What is CamStar?
CamStar (Cambridge, School Teachers and Research) is a non-hierarchical, collaborative research group. Since its inception in 2001, CamStar has grown to a national network of secondary and primary schools, with large numbers of teachers involved in researching practice across the schools each year. The potential for CamStar involvement is driven by the school’s own needs and ambitions. Research is a highly effective approach to developing teacher knowledge through CPD.
How is CamStar organised?
CamStar is driven by the participating schools. CamStar co-ordinators meet termly to set the research agenda, to oversee CamStar school based needs and to undertake their own research training.
CamStar responds to schools’ needs. Within CamStar schools, there are different management approaches, and teachers will be researching individual projects, departmental projects, themed research projects, and whole school projects. Part of the success of CamStar is its flexibility, so that it can be used to ensure each school is supported in their particular research needs.
CamStar has also organised a number of across-school projects for interested schools. We have, for example, developed a three year, funded research project on Dialogic Teaching and Learning which resulted in an online CamTalk CPD programme (available through the Faculty PPD website).
The latest research across schools is with interested CamStar co-ordinators is that of impact of research on schools. The research was co-designed with schools and CamStar Faculty members, and we are collecting data over the next year. We will be publishing outcomes on this site.
Is CamStar for all schools and all teachers?
CamStar is for all schools and all teachers. It is a co-operative of teacher researchers, and the common aim – to ensure that all children receive the best education possible – positions teachers at the heart of that. CamStar schools welcome other schools who want to use and promote teacher research as part of that. All those involved in Education are welcome to join.
What about Newly Qualified Teachers?
CamStar has a dedicated NQT research arm, with an NQT Conference in October of each year. Early career teachers often bring research skills from their teacher training courses. Belonging to CamStar allows them to bring these skills to a school-based research environment.
How do we share research?
Dissemination of research is achieved both through this website and through research conferences which each school hosts on a voluntary basis. CamStar offers a template for a school-based newsletter for local dissemination and CamStar schools are also expected to have an in-school end of year research dissemination event. CamStar also has its own online journal where teachers can publish peer-reviewed articles.
We have also taken our research reports to conferences across the world.