Gateshead council provided the conference with a practical example of how teachers can become more involved in research with a paper on how it encouraged the use of assessment for learning in primary schools.
The council said: "We want teachers not only to be innovative but also to become more critically reflective on what helps children to learn.
"A supportive culture in which it was OK to trial various ideas and fail needed to be created, to enable teachers to feel safe to experiment and to persist."
It set up network of 16 primaries that shared ideas, with visits from outside consultants to support the teachers. The project raised the profile of assessment for learning, increased test results in some schools and created a "have-a-go environment".
One teacher said: "This has brought about a refreshing change in teaching, it's much more focused and meaningful."
"Improving learning and the use of formative assessment:, a LA approach to building capacity both within and across schools in Gateshead". Tim Nelson, Julie Roberts, Christine Bell and Julie Lancastle-Smith.