CAR projects during lockdown

view of Dundee from Newport on Tay

By Dr Jo Neary

Since the Christmas break, school buildings in Scotland have once again closed to all but the children of essential workers and of vulnerable families. While teachers are having to balance their workload between supporting learning online through digital classrooms, and attending their physical classroom, some teachers are also carrying on with their collaborative action research (CAR) projects.

The NSEE team facilitated an online meeting with one such primary school in Dundee early in January. This was the second year the school had worked on collaborative action research projects and described feeling more confident about how CAR worked – including how to select their pupils, how to design their interventions, and how to evidence any impact.

While some schools focus on a single class to deliver the CAR approach, this primary school was starting to develop a whole school approach- where CAR is seen as one of the main ways to promote achievement in literacy. The NSEE team spoke to eight teachers along with their headteacher and depute headteacher from this primary school to discuss their research plans.

The teachers attending the meeting described how they had begun planning their CAR projects when they were able to have all pupils in the classroom. Since the start of the new term, teachers were now having to find ways to adapt their proposed interventions to reflect a mix of online and in-school teaching.

Some teachers highlighted the challenges presented by not all pupils having access to a computer/tablet and instead required printed material to be sent to homes. Another teacher reported how they were creatively adapting planned face-to-face CAR work with groups of pupils to now use online groups via the Microsoft Teams application


Picture of Dundee reproduced through  licensing under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.



We are the Network for Social and Educational Equity, based in the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow. We work with governments, educational institutions, local authorities and teachers to promote educational change.

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About NSEE

The Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) is part of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC) at the University of Glasgow.

It works in collaboration with schools, local authorities, Education Scotland and partner services to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap in young people’s education.

NSEE helps schools to use appropriate evidence and data within collaborative working approaches to critically examine context and current arrangements, make changes based on evidence, monitor the impact of these changes and reflect on what they learn.

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