Evidence in education

The Vision: Education policy and practice are better informed by evidence.

"The responsibility for engaging teachers in educational research rests with the national education structures and with teachers themselves. Leadership here needs to come from government, its agencies and the professional bodies. This includes the inspectorates, which should encourage involvement in randomised controlled trials and the use of evidence to improve practice."

Education in the UK will benefit from a strong foundation on evidence, and the principle for basing education policy on research needs to be re-established.

Education research provides the underpinning evidence to improve education, but there are sizeable gaps in knowledge and understanding.

This requires collaboration between science and mathematics education researchers, scientists such as neuroscientists and psychologists, teaching professionals, policy makers and the public.

There would be benefits to the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching if teachers could engage more in educational research, to improve their own practice or to participate in research projects led by others.

Teachers and teacher educators should be equipped to conduct their own research. This could then act as the impetus for the growth of a high-quality education research community in the UK.

The education research community needs to improve their communication with practitioners and policy makers and to establish agreed standards for educational research.


  • Establish agreed standards for educational research to ensure good practice and to give users confidence in its results
  • Invest in education research and test and evaluate new programmes prior to rolling them out nationally
  • Encourage professional and learned STEM bodies to embrace teachers and STEM education researchers in their networks

Key developments since 2014

  • The National Foundation for Education Research and the Education Endowment Foundation continue to lead on the use of research and evidence by teachers
  • The number of Research Schools expands to 23, aimed at increasing the use of evidence in teaching
  • The Chartered College of Teaching signs an evidence Magna Carta with other professions in support of evidence-led teaching. Its new Chartered Teacher programme includes a research component