A beginner’s guide to Professor Steve Higgins

A beginner’s guide to Professor Steve Higgins

What is he best known for? 

Higgins specialises in the use of research evidence to support effective spending in schools – probably most famously with the Sutton Trust and Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Teaching and Learning Toolkit; a summary of education research that offers advice for teachers and schools on how to improve attainment in disadvantaged pupils. An advocate of the effective use of research and evidence-based policy and practice, he frequently presents keynote speeches to policymakers and practitioners.

Professor Steve Higgins


Quick facts

Nationality: British

Professional bio: Professor Steve Higgins

Twitter: @profstig

Where does he work?

​Higgins is a professor of education at Durham University, where he specialises in classroom interaction, digital technologies, and meta-analysis of education research. He moved to Durham in 2009 from Newcastle University, where he was director of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching. He is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.


What's it all about?

Higgins specialises in the use of research evidence to support effective spending in schools – probably most famously with the Sutton Trust and Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Teaching and Learning Toolkit; a summary of education research that offers advice for teachers and schools on how to improve attainment in disadvantaged pupils. An advocate of the effective use of research and evidence-based policy and practice, he frequently presents keynote speeches to policymakers and practitioners.


What does he research?

Higgins' research interests lie in understanding how students' reasoning develops, how digital technologies can be used to boost learning and how teachers can be supported in improving the quality of learning in their classrooms. He is particularly interested the use of research and evidence to develop practices in schools.


What he says:

"Our hope was that the toolkit would help to counterbalance the increasingly strong accountability measures for schools, which now look likely to intensify further. Empowering teachers to improve their practice without implementing top-down demands is a delicate balancing act."


What others say:

The toolkit has been called "revolutionary" by The Guardian, and is recommended by the Department for Education and Ofsted as a valuable resource for teachers, school leaders and governors.


Why you should consider reading more:

Higgins's contributions to the Toolkit are largely aimed at helping teachers to make informed decisions about pupils who attract Pupil Premium funding, but most of the findings can be applied to all pupils. It is an essential tool for policymakers and educators who want to explore evidence-based practice.

Top reads:


Inspired by evidence-based practice? Check out EdResearch, our searchable library of education research and follow @EdCentral on Twitter for all our latest updates. 

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