drawn with the healthcare world of the mid-90s and the current teaching landscape. Few teachers read research, school leaders rarely refer to reliable evidence before making key decisions, and the overall quality of educational research is poor. However, there are signs of improvement. Good quality reviews and studies are becoming more prevalent and there’s increasing interest from senior leaders and teachers in evidence-based summaries of what works.
So the time is ripe for an evidence-based education website that brings together all of the reliable research and guidance for busy teachers. The Education Elf is that site.
We are delighted to be working with Leah Tomlin (Assistant Head of Henleaze Junior School in Bristol) on this website. Leah brings 10 years teaching experience, with a further 10 year background in scientific research. She has first hand experience of the challenges faced by teachers and school leaders who have poor access to the evidence, few skills to read and appraise research and little or no time to spend keeping up to date:
My aim with the Education Elf is to help my teaching colleagues get connected with the high quality evidence that is out there. If we want to raise school standards in the long-term, it’s vital that we apply what we already know in our practice, as well as keeping up to date with gold standard research to inform our future decisions.
Check out the Education Elf at: www.educationelf.net