Schools are in a better than ever position to judge what will work in their classrooms. We have access to more robust evidence about ‘what works’ in teaching and learning and, as the evidence base has grown, so too has teachers’ appetites for it. Nevertheless, one of the characteristics that distinguishes effective and less-effective schools, in addition to what they implement, is how they put those new approaches into practice.

Good implementation occupies a rarefied space of ‘uncommon common sense’, with too few explicit discussions of the characteristics and qualities that make it effective. In response, in 2018 the EEF published Putting Evidence to Work: A School’s Guide Implementation. The purpose was to begin to describe and demystify the professional practice of implementation – and to document our knowledge of the steps that effective schools take to manage change well.

This interactive course aims to support you in making, and acting on, evidence-informed decisions, drawing on the recommendations in the guide. It follows a case study of Bedlington Academy, in Northumberland, as they describe how they introduced a new teaching strategy across the school, called ‘retrieval practice’.

As you work through the course you will see some interactive activities to complete (see the right hand column). These can be done individually but they work best as collaborative exercises. There are links to a set of new supplementary resources and case studies, and explanations of some key concepts is provided by the guide’s co-author, Professor Jonathan Sharples.

In the video above, Jonathan sets out why implementation is important and how it relates to the day-to-day work of schools.