Research Opportunities for Independent Schools

Working with researchers can be a powerful way to access relevant, context-specific, up to date evidence about a variety of educational topics of importance to your school. This can range from pedagogical frameworks and approaches to opportunities to meaningfully engage with industry. It can also provide opportunities for tailored educator professional learning.

The Evidence Institute assists external researchers when they seek to engage independent schools in their projects, as well as supporting independent schools that are interested in engaging with external research.

We hope this research helps principals and teachers like you.

We all want our children to be more active, sit less, study more, eat better, sleep more, or be more social. As parents and schools we get told all of these things are important, but research struggles to definitively say why. We want to make this clearer: what is really important for children’s physical and mental health? What should parents and schools be focusing on? Where can they relax?

What does participation involve?

We are looking for teachers and students in Years 2-4 (in 2023) from schools in the Sydney, Wollongong and Central Coast areas, to help us answer these questions. Participation is easy and we aim to take up as little school time as possible.

  • Parent/Caregiver Information letters (either online or paper copies) will be provided for distribution to all students in Years 2 to 4
  • Schools will then pick a date and time for us to come to the school to distribute equipment to the consenting students and run them through a questionnaire. We will invite the teachers of participating students only, to also participate in a short questionnaire
  • We will return the following week to collect the equipment.
  • As a token of appreciation for your time, teachers will be given free access to our award-winning, evidence-based online teacher professional learning program, iPLAY.

Associated documents

Associated media

You can learn more about KidVision in the introductory video below.

Researchers at the Black Dog Institute have developed an Online Mental Health Check to identify anxiety and depression symptoms in Australian primary school children. They would like to invite independent primary schools to be involved in a clinical trial evaluating the impact of the Mental Health Check on mental health stigma.

Through this research, they are aiming to answer the question: Does the mental health check significantly impact stigma for children aged 6 to 12 years and their parents, compared to children who do not complete regular mental health checks and their parents?

What does participation involve?

A school is eligible to participate if they are ‘an independent primary school in Australia’ who has the capacity to provide children with a device (i.e. laptop, desktop, tablet) to complete the assessments. If a school chooses to be involved, they will be asked to:

  • Attend an information session (30 mins) with the research team via video-conferencing
  • Distribute a link to an information pack with details about the study to parents/carers of children at the school.

The study will use an ‘opt-out’ consent process.

Teachers of participating years 3-6 classes will be asked to allocate approximately 3×15 minute sessions for children to complete the assessment on a school device on commencement, at six weeks and again at twelve weeks.

Your school will be provided with:

  • all materials needed to advertise the study to the school
  • a report to your school with a grade breakdown of anxiety and depression levels
  • an opportunity to sign up to future school mental health studies at Black Dog Institute.

What happens next?

Interest schools can visit the study website A Primary School Mental Health Check - Black Dog Institute to register interest and for more information regarding your school’s eligibility requirements and role in this research project.

The school principal is also invited to attend an online information session with the research team to hear more details about the study.

This research aims to explore how Year Four teachers use both assessment data and non-academic data to solve teaching and learning problems they may face daily in their classrooms. The team hope to gain insights into how these different types of data are utilised in the classroom to enhance every student’s learning, including a focus on the pedagogical strategies and specialised teaching methods being used to help students in their learning journey.

This study aims to answer the following research questions:

  • What types of data do teachers use to gauge the level of their students’ understanding? 
  • How do teachers describe their levels of expertise regarding data-use knowledge and skills? 
  • To what extent do teachers engage in data-driven decision-making practices? 
  • How do teachers use the data from their local assessments to inform their practice and enhance their students learning opportunities? 

What does participation involve?

The research adopts a mixed methods approach involving a survey, semi-structured interviews and review of classroom artefacts. If you are interested in participation, you can opt to only complete the 5-10 minute survey, or both the survey and the 20 minutes interview. Pseudonyms will be used when findings are reported. Artefacts will be used to enrich the interviews and demonstrate how student assessment data is incorporated into your planning.

Participation is completely voluntary and participants can withdraw at any time. An information sheet is provided under Associated Resources with further information.

What happens next?

If you wish to participate, please contact Professor Jim Tognolini ( and Mrs Rayanne Shakra ( This will also provide an opportunity to clarify any final questions.

In this national research project, Dr Linda Lorenza (CQUniversity) and Dr Don Carter (UTS) are conducting a survey to learn what primary school students did in the arts - dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts - while learning online during the COVID-19 emergency shutdown periods in 2020 and 2021. The online survey results may help teachers to develop arts learning for primary students in the future.

What does participation involve?

We are inviting primary school teachers, parents and students from across Australia to share their experience of online arts learning during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

The survey link is open now and closes Thursday, 6 April 2023. 

We invite you to complete the survey and share it with primary school teachers, students and parents in your community.

There are 25 questions - 20 questions have multiple choice responses, and 5 questions have an audio record option for you to tell us your answers. It will take around 30 minutes to finish the survey, depending on how much detail you wish to share. Doing this survey will not affect students' grades at, or teachers' positions in, or parents' relationships with schools.

The survey is confidential and respondents remain anonymous. You are welcome to preview the entire survey as a PDF in Associated Documents.

While we are keen to hear about your experiences, if thinking about the COVID-19 periods makes you unhappy, please do not do this survey.

Associated Documents

Guidelines for Collaboration

Key Hints for Independent Schools

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Key Hints for Researchers

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Ethics Considerations

Two key resources have been developed to assist researchers and schools in understanding ethics.