Professional Development

The Pinnacle Learning Trust

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Research School Status

OSFC was re-designated as a full Research School and is now working under the new name The Pinnacle Learning Research School, as of September 2023. This is a superb achievement and designation recognises the college’s (and our Trust’s) commitment to evidence-based practice, and our strength and impact thus far as an Associate Research School alongside Oldham Research School since 2019. We are very proud to be the first sixth form college to achieve this prestigious status.

We begin our first year as a full Research School with an already busy calendar of work. In addition to continuing Research Breakfasts with Oldham Association of Secondary Headteachers and Principals (OASHP), now in our fourth year,  we will be running some Research Digest sessions with Oldham Deputy Heads around key school priorities. 

Continuing our long-standing relationship with East Manchester Teaching School Hub, sees us into our second year of working with Specialist Leaders of Education leading Oldham and Tameside Secondary Practitioner Networks Groups across a range of subjects and with Assistant Heads leading on teaching and learning. This year our focus is on the evidence around assessment and feedback. We are delighted to be working again with Oldham Learning and Tameside LA to support new Primary Headteachers with Effective Implementation Planning. If you’re a new Primary Headteacher in these areas please use our booking link in this newsletter for more information. 

Follow us on Twitter for updates on Guidance Reports, new tools and free twilight webinars across the year @PinnacleLTRS



Louise Astbury, Trust Professional Development Director (and Research School Director) said,

As Oldham moves from being an Opportunity Area to a Priority Education Investment Area, I am delighted that we have been awarded full Research School status so that we can support our schools and community in the next stage of their educational development. We are looking forward to developing our work across a wider area and engaging particularly with other Sixth Form Colleges.

Jayne Clarke, Executive Principal/CEO added

The process for applying to become a Research School was rightly very rigorous, involving an application, presentation, interview, lesson visits and discussions with teaching staff across the college.  We are naturally delighted to have been successful and look forward to taking on full Research School status, alongside our partners to date at The Greetland Academy, and more broadly across the Research School Network

Research Schools are funded through the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and lead the way in evidence-based practice, supporting the use of research to inform teaching practice. Oldham’s original Research School was established in 2016, alongside Oldham’s designation as an Opportunity Area.  

As part of the recent Schools White Paper, the Government has committed to re-endowing the EEF, awarding it at least £100m, to ensure its work can continue for at least another decade. This is to ensure that teacher development will be underpinned by the best available evidence, with Research Schools leading the way in the use of evidence-based teaching, building affiliations with large numbers of schools in their region, and supporting the use of evidence at scale through:

  • encouraging schools to make use of evidence-based programmes and practices through regular communication and events; and
  • providing training and professional development for senior leaders and teachers on how to improve classroom practice based on the best available evidence.

Jayne Clarke and Louise Astbury with Alex Quigley (EEF National Content and Engagement Manager) at the Research Schools Network Summer Conference.