Chris is seeking to drive forward the notion of Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) as a means to promote the collaborative learning of teachers. The aim of this collaborative learning is to improve both teaching practice and student outcomes, not only in individual schools, but also in the school system more widely. To this end Chris has co-edited one book in this area, Networks for Learning: Effective Collaboration for Teacher, School and System Improvement (Routledge, 2018); is co-editor of the Emerald’s Professional Learning Networks Book Series (and has also contributed one book to this series); and is co-founder and co-convener of theInternational Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement’s Professional Learning Networks research network. Chris was also recently awarded a significant research grant by Bosch Foundation to examine the effectiveness of area-based reforms: in themselves a specific form of PLN.
Alongside his research into PLNs Chris also has a long-standing interest in how research evidence can and should, but often doesn’t, aid the development of education policy and practice. Here Chris has edited authored five books, including Achieving Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice in Education (Emerald Publishing, 2017), scores of papers and has presented and keynoted on the subject at a number of international conferences in Europe, Asia and North and South America. Chris also has extensive experience of leading a range of funded projects, many of which seek to help practitioners to identify and scale up best practice. These include an evaluation of England’s progress towards an evidence informed school system (funded by England’s Department for Education) and a grant the Education Endowment Foundation to work with 100+ primary schools in England to increase their use of research.
In 2018 Chris was also awarded a Stiftung Mercator Foundation Senior Fellowship. Each year Stiftung Mercator identifies and invites just six people world-wide to apply each year for one of its fellowships. 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. 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 (typically for six months). Previous fellows include advisors to former US President Obama and current French President Macron.
Other recent prizes include the 2015 American Educational Research Association ‘Emerging Scholar’ award; the 2016 AERA Excellence in Research to practice award and the 2016 UCEA Jeffrey V. Bennett Outstanding International Research award.