Resident Thinker

A key objective in our Federation Strategic Plan is:

To become a self-improving Federation where all schools rigorously evaluate the quality of the education they offer, understand what they need to do to improve, take action and evaluate its impact so they can achieve together.

All schools are judged to be at least as good with many outstanding features  by OFSTED and the school’s own self evaluation. To provide a consistently outstanding quality of education across all three schools we need to maximise opportunities to learn with and from each other across the Federation and with other partners.

We need to embed a research-based culture where strategies to improve are investigated, trialled and rigorously assessed in terms of outcomes for children based on informative evidence. This will increase our capacity to develop further and achieve together.

We have developed positive partnership with other agencies and schools through the Teaching Schools Alliance (ETC) and local networks. We will continue to build on these partnerships so we can support and challenge ourselves and our partners.

To support us in our development to become research focussed we are working with Dr. Chris Brown who is our “Resident Thinker”


Professor Chris Brown is Professor of Education at the University of Portsmouth, School of Education and Childhood Studies.

  With a long standing interest in how evidence can aid education policy and practice, Chris has written/edited six books (including ‘Leading the Use of Research and Evidence in schools’), several papers and has presented on the subject at a number of international conferences in Europe, Asia and North and South America.   Chris has extensive experience of leading a range of funded projects, many of which seek to help practitioners to identify and scale up best practice, and was recently awarded a significant grant by the Education Endowment Foundation to work with 100+ primary schools in England to increase their use of research. Other projects include an evaluation of England’s progress towards an evidence informed school system (funded by England’s Department for Education).    In 2015 Chris was awarded the American Educational Research Association ‘Emerging Scholar’ award (Education Change SIG). The award is presented to an individual who, within the first eight years of the career of an educational scholar, has demonstrated a strong record of original and significant scholarship related to educational change. Chris was also been awarded the 2016 AERA Excellence in Research to practice award and the UCEA Jeffrey V. Bennett Outstanding International Research award.


Our resident thinker Professor Chris Brown has been successful in his application for a Siftung Mercator Foundation fellowship. The Foundation – an independent German organisation – identifies and invites just six people world-wide to apply each year. Potential Fellows are identified by a panel as ‘exceptionally talented and outstanding researchers and practitioners’ from areas seen as relevant to the themes and fields of activity of Stiftung Mercator (more detail can be found at:  
The purpose of the Mercator Fellowship programme is to offer selected fellows the space and freedom to also devote themselves to exploratory and unconventional research and practical projects (Chris’ project will last six months). It also seems that Chris in good company: as well as academics from a variety of subjects, past fellows include a former White House Senior Director for Energy & Climate and a recent advisor to current French President Emmanuel Macron: