Farewell from Rachel Lofthouse

This month I left Newcastle University for a new post at Leeds Beckett University where I am Professor of Teacher Education.  I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to work in my chosen field at a new institution and looking forward to making a contribution to knowledge, practice and the work of teachers, student teachers and educators in that region, as well as (I hope) further afield.  When the job was advertised it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, although my first job application in 17 years was somewhat daunting.  I found myself writing it on New Year’s Day and perhaps that was the clincher, with the hopefulness of a new year, the potential challenges seemed enticing.  There were two additional pull factors. Firstly, I was born in Headingly (where the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University is based), but left when I was two years old, so this felt like a bid to return to a forgotten homeland. Secondly, I had been to the Headingly campus the previous summer, on a warm sunny day when the parkland and redbrick buildings looked at their best, to attend a @WomenEd event.  Perhaps this application was my response to the commitment the women at that conference were making to shaping and sustaining education through their own professional lives.  So, cutting that story short, and via an interview in a box overlooking the cricket ground at Headingly (where the university occupy a stand) I have taken up the post.  Time will tell what this will bring, but I look forward to it.  But in looking forward I also look back.

My academic, professional and much of my social life has revolved around Newcastle University for longer than the nearly 18 years I have worked there. I joined the then School of Education in Joseph Cowen House in 1990, to do my PGCE with the relatively new tutor David Leat. Indeed I was the first candidate he ever interviewed for PGCE.  My PGCE was the best transition to professional and educative life I could imagine, and David should take credit for this.  It was a place where we explored ideas, made mistakes, learned to outgrow our embarrassment and naivety as new teachers, gained lifelong friends, and benefitted from mentoring and university tutoring which was absolutely based on the principles of critical friendship, subject enthusiasm and professional allegiance.  We learned how to reframe our perspectives on teaching and learning, and worked hard to learn to teach our subject (Geography) with both rigour and freshness.  This was pre-national curriculum and pre-QTS standards – a world becoming ever harder to recall!  I had placements in Scotswood and Hexham (thank you to Dave Lockwood and Gordon Whitfield my mentors), and went on to be a ‘probationer’ in Durham (thank you to Ian Short for his pragmatic leadership and support) and later a head of department in Prudhoe (thank you to Bill Graham for his subject wisdom and patience).  Much of my practice development and intellectual curiosity was supported by my work in partnership with the local authority advisors and colleagues from other schools, with particular shout-outs to Mel Rockett, Robert Peers, Anne D’Echavaria, James Nottingham and many others.

I have occasionally found myself in the right place at the right time, and the 1990s was just that for me. As a teacher I kept connected to the university in various guises. I was part of the Thinking Through Geography group, a PGCE mentor and occasional visiting tutor and a teacher-coach participant in a Schools Based Research Consortium project on teaching thinking skills.   I joined the university in 2000, having left behind the beckoning era of teacher performance management, threshold pay and league tables. I was an enthusiastic Geography PGCE tutor, enjoying the buzz that job offered of working with a diverse group of motivated student teachers, helping them make sense of education from their new perspectives and helping to sustain local geography departments where so many of them went on to work. The legacy of the teaching thinking skills work was significant and became a core characteristic of both the Geography and wider secondary PGCE in the 2000s.  My own interest in the work of mentors also provided continuity as I transitioned from that role to the university, and aligned with my experiences as a teacher coach in the research project.  Over time I took the lead in the secondary PGCE and then moved on to look the various part-time Masters programmes.  This gave me multiple opportunities to work with teachers from across the region, at all stages of their careers and in all educational sectors. In the last few years my particular interest has been developing the PGCert in Coaching and Mentoring modules. From my modules, and across the M.Ed and Ed.D programmes a significant learning experience for me has always been listening to teachers talk about their work and supervising their research. I have also enjoyed working more directly with a number of North East schools (including Hermitage, Cardinal Hume and Kelvin Grove) to develop and research approaches to professional learning and development, often through coaching. Thank you to all my Newcastle University students, and to the teachers, coaches and mentors I have worked with in schools. I have gained so much from working with you.

And so to my colleagues, without whom none of my enthusiasms for my work would have translated into practice.  My teaching colleagues in PGCE and Masters programmes and my research colleagues in CfLaT have been the most amazing critical friends, collaborators and co-conspirators. The educational landscapes that we inhabit have changed radically over my 18 years at Newcastle University; initial and continuing teacher exists in a topsy turvy world which maps haphazardly onto the changes in the organisations we used to know simply as schools, but now as academies, MATS, teaching schools, (to name just a few), and both our university and the wider HE sector has been transformed through student loans, the REF and global league tables. Through this my colleagues, who are unfortunately too numerous to name individually, have been a constant source of inspiration and challenge.  They know who they are, some are newly appointed, some have departed and others have worked alongside each other for many years.  They are all people who care deeply that education works for all in society; that it offers individuals ways of making sense of their world and allows communities to thrive.  Thank you to you all, for you have continued to teach me that education is of the people and for the people; wherever they (and we) are.

3 months abroad and how the UK changed my mind

One year ago, the idea of going abroad to a Research Internship was just a wish. Now, I have had an experience working with Pam Woolner, at CfLaT in Newcastle University, that helped me grow as a person and researcher.

My first school visit while in Newcastle was to Churchill Community College, accompanied by Alan Strachan and later helped by Wayne Daley, who were keen to make sure I got all the information I needed for my study. The school was built in the 1960s and renovated about 12 years ago, and visiting it opened my eyes to what the British curriculum has to offer with all the department-division and subjects they have, including music and dance (which have their own space).


The second visit, to Whitburn Academy and its 6th Form building, rebuilt in 2009 and 2015 respectively, confirmed the first impression of education in the UK. Walking around the school along with the solicitous and attentive head teacher, Alan Hardie, and my mentor Pam Woolner, confirmed what I, deep down, already knew: the UK presents a different reality from Brazil, with its different relation regarding school facilities and maintenance and treatment regarding pupils and teaching staff.


In my third visit, to Prudhoe High School (a 2016 building),alongside Pam Woolner, Ulrike Thomas and Karen Laing, the point was understand how CfLaT’s research methods are applied to staff and pupils, besides making a tour around the facilities. One more time, I was dazzled by the possibilities the school offers, with media studios, well-equipped art and science labs and the concern of trying to include the building in the community dynamics.


These schools are, in many respects, traditionally-designed ones, with their own reasons. Churchill more because of the time it was first built and then due to willingness to follow the former architectural style, Whitburn because of the former head teacher ideas and beliefs and Prudhoe due to the governmental programme under which it was built (PSBP). However, they do present, as my investigation pointed out, some innovations in terms of school Design Patterns, which are spread around the buildings – even if still shyly –, noticed and cherished by the users.
Therefore, going to the UK taught me a meaningful lesson that has changed my way of seeing things. Traditional facilities can be well-designed and they do have their value. “Updating” thoughts and attitudes to contemporary ones does not mean tearing down buildings when they do not have the new Design Patterns I advocate schools must have today. These changes and diversities can be added in smaller steps [as long as they really are added], as their importance is felt and their good impact on supporting different ways to teach and learn is noticed more and more.

My name is Larissa Negris, I’m Brazilian and I am an Architect and Urban Designer. Investigating School Architecture has been my passion only quite recently, since I am as yet a second-year Master student at UNICAMP, but has got stronger after broadening my views in the UK. I got a glimpse of what education and its infrastructure can be.

Entrepreneurial Competences for School Leadership Teams

Sue Robson, Rene Koglbauer, Ulrike Thomas and Anna Reid from CfLAT and North Leadership Centre, Newcastle University, led an Erasmus+ project ‘Entrepreneurial Competences for School Leadership Teams’ (2014-2016). The project aimed to identify successful entrepreneurial competences from the business world and adapt them to school leadership contexts. Our partners included edEUcation ltd, the European School Heads Association, the Universities of Jyväskylä, Finland and Primorska in Slovenia, and the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania.

Partners worked with schools across Europe to design a programme to enhance the entrepreneurial competences of schools leadership teams (SLTs) and help them to lead and manage schools in a rapidly changing educational environment. The programme includes five modules:

  • Conducting a professional enquiry
  • Strategic Thinking and Visioning
  • Team Building, Personnel Management and Development
  • Communication and Negotiation Skills
  • Financial Resource Mobilisation and Optimisation

The modules and associated resources are free to download from the project website http://www.ec4slt.com.

This blog discusses our work with three schools in the northeast of England that have developed an entrepreneurial model of collaborative school leadership.



Dame Dorothy Primary School: Iain Williamson, headteacher

Springwell Village Primary School: Louse Wiegand, headteacher

St John Boste RC Primary School: Denise Cushlow, headteacher



In 2012 the local authority support for school improvement in Sunderland came to an end. Schools faced the challenge to ensure that the critical professional friendship that helped leaders to evaluate their schools’ performance, identify priorities for improvement and plan effective change should continue. This challenge led the three headteachers to explore a collaborative model as a strategic solution to support improvement in their schools.

The process began in 2013. It involved putting in place a strategic plan for distributed leadership in each of the schools. This began with self-assessment of each school and critically evaluating the other schools. One SLT played the role of the inspection team to assess the performance of the partner school. The third school chaired a meeting between the school and its ‘inspection team’.

The ability to deliver meaningful and thought provoking feedback in a professional and sensitive way is a crucial skill for leaders

senior leadership teams, staff and governors at all three schools

In a retrospective examination of the triad process, interviews with leaders, teaching staff, governors and administrative staff gathered their perceptions of the process. Evidence was also drawn from OFSTED inspection reports.

The SLTs reflect on the process evaluating whether a collaborative leadership model could utilise the leadership strengths across the partnership to contribute to the improvement of all three primary schools.

Evidence drawn from OFSTED inspection reports, data on pupil performance and awards received by each of the schools indicates significant improvements in all three schools.

An OFSTED inspection report for St John Boste School (2016) noted that the ‘dedicated and committed leadership is effective and has led to improvements in the school. Accurate evaluation of strengths and weaknesses in pupils’ performance and the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and action taken promptly to address concerns has led to improved pupil outcomes’. The Ofsted report also noted benefits to governors of the triad model:

Leaders work collaboratively with those from two other schools to share practice. This ‘triad’ enables governors to attend training and share expertise with other governing bodies.

Data from interviews held with leaders, teachers, governors and administrative staff indicate their positive perceptions of the process:

Louise Wiegand noted an initial concern regarding SLT development:

My SLT needed further development in the strategic skills needed to lead long-term meaningful change – where were those meaningful opportunities to come from?

The answer lay in sharing expertise, with SLTs and other staff members worked together across the schools.

The Premises Manager and SLT member at Dame Dorothy commented:

I liked the idea of working with others. If I get the chance to pass on good knowledge or good practice then this is something I am eager to do.

Iain Williamson noted the development of his SLT through their involvement in the triad:

I believe my SLT were the most established of the schools at the formation of the triad but they lacked confidence. Working alongside colleagues who shared similar fears but hadn’t been allowed the opportunities they had gone through gave them a sense of value in the roles they performed. It was at this point that they started to see themselves as I did – as leaders.

Denise Cushlow is very positive about the model. She reflects:

 As we met towards the end of the first year to evaluate the triad and the impact it had had, it was clear that it was something that would continue to grow and develop. Realising the positive impact it had had on us as leaders and on our SLTs inspired us to consider ways in which other members of our teams could benefit and grow.

The Triad partnership has also extended to including the pupils at the three schools who now regularly meet and undertake activities together. These activities are not just ‘fun’ but focus on learning from each other. Recently, for example, the School Council at Dame Dorothy worked together with the other Triad schools in order to ‘share our ideas to improve our schools.’ (School Council Newsletter). One example of the impact of this was outlined by the children:

We visited Springwell Primary School; at Springwell we learned about young leaders which is also used in our school. We heard that they linked their young leaders to an anti-bullying scheme. So since we were given a silver award in anti-bullying we thought it was a good idea to follow.

Although the development of SLTs was the initial focus, the Triad collaborative model has established a life force and energy that cascades into many aspects of school life. Subject leaders, classroom teachers, governors, office and premises staff and pupils have all become part of the network of support. The challenge is now to sustain this energy and allow it to grow further.

2016 Marie Butterworth Prize for Excellence in Practitioner Enquiry


Anne Clough has won the 2016 Marie Butterworth Prize for Excellence in Practitioner Enquiry.  Marie Butterworth was a keen advocate of teacher research, an active participant in a number of ECLS research projects, a CfLaT research fellow and a local deputy head teacher.  ECLS is making this award in her memory to celebrate her enthusiasm and achievements.  Anne was a part-time Masters student whose dissertation related to the choices that English teachers made related to texts to be taught at GCSE and what the significance of their choices were.

She was presented with her award at a CfLaT research tea on 25th January 2017, during which she shared her motivation for the research and her findings.  We were pleased to welcome Steve Jones, Marie’s husband to this event and he was able to talk about how Marie had faced similar decisions as a former Head of English.  Laura Mazzoli Smith, Anne’s supervisor was also present. Anne’s work has relevance due to the current curriculum reform at secondary level in England. During the course of her research Anne gathered questionnaire responses from over 100 English teachers (making good use of twitter to elicit respondents) and undertook interviews with local Heads of English.  Her findings exposed nuances in decision making, but also exposed tensions, for example the restrictions imposed by the current austerity measures as they affect schools and how the curriculum is resourced, and the influence of pragmatic decision making around time and money.

The decisions that were being made about texts to be taught by the subject community enabled her to reflect on questions of cultural and gender representation (of authors and characters), how teachers balanced the risks of teaching new texts compared with the familiarity they had with existing ones, the question of the value given to texts which were considered to have relevance to children’s lives compared to how literature might extend their awareness beyond their own direct experiences.  Her dissertation work was the culmination of meaningful participation in practitioner enquiry throughout her M.Ed degree, and the award is a reflection of Anne’s innovation, attention to detail and reflective and analytical approach.

Anne has recently been appointed as Head of English at St Mary’s Catholic School in Longbenton, Newcastle.  She is using her research in support of the decision making she undertakes in her role, as well as the support and encouragement she can offer colleagues facing curricular and pedagogic decisions.

“I’ll get by with a little help from my friends”: Learning from the past to understand the significance of opportunities for collaborative teacher learning in ITE

This blog post is drawn from part of a key note that I gave at the UCET (University Council for the Education of Teachers) Annual Conference in November 2016.  I chose to draw on the lyrics of John Lennon for my theme, because while each student teacher has to demonstrate individual competence against Teacher Standards (thus gaining QTS) and submits their own work for Masters level assessment (for the award of PGCE), we know that for many of them the opportunities to learn from and with others is critical in their professional and academic development.  In my keynote I considered the significance of learning through collaboration from initial teacher education, through to career long learning, and indeed our own opportunity as teacher educators for learning through collaboration.

I am drawing on the definition of collaboration which was used in a piece of research that Ulrike Thomas and I undertook a couple of years ago.

‘Collaboration is an action noun describing the act of working with one or more other people on a joint project. It can be conceptualised as ‘united labour’ and might result in something which has been created or enabled by the participants’ combined effort.’

In this blog post I will focus on Initial Teacher Education but with a twist. I am interested in what we can learn from the past, and I will draw on three narrative accounts to illustrate this.  We go back several decades in each case.

In the first story there was a young enthusiastic secondary history student teacher. She was studying at Sheffield University. One day at the start of the session her tutor arrives and tells the PGCE group that they have two hours before a minibus is collecting them to go to school to teach a large group of pupils about the Crimean war. By the time they had been dropped off at the school they were armed and ready. There was history, there was drama and of course some imaginary horses. A couple of decades later this was recounted as a particularly memorable early professional learning experience.

Our second story stars an equally young and enthusiastic PGCE primary student teacher. She attended Charlotte Mason College and on this occasion she was taken out of the Lake District to Manchester alongside her peers. On arrival they staged a school take-over. The student teachers were now in charge. They had to quickly orientate themselves to a new and unknown school and then in groups of five or six they had to work as a team to teach a primary class for three days. What this student teacher remembers are the resulting role-plays, simulations and debates about local issues.  Pupils and student teachers were engaged in an immersive learning scenario and there wasn’t a text book or standardised summative assessment that could help them. Twenty-five years later this school take-over is considered to have been a high impact experience for professional learning.

Both of these stories were shared during a small focus group I was conducting for a piece of research on the relationships between developing educational practices and professional learning. Both of the focus group participants are now teacher educators, and indeed hold senior roles in their respective institutions.  With their permission I can share their identities. It was Kerry Jordan-Daus, now of Canterbury Christ Church University who led the charge in the Crimean War episode, and Sam Twisleton of Sheffield Hallam University who was jointly responsible for the school take-over.  They have clearly never looked back.

Kerry Jordan-Daus

During our focus group we analysed what had made these events stand out in long careers of professional learning.  Kerry believed that there was significance in the “Safety in numbers, which allowed [the student teachers] to be creative, to take risks.” She stated that “Collectively we were experts;

some of us knew something about the Crimean War, some of us were drama queens.  We pooled our knowledge and did something incredibly exciting.” Sam reflected on how “We were working intensively together, we were all in there”.  She went on talk about the importance of “observing each other informally, stopping to talk about what we were doing as the learning unfolded.  This allowed us to get inside the teachable moments, creating a dialogic creative context based on a lot of peer constructed learning.” 

Sam Twisleton

So, what about my memories of PGCE? Well, I am sure it would no longer be the ‘done thing’ for my tutor (then David Leat) to arrive at a school with a spiral notebook to observe my lesson and ask afterwards if I’d like the notes ripped out for their later reference. I have a folder in my attic with these and other artefacts from my PGCE and there are no tracking documents, no standards referenced reports and no action plans.  I do however have very strong memories of problem solving lessons with David, indeed at one point a piece of turf from his garden was drying out on his log burner to simulate desertification for a lesson I was due to teach. Some of my most lasting memories of learning during my PGCE, like Sam and Kerry’s, include those associated with collaboration, with tutors, mentors and peers.

The Geography PGCE cohort of 1990-1, Newcastle University, with our tutor David Leat.

So, by luck, design and desire people like Sam, Kerry and I now have a responsibility for today’s student teachers. Unlike us they are exposed to QTS standards, target setting, the implications of OFSTED, new and not fully tested routes into teaching, and other controls on the ITE system.  Add to that the fact that in any mixed group some are sitting on generous bursaries and others are scraping by. How do we, in this complex and in many ways fractured initial teacher education sector, ensure that our current student teachers learn from the sorts of experiences that Kerry and Sam suggest had so much impact on power? How do we create modern day collaborative learning experiences in which our student teachers will experience solidarity with each other and with the learners, will be given permission to be productively creative and do so in a safe space in which each of them can become the best teacher they can be?

Some of our current Newcastle University PGCE students

In a subsequent blog post I will start to address this question, illustrating how we support student teachers to learn through productive collaborative learning opportunities. You might ask why this matters when it is the individual who is awarded the professional qualification and has to stand on their own feet in their classrooms as teachers.  Well, I will address that too. It’s not just about adding a social experience to build in more fun, but because learning as a social practice can make a world of difference in challenging contexts like the teaching profession.

Written by Dr Rachel LofthouseHead of Education, Newcastle University.

CfLaT Newsletter – September 2016 (Issue 25)


  • We are pleased to announce that Jill Clark will be taking over as CfLaT Executive Director from the New Year. Out-going Exec Director, David Leat says, ‘Thanks to everyone who has made my (long) tenure enjoyable’.
  • CfLaT’s directors have this year scored a promotions hat trick, with Rachel Lofthouse and Pam Woolner promoted to Senior Lecturers and Jill Clark to Principal Research Associate.
  • Laura Mazzoli Smith has been appointed as a Research Excellence Academy Fellow — the first to be appointed in this new University research initiative. Laura has also been invited to be a member of the Scientific Committee for the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) 2017 Life History and Biographic Methods conference.
  • Simon Gibbs has had a paper discussing the costs and benefits of educational psychology accepted for ‘Educational Psychology in Practice’. Working with CfLaT’s favourite economist, Ivy Papps, Simon investigated the cost and perceived benefits of the educational psychology services in two comparably small local authorities in England.
  • Laura Mazzoli Smith and Karen Laing have been awarded funding for a project ‘Changing Stories’ that aims to harness the power of life story to support the transition of pupils from backgrounds with historically low participation rates in higher education to get to university. The projects involve a colleague at Bristol University, Dr Sue Timmis, and will also involve collaboration with widening participation staff in the North East Raising Aspiration Partnership.

Community Curriculum Making

Ulrike Thomas and David Leat have run a 9 month project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Fund on Community Curriculum Making.
Ideally this sees schools working with community partners to plan and run meaningful, challenging projects for pupils. While this might sound like familiar territory for some schools, the hallmark is the extent to which the community partners are involved, both in planning and in providing a wide array of resources and experiences from community assets. Our slogan is that pupils need ‘to go places, meet people and do and make valuable things’.

Educational progression becomes more than meeting subject targets and as much about developing social capital, informed aspirations and complex identities. This is hard to achieve sat in a classroom just doing work for your teacher. To extend a famous aphorism ‘it takes a city to raise a child’.

The project culminated in an event in July attended by 70 people. This included a group of students from Belmont School in County Durham (thank you Laura Jackson) who had been taught by community members over the course of a week to play brass instruments, with a public performance at the end of the week. They were going places, meeting people and doing a very valuable thing. There were various other table seminars hosted by schools and community partners. The principle outcomes of the project is a Guide to Community Curriculum Making and an agenda for further action and research. Please contact David or Ulrike if you would like a copy.

In addition David has just completed a book Enquiry and Project Based Learning: Students, School and Society to be published soon by Routledge.

For information, contact David.Leat@ncl.ac.uk or U.Thomas@ncl.ac.uk

CfLaT Showcase: Educational Research for Practice

Rapidly becoming an annual event, the CfLaT research showcase offers teachers, students, school leaders, educational practitioners, academics and policy makers a chance to find out about recent research activities and outcomes. And it’s free to attend!
Presented by members of CfLaT, the showcase will include research presentations and Moot ‘How can we ensure all children achieve?’. As ever, there will be plenty of opportunities for networking. Wednesday, 5th October 4pm-7.30pm, King George VI Building, Newcastle University See programme here.

Register here.

CfLaT welcomes Sam Shields


Sam Shields is a newly appointed lecturer in ECLS who will be teaching research methods to our undergrad, masters and doctoral students.

Sam’s research interests include assessment and feedback, research methodologies for pedagogic research and emotions and power in the learning process. She presented a paper at BERA about pedagogic research methodologies in the Netherlands and the UK. She is in the early stages of collaborating with colleagues in the HungarianNetherlands School of Educational Management on a project called the ‘Learning School: International Comparative Research’. She is looking forward to collaborating with colleagues in CfLAT and is always happy to chat about research.

Contact samantha.Shields@ncl.ac.uk

House of Commons Education Committee


In January this year CfLaT col-leagues submitted evidence to the Education Committee as part of their inquiry into the ‘Purpose of Education’. A condensed ver-sion of our submission was later posted on the BERA Blog (https://www.bera.ac.uk/blog/some-thoughts-on-the-purpose-of-education). Following that, in July Simon Gibbs received an in-vitation to attend a conference convened by the committee as part of their ongoing inquiry into the ‘Quality and Purpose of Edu-cation in England’. Here Simon reflects on the experience .

The day consisted of a mix of invited speeches (including Gert Biesta, Daisy Christodoulou, Dame Alison Peacock, Michael Young, Mary Beard) and a range of ‘breakout sessions’ in which we were invited to discuss specific topics – choosing two from ten. I opt-ed to join one led by Anna Vignoles that was devoted to ‘Social mobility in education’; and the other, led by Ste-phen Drew, headteacher of Brent-wood County High School that was focussed on ‘Behaviour and discipline’. Other groups considered ‘Employability’, ‘Parental engage-ment’, ‘’Primary assessment’, ‘Standards’, ’14-19 assessment’, ‘Educating outdoors’, ‘Expressive arts and creativity’ and ‘well-being and mindfulness’.

During the course of the day we also heard from representatives of Swiss and Finnish governments who gave us rather different perspectives on how education might be envisioned and operationalised.

During one of the breaks I was able to talk with Neil Carmichael, who chairs the Education Committee and noted the breadth and diversity of topics under consideration and won-dered about how it might be possible to arrive at any meaningful conclu-sions. He admitted that the ‘strategy’ was deliberate and part of an open-ended inquiry and that the committee was determined to pursue the issue.
Mary Beard, who perhaps might at first seem an unlikely key-note speak-er at such a conference, reminded us that education has been a ‘political football’, since at least 399BC (see the copy of her speech here) She admit-ted that for her ‘education in the broadest sense is one of the most elusive subjects in the human scienc-es’ and concluded by suggesting that we might ‘abolish a few paper trails and initiatives, trust the judgement of teachers on the ground more – and in general ‘loosen up’’.

For me that sounds like good common sense but not, I fear, a prescription that may sit comfortably with Neil Carmichael and his committee col-leagues. I sensed a genuine intellec-tual fascination with the issue (what is the purpose of education?) but the committee may be unable to locate best fulcrum for the lever of change.

In the context of Brexit, grammar schools and the balance of power at home and internationally who is going to really give a fig for education? Alt-hough the Finns are overhauling their education policies, even they fear the incursions of realpolitik and the cold heart of international economics. For the foreseeable future I suspect the voice of folk like Daisy Christodoulou (‘‘Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!’ said Mr Gradgrind’) will be more likely attended to than the wis-dom of Gert Biesta. Sad times and Hard Times (again).

Poverty Proof Schooling


Laura Mazzoli Smith and Liz Todd have been engaged in an evalua-tion of a high-impact Children North East audit called ‘Poverty Proofing the School Day.’

Their evaluation produced a report, which has been widely circulated and taken up, and was part of a BERA presentation on community-led school reform in September.

The evaluation and work around the concept of poverty-proofing formed part of an event hosted by CfLaT on July 12th, ‘The Impact of Poverty on Education – New Evidence on an Old Problem’ with invited speakers Profes-sor Ruth Lupton from Manchester Uni-versity, Sara Bryson from Children North East and Irene Cussó Parcerisas from Ramon Llull University, Barcelo-na.
Laura has also recorded a short Youtube video for teachers and teach-ers-in-training on the key principles of the poverty-proofing process, available here

For more information, contact: laura.mazzolismith@ncl.ac.uk

Research Tea Timetable


Our Wednesday Research teas aim to provide an informal forum for discursive exami-nation of emerging research themes and concepts.

Tea and cakes will be available from 3.45pm in the Centre base (KGVI 2.50), unless other wise stated, with the session officially beginning at 4pm.

21st September: Angelika Strohmayer, Open Lab – Researching With Charities in Socially Complex Spaces

19th October: Alan Strachan, Director of Extended Services (Wallsend Area) – Wallsend Children’s Community: A model of partnership working.

16th November: Liz Todd, Laura Mazzoli Smith and Karen Laing, CfLaT – Out of School Activities and the Attainment Gap

Further information about the research teas from laura.mazzolismith@newcastle.ac.uk
or from the Centre website (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/cflat/news/Teas.htm).

Hello Kim!

CfLaT is delighted that Kim Cowie has been appointed as a Lecturer in Education specialising in Profession-al Learning.


Kim previously taught in a number of lo-cal schools, most recently being Deputy Head at Park View in Chester-le– Street. While there she was an enthusiastic col-laborator in the Community Curriculum network initiated by David Leat and Ulrike Thomas.

Contact Kim: kim.cowie@ncl.ac.uk


CfLaT was present in strength at both the European and British education research conferences, ECER and BE-RA.

We took papers on CfLaT projects, but also used the opportunity to present with academics from other universities, across the UK and Europe who are partners in our research. See page 4 for details of our papers and please do contact col-leagues for further information.

This Year’s Conference Papers: Oct 2015 – Sept 2016

Baumfield, V., Hall, E., Lofthouse, R. & Wall, K. (2016) What do we mean when we talk about practice? Working in partnership to understand teachers’ labour, work and action in the classroom, ECER, Dublin, 23-26 Aug 2016.
Clark, J. and Laing, K. (2016) Making connections: Theory and practice of using visual methods to aid participation in research, Youth Matters: Moving from the margins, Newcastle University, 8-9 June 2016.
Clark, J. and Laing, K. (2016) Working with young people around crime and anti-social behaviour: exploring the capacity for change in their communities, North East Crime Research Network Conference, Northumbria University, 7 April 2016.
Koglbauer, R. (2016) Invited Keynote on Professional Development Programmes for School Leaders, Leadership Conference, Hebei (China), May 2016.
Koglbauer, R. (2016) Languages, Language Learning in the UK – The Now and The Future A reflection by the President of the Association for Language Learning. Keynote, Languages in HE conference, University of Warwick, UK, July 2016.
Laing, K. and Clark, J. (2016) Capacity building in research skills and methods: In-volving young people as agents of change, BERA, Leeds, 13– 15 Sept 2016.
Laing, K. Mazzoli Smith, L. and Todd, L. (2016) Out of school activities and the edu-cation gap, ECER, Dublin, 23-26 Aug 2016
Laing, K. Mazzoli Smith, L. and Todd, L. (2016) Out of school hours activities: looking at school staff, parent and pupil meanings and theories, BERA, Leeds, 13-15 Sept 2016
Laing, K. (2016) Understanding the relationship between out of school activities and attainment, BERA, Leeds, 13-15 Sept2016.
Laing, K. & Lofthouse, R. (2016) The role of models as tools in the ecology of re-search and practice partnerships, ECER, Dublin, 23-26 Aug 2016.
Leat, D. and Thomas, U. (2016) Curriculum Brokerage Between Schools and Commu-nities, ECER, Dublin, 23-26 Aug 2016.
Lofthouse, R. (2015) Carving out a CPD role for university expertise; sustaining impact and relationships, University Council for the Education of Teachers Annual Conference, Birmingham, 3 – 4 November 2015
Lofthouse R., Davies, P., Davies, D., Greenway, C. & Kirkman, J. (2016) Trainee teachers’ conceptions of their own learning: does context make a difference? BERA, Leeds, 13– 15 Sept 2016.
Lofthouse, R. (2016) Lesson study as part of ITTE: learning promise or clumsy com-promise? Teacher Education Advancement Network Conference, Aston University, May 5th- 6th 2016.
Lofthouse, R. (2016) A chance to learn through inter-professional practice develop-ment; coaching teachers to develop communication-rich pedagogies in multi-cultural settings, Teacher Education Policy in Europe Network Conference, Univer-sity of Malta, May 19th – 21st 2016.
Lofthouse, R. (2016) How can we help them? Coaching and Mentoring in Initial Teacher Professional Development, ITE Mentoring Conference, University of Roe-hampton, 5th July 2016.
Mazzoli Smith, L. (2016) Working with gatekeepers: young people, power relations and permission to speak, Youth Matters: Moving from the margins, Newcastle University, 8-9th June 2016.
Mazzoli Smith, L (2016) Initiatives designed to support pupils in areas of socio-economic disadvantage – a contradiction in terms? BERA, Leeds, 13– 15 Sept 2016.
Reid, A. (2016) Leadership workshop, North East Teaching Schools Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne, 27 June 2016.
Reid, A. (2016) Leadership development in the North-East of England, Headteacher Leadership and Professional Development Conference, Baoding (China), 8 May 2016.
Reid, A. (2016) Leadership, identity and agency: methods to explore dialogical selves, BELMAS/BERA Educational Leadership SIG event, Newcastle, 26 Apr 2016.
Reid, A. and Koglbauer, R. (2016) How can Bernstein’s (1996) concepts of ‘classification’ and ‘framing’ be used to explore the development of programmes for school leaders in the North East of England?, BELMAS, Carden Park, 8-10 July 2016.
Reid, A., Lofthouse, R. and Leat, D. (2016) Our dialogical selves: developing an analytical framework for exploring practitioner identity and agency, BERA, Leeds, 13– 15 Sept 2016.
Robson, S. (2016) Keynote, Researching Educational Leadership: conceptual and methodological challenges. BERA/BELMAS seminar. Newcastle, 26 Apr 2016.
Robson, S. (2016) Becoming international: academic perceptions and practices of internationalising higher education. ECER, Dublin, 23-26 Aug 2016.
Robson, S. (2016) Keynote, East Asian Research Group Anniversary Seminar: Bene-fits and Challenges of Internationalisation in a competitive global environment. Hull, Mar 2016
Robson, S. and Koglbauer, R. (2016) Invited Plenary, Leading Creative and Produc-tive Teams School Business Manager Conference (Schools North East, UK), July 2016.
Shields, S. (2016) Researching Assessment: An analysis of the methodological tradi-tions in the UK and Netherlands, BERA, Leeds, 13– 15 Sept 2016.
Woolner, P. and Thomas, U. (2016) A school for the future: design, democracy and student expectations in England 2016. ECER, Dublin, 23-26 Aug 2016.
Woolner, P. and Thomas, U. (2016) Flexibility in the HE learning environment: defini-tions, desires and the potential of new designs of furniture to enhance it. ECER, Dublin, 23-26 Aug 2016.
Woolner, P. and Thomas, U. (2016) Change and stasis within design and practice over three decades in an English primary school. ECER, Dublin, 23-26 Aug 2016.
Wysocki, L. (2016) Setting boundaries, communicating, and reflecting: 3 projects using comics as a method, Graphic

For more information, please see our website: www.ncl.ac.uk/cflat

Simple measures can poverty proof the school day for pupils

Looking at classmate

A scheme to help disadvantaged pupils has been shown to increase attendance and attainment in schools.

Remove barriers to learning

The Poverty Proofing the School Day toolkit, created by charity Children North East and evaluated by Newcastle University experts, aims to remove barriers to learning for the poorest students, who may not have access to the correct uniform, PE kit or computers to carry out their homework. This means they can be stigmatised at school through no fault of their own.

The scheme advocates schools use simple measures to help youngsters living in poverty get more out of the school day. It includes steps such offering students a free drink and snack before exams, improving IT access, more breakfast clubs, changing the ways school meals and uniforms are administered and cutting the number of non-uniform days. These small steps can prevent poorer students being discriminated against during the school day.

‘Poverty Proofing the School Day’ does a great service in reminding us all why it is still so difficult for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to do well in the English education system in the 21st century.
Dr Laura Mazzoli Smith

Positive impact

An independent evaluation of the project by Dr Laura Mazzoli Smith and Professor Liz Todd from Newcastle University’s School of Education, Communications Language Sciences, found evidence of the scheme’s positive impact in schools across the North East, North Lincolnshire and Glasgow.

Their research showed increased engagement at school with the most disadvantaged pupils, including improved attendance, attainment, uptake of free school meals and uptake of school trips and music tuition.

Six schools in North Lincolnshire noted a rise in attendance for pupils eligible for free school meals, with one school noting a 7% increase. Seven North Lincolnshire schools reported increased attainment of pupils on free school meals at Key Stages 1, 2 and 4.

A total of 28 schools have taken part in the scheme so far, with a further 23 additional schools waiting to take part.

Dr Mazzoli Smith said: “This is one of the most important projects I have been involved in my time at Newcastle University.

“By uncovering the myriad ways in which children living in poverty can be stigmatised at school, ‘Poverty Proofing the School Day’ does a great service in reminding us all why it is still so difficult for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to do well in the English education system in the 21st century.

“It is the hidden, unwitting nature of this stigmatisation that is of particular concern. However, as the evaluation highlights, there are a raft of positive steps schools can take to prevent this from happening and to work towards a positive school culture where such practices are unlikely to occur.”

High cost to families

Liz Todd, Professor of Educational Inclusion said: “‘State schooling is supposed to be free. In fact, the cost to families is high. Uniform, food, equipment, study support and other activities central to becoming a successful adult, not optional add-ons. Our research suggests that attainment gains follow when schools take action.

“Schools already pay a lot of attention to the social needs of students. However, this research has demonstrated that there are many way that school systems unwittingly stigmatise poorer students. It takes Children North East’s Poverty Proofing Audit process, a critical friend talking to everyone in the school, for the school staff to see what is happening and to evolve solutions that are respectful to students.”

‘Child poverty has increased in the last 6 years and we are seeing schools as a frontline organisation to support families by paying for many things families cannot pay for – even down to feeding children. At the same time school budgets are being reduced. There is a limit to the extent to which schools can compensate for the impact of low wages and welfare cuts. A response is therefore needed from the government to reduce child poverty.”

Sarah Bryson, Policy and Research Manager at Children North East, said: “The pressure of the rising cost of the school day, from school trips, tuition, and uniforms has a significant effect, not only on pupils, but their families too. We want to limit this stress and encourage pupils to have a positive experience at school, which all contributes to helping children to grow up healthy and happy.
“We know Poverty Proofing the School Day supports pupils living in poverty to improve their future prospects by helping them to be engaged throughout the day by reducing discrimination which can often alienate pupils and lead to a lack of interest and motivation in education.”

Taken from Newcastle University Press Office.

Written by Laura Mazzoli Smith, Research Associate.

The Case for a Community Curriculum Making

Picture the scene, it is Monday afternoon and twenty 14 year olds are listening with rapt attention to a group of elderly men and women.  Some are writing furiously while others are using their mobile phones to record what is being said.  Back at school with the guidance of their teacher the students will spend the week crafting beautiful stories. The spelling and punctuation will be accurate, the presentation stunning.  On Friday, the students will revisit their new friends and present them with their Story. There will be tears on both sides and teachers and care workers will look on with pleasure as they see the generations collide in an exquisite display of affection and understanding.


This is CCM in action and is a real example taken from Park View School; I could give you many others.  The students are Year 9, the teacher is Alison Moore.  Alison has planned everything meticulously. She has talked to the care home manager and the residents.  She has briefed the students and worked with them to plan how they will conduct their interviews and the importance of listening with respect and understanding and of course of being dressed smartly.  She has discussed with the students how they might present their finished work and has helped them plan their return visit.

Alison has planned for all eventualities however, she could not have anticipated how emotionally engaged the students would become and how their desire to represent the lives of the residents would drive their desire to ensure that they produced beautiful, meaningful and honest work.  Nor could she have anticipated the emotions that would overwhelm both residents and students when the stories were presented framed and gift wrapped.  There were laughter and joy but also tears and sadness for a life once lived but now gone. Rarely do young and old have the opportunity to share something so powerful.


Such an experience enriches the lives of both young and old and is at the very heart of why CCM is so important.  If we wish our communities and our young people to grow and prosper to be compassionate and kind we must make this part of the way we organise our schools and plan our education.  This is how we build social capital and never has that been so important. Building social capital is absolutely critical in our increasingly complex and chaotic world, a world in which young people and their families are faced with evermore challenging economic and social circumstances. At Park View 26% (and rising) of our school population are Pupil Premium and increasing numbers of them are ‘Looked After’. Yet hidden behind these statistics is a darker story, the families who do not qualify for Pupil Premium but are struggling to cope with the demands of daily life and the many young people and their carers facing the catastrophic fallout from declining mental health.

Ron Berger (The Ethics of Excellence) talks about the need for authentic audiences to inspire young people to create beautiful work, which is what Alison enabled.  Keri Facer (Learning Futures) talks of the need for schools to really be the centre of their communities and Mick Waters (Thinking allowed on Schooling) tells us that it is social capital that will rescue children and their families from poverty not ‘intervention and catch-up’. Waters passionately believes that schools should give young people the skills and the courage to network to challenge themselves to meet their aspirations.  They need to be able to be able to present themselves with skill and confidence.  They need to experience the richness of their cultural heritage, just as their ‘better off’ peers do.  Money and connections may not buy happiness but it at least makes prosperity more likely.


I would like to say that the scene I painted in the opening paragraphs was the everyday story of Park View.  It is not.  You will find examples of such richness throughout the year as teachers fight to preserve the joy in learning, but general such experiences take place at the end of the Summer Term in ‘Enrichment Week’.  They do not inform the mainstream curriculum which is increasingly constrained and restricted by a government hell bent on returning to the 1950’s.  The teaching profession must stand against this and CCM is a powerful method of reasserting our independence and our commitment to nurturing creative and compassionate young people.  If we choose to accept this ‘Impossible Mission’ I have no doubt that together schools and their communities can build a fairer society in which all are valued and all can succeed.   The case for ‘Community Curriculum Making’ has never been so strong.

Written by Kim Cowie
May 2016 – Park View School
Kim Cowie has recently been appointed as Lecturer in Education specialising in Professional Learning and will join the ECLS team in September 2016. 

CfLaT Newsletter – May 2016 (Issue 24)


Coming soon: a new look for CfLaT. This is the last issue of the Newsletter that will look like this. In the summer, we will be launching our refreshed website and new CfLaT symbol. The Newsletter will be redesigned to match!

Anna Reid has been awarded a £2,000 ULTSEC innovation fund award to promote internationalisation, diversity and academic excellence through an extended induction programme.

Karen Laing recently travelled to Groningen in the Netherlands with NISR colleagues to attend the first meeting – in a usual venue – of the brand new European project ACCOMPLISSH. This project, with Liz Todd and NISR, aims to explore how academia, business, government and society members can work together to co-create research for maximum impact. Watch this space for more information as the project develops!

BERA/BELMAS Leadership SIG was in Newcastle last month. The link to the presentations and information about the event is here.

FaSMEd Consortium meeting in Cape Town, South Africa


It is difficult to believe that the FaSMEd project is now two years in! In February 2016, we held our consortium meeting in Cape Town wonderfully hosted by our South African partners at AIMSSEC.

This was a significant meeting as we reflected on Work Packages and how we take things forward in the final year. In recent months, each partner has completed a huge body of work – our case studies – which are an essential and very fruitful source of data from our interventions. This was our first opportunity to share our case studies and initial findings across all partners. We dedicated significant time to discussing the analysis of our interventions and case studies.

We were also able to present our latest (work in progress) version of the web-based toolkit. This is being designed by a local Newcastle-based graphic design company called Ready Salted. This company has a great deal of experience of working with the University and so the process of producing the website has been very straightforward.

One of the highlights of the programme was our visits to some of the schools that our South African partners have been working with during the FaSMEd project. We visited three contrasting schools in the area. Each visit took place in the morning and then we returned to Muizenburg for our meetings. The school visits were both inspiring and thought-provoking, and illustrated the differences of the schools, and schooling, compared to some of our partner schools. Our inclusion of a South African partner has always been prompted by the fact that there are such obvious differences and that we can learn from them, and our visits really brought this to life for all.


Friday 8th July 2016, 8.45 am-3.30 pm, at the Herschel Learning Lab, Herschel Building, Newcastle University.

Ulrike Thomas and David Leat have been working on a project on Community Curriculum Making. It is being undertaken with six school-community partnerships, focuses on Project Based Learning, and is producing a school guide to the process. Brokerage is emerging as a critical factor. There is a free project event on July 8th at the university.

Click here to book your place

The value of Clubs

New research just released by CfLaT colleagues Liz Todd and Karen Laing explores the link between the activities children take part in outside school time and their attainment.
Findings point to an association between attending after school clubs and increased attainment for disadvantaged children. The research was conducted in collaboration with NatCen and ASK Research and has generated wide interest in the media. The full report can be accessed here

Readable summaries of the research can be accessed here.

For more information about the study, please contact Liz Todd 

New links in China

Issue 24- May 2016

René Koglbauer and Anna Reid were guests of honour at a regional headteacher conference in Baoding, China at the beginning of May.

The conference was attended by approximately 300 Chinese Headteachers and government officials. René signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Baoding Education Bureau and Newcastle University on behalf of Professor Cholerton (PVC for Teaching and Learning). Click here to read the regional press.

University funding for three CfLaT researchers

Simon Gibbs, Pam Woolner and Rachel Lofthouse have each been awarded funds by the Pro-Vice Chancellor to pursue important lines of research over the next year.

Simon has been granted funds to develop his work on the effects on teachers’ beliefs of labels applied to children and their behaviour. The funds will allow him to work with colleagues in Finland and Sweden, build on an earlier study (Gibbs & Elliott, 2015) but with a more sophisticated design to establish if specific labels affect teachers’ perceptions of their efficacy. In the context of current debates about the nature and purpose of education, it is important to consider how are children described, but also to recognise that the effect of such descriptions may vary depending on linguistic, cultural and legislative factors.

This work is highly salient in the context of increasing prevalence of the use of diagnostic labels and major concerns about children’s ‘mental health. Many professionals are now worried that the use of such terminology and the quasi-medical labels will lead to further increases in referrals for psychiatric services and disable or de-skill school staff.

Pam’s funded project will examine how changing the built environment is understood and experienced – as it happens – in a local school that is be-ing rebuilt. The research will investigate the extent and nature of any impacts on attitudes and behaviour through a ‘before and after’ research design. Data from ‘before’ have now been collected and are being analysed. Comparison data will be collected next February. The next stage will centre on feedback to the school as they prepare for their new start in the new building in September. An intention of the research is to assist the school in maximising the benefits and minimising the stresses involved in managing the move.

Rachel is going to use her funding from the Pro-Vice Chancellor to sup-port her research project: ‘Practice development and workplace learning’. The purpose of this is to test the value of a new practice development led model for individual professional learning and institutional growth which recognizes the complex ecology of successful professional learning in and for the workplace. In order to further develop this work Rachel will conduct focus groups in a range of educational settings spanning early years to HE, and at different scales (individual schools or units, school alliances and a local authority).

Focus groups are underway, but Rachel would be keen to hear from colleagues in any educational settings who would like to participate in this research. Please contact her via email Rachel.Lofthouse@ncl.ac.uk

Pam visits school in South Tyrol


In April, Pam Woolner was invited to Bressanone / Brixen in the Italian South Tyrol to talk about, think about and visit school buildings.

Pam spoke about participation methods at a half-day symposium about school design held at the Freie Uni-versität Bozen. The following day, she was part of an interdisciplinary group of academics from Iceland, Portugal and Germany who visited some innovative schools. The schools, within a high mountain region and some with very small rolls, are part of a federation of primary and secondary schools. They follow Italian education policy but are German-medium schools within this bilingual region.


The federation principal, Josef Watschinger, led the tour of four schools and explained his ’pedagogic concept’. This vision, honed over the last 16 years, aims to develop autonomous learners taking responsibility for their learning within a supportive school community, intimately linked with the local community. Mr Watschinger has come to believe that the physical environment has a key part to play: he has been involved with designing a new school, but also with refitting older buildings to fit the federation’s educational values and needs.

Research Tea Timetable (Summer 2016)

Research teas aim to provide an informal forum for discursive examination of emerging research themes and concepts. Tea and cakes will be available from 3.45pm in the Centre base (KGVI 2.50), unless otherwise stated, with the session officially beginning at 4pm.

18th May: David Leat and Ulrike Thomas – Community Curriculum Making
15th June: Rachel Lofthouse – Practice development and workplace learning
13th July: Anna Reid – Supporting the final assessment of NPQ programmes

Further information about the research teas from laura.mazzolismith@newcastle.ac.uk
or from the Centre website.

Publications 2015/16

Chanfreau J, Tanner E, Callanan M, Laing K, Skipp A, and Todd L. (2016) Out
of school activities during primary school and KS2 attainment . ESRC Centre
for Longitudinal Studies Working Paper Series.
Barrow, W. (2015). ‘I think she’s learnt how to sort of let the class speak’:
Children’s perspectives on Philosophy for Children as participatory pedagogy.
Thinking Skills and Creativity, 17, 76-87.
Laing K, Mazzoli Smith L, Todd L. (2016) Educating urban youth: fair or foul?.
In: Davoudi,S; Bell,D, ed. Justice and Fairness in the City: A multidisciplinary
approach to ‘ordinary’ cities. Bristol, UK: Policy Press, pp.231-
Leat D, Lofthouse R, and Reid A.(2015) Does teacher research fit with school
improvement?. Professional Development Today, 17(4), 50-58.
Leat, D., Lofthouse, R. and Thomas, U. (2015) How to … make the case for
Enquiry and Project Based Learning, Professional Development Today 18(2)
Leat D, Lofthouse R, and Thomas U. (2015) Implementing Enquiry and Project
Based Learning – Revolution or Evolution?. Education Today, 65(2), 12-17.
Leat, D. and Thomas, U. (2015) How to …plan Enquiry and Project Based
Learning, Professional Development Today 18(2)
Leat, D. and Lofthouse, R. (2015) How to … lead Enquiry and Project Based
Learning and the professional learning of EPBL teachers, Professional Development
Today, 18(2)
Leat, D. and Thomas, U. (2015) How to … develop brokerage for Enquiry and
Project Based Learning, Professional Development Today, 18(2)
Lofthouse R. (2015) Learning in landscapes of practice: boundaries, identity,
and knowledgeability in practice-based learning. International Journal of
Clinical Legal Education, 22(2).
Lofthouse R, Flanagan J, and Wigley B. (2015) A new model of collaborative
action research; theorising from inter-professional practice development.
Educational Action Research
Mazzoli Smith L, Laing K. (2016) Creating a transformational space through
narrative: Looked after young people tell their life stories. In: Formenti, L;
West, L, ed. Stories that Make a Difference: Exploring the collective, social
and political potential of narratives in adult education research. Milan: Pensa
Multimedia, 2016, pp.247-255.
Mazzoli Smith L and Campbell RJ. (2016) So-called Giftedness and Teacher
Education: Issues of Equity and Inclusion. Teachers and Teaching , 22(2).
Melville, A., Laing, K. and Stephen, F. (2015) Multi-agency approaches to resolving
family law problems: Can lawyers be involved? In: Eekelaar, J. and
Maclean, M. ed. Delivering Family Justice in Late Modern Society, Bloomsbury.
Moxham B, McHanwell S, Plaisant O, Pais D. (2015) A core syllabus for the
teaching of neuroanatomy to medical students. Clinical Anatomy. 28(6):706-
Robson, S. (2015) Internationalisation of the curriculum: meanings, motives
and methods. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice. 3 (3)
Smith C, Finn GM, Stewart J, McHanwell S. (2016) Anatomical Society core
regional anatomy syllabus for undergraduate medicine: the Delphi process.
Journal of Anatomy, 228(1), 2-14.
Smith C, Finn GM, Stewart J, Atkinson M, Davies DC, Dyball R, Morris J, Ockleford
C, Parkin I, Standring S, Whiten S, Wilton J, McHanwell S. (2016)The
Anatomical Society core regional anatomy syllabus for undergraduate medicine.
Journal of Anatomy , 228(1), 15-23.
Smith CF, Finn GM, Stewart J, Lee TC, Gillingwater TH, McHanwell S. (2016) A
new core gross anatomy syllabus for medicine. Anatomical Sciences Education,
9(2), 209-210.
Woolner, P. (2016) The school in the city. In S. Davoudi and D. Bell eds. Justice
and Fairness in the City. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 49-68
Woolner, P and Tiplady, L. (2016) Adapting School Premises as Part of a Complex
Pedagogical Change Programme. In: Stadler-Altmann,U, ed. (English)
Learning Environment. Educational and Architectual Views on Schoolbuildings
and Classrooms. (German) Lernumgebungen. Erziehungswissenschaftliche
und architekturkritische Perspektiven auf Schulgebäude und Klassenzimmer.
Opladen/Berlin/Toronto: Barbara Budrich, pp.69-81.
Wright D, Clark J, Tiplady L. (2015) Making learning visible in mathematics with
technology. Mathematics Teaching, 249, 30-36.
Wright D, Clark J, Tiplady L. (2015) Raising achievement through formative
assessment in science and mathematics education (FaSMEd) British Society
for Research into Learning Mathematics 35 (2).

BERA blog update

CfLaT members are continuing to make contributions to the British Educational
Research Association’s multi-authored blog. Follow the links below to read
the latest:

Jill Clark
Simon Gibbs:
Rachel Lofthouse:
Laura Mazzoli Smith:

BERA blog posts are welcomed from practitioners and researchers in education.
If you are interested in writing between 500-750 words contact Rachel.
Lofthouse@ncl.ac.uk as she is one of the blog editors.

Using visual methods to help us move from researching on to researching with

My recently completed PhD (Clark, 2015) explored my 23-year long (meandering) academic journey through participatory research. I have always been interested in how we can do research differently by working in a more co-productive way. Participatory research in itself is not new, but it is certainly a hot topic. In my thesis I discussed the structural (and challenging) issues of arranging participatory research whilst recognising the value of it. In practice, as researchers, we are constrained (to a greater or lesser extent) by the needs of funders, and commissioners. The reality is that research is often not funded or designed to facilitate suitable methodologies for conducting research in a participatory way.

My early work offered quite a naive view that children and young people should be involved at all times at all levels, and like other researchers, relied on the simplistic ladder-type models of participation which were prevalent at that time. However, now I hold a more refined view that it is not always appropriate to involve participants at all levels and at all times. Throughout my work, I have been developing ideas on how visual methods in particular can be participatory and why visual research methods work based on the ideas of participation. Visual methods work is not new (see for example, Margolis and Pauwels, 2011; Rose, 2012), but is a recent emergence within educational research, with a growth of interest. Data can be created by the researcher, the participants, can be found or berepresentations. Visual methods produce and use a range of data including drawings, photographs, maps, cartoons, sketches, video, graffiti, models and graphical representations, and it is this breadth of choice which inspired me to apply such methods in my research. Much of this involves enhancing the traditional interview and focus groups through using visual items, such as photographs, pictures or diagrams to mediate interviews and discussions.

enhancing the traditional interview and focus groups through using visual items, such as photographs, pictures or diagrams to mediate interviews and discussions

I suggest that we can manage a research encounter with reference to visual methods and the added value that this can bring to participatory research. I first raised the question of whether certain methods are more appropriate to particular groups of participants and whether there is a benefit to using a range of methods over attempting to identify one successful method. What I have learnt is that participatory research it is not simply a matter of grafting a few new techniques onto a ‘traditional’ research process. Technique is not enough (Boyden and Ennew, 1997) but I would argue that the methods do matter, and can make a difference. No research is inherently participatory: it is largely through its application that research becomes participatory. Within education, student voice is understood as being central to this debate and the implication of the term that students are a homogenous group can take us down the wrong path and focus on ‘how to do it’ rather than a reflective review of ‘why we might want to do it.

In my thesis I articulated the benefits that visual methods in addition to participatory research can bring. The argument is based on the premise that by being participatory and inclusive we can seek the views of as wide a range of participants as possible. I agree with other researchers that participatory methods can produce ‘better’ knowledge than other techniques. By using visual methods then we are able to ask things in a different way, thus generating a combination of views from many different people. This in turn can generate different types of knowledge, leading to a more complete research process and therefore the research as a whole is better.

I believe we are not spectators in the world, but are active participants in the evolution of reality and much of my work is about the relationship between the way we interact in and with the physical world. How we do this is challenging, and I suggest that visual methods with participatory research can offer exciting places – and spaces – for knowledge creation and exchange. Participatory research with visual methods, I conclude, is a good vehicle for us to creatively explore lived experiences – and a wide range of subjective viewpoints – in a more collaborative environment than traditional research encounters.


Clark, J. (2015) The journey of researching on to researching with – theoretical and methodological challenges within educational research, PhD Thesis, Newcastle University.

Margolis, E. and Pauwels, L. (2011) (Eds.) The Sage Handbook of Visual Research Methods. London: Sage.

Rose, G. (2012) Visual Methodologies: An introduction to researching with visual materials. Sage, CA.

Taken from the BERA website.

Jill Clark is a Senior Research Associate and Business Development Director of CfLaT and has worked as an academic researcher for over 23 years. Although now working in the field of educational research, Jill has a background in Social Sciences research. Jill has extensive experience in the formulation of research design and methodology, and has specialist knowledge and experience of the application of qualitative research methods such as participant observation, and conducting in-depth, sensitive, interviews and focus group discussions. Her research interests have a strong focus on the experiences – and views – of young people and participatory research and visual methods are a growing passion. Projects (among others) include researching thinking and communication skills in prisons, a co-production policing research project and a JRF study of alcohol programmes in Scotland.

A new direction for gifted education studies?

Research on ‘giftedness’ and ‘gifted education’ often feels like a marginalised endeavour, one which is quite rightly viewed by many as elitist. We have ample evidence to demonstrate that those with the most cultural capital are also those most likely to appear on registers of gifted and talented pupils (Campbell et al 2007), despite a National Strategy (1997-2011) designed in large part to disrupt this pattern of cultural reproduction. Why then do we continue to label individual students as ‘gifted and talented’? The terminology of giftedness has no agreed definition (Freeman 1998), was not recommended by the Select Committee (1999) advising the New Labour government, and essentialises ability in a particularly unhelpful way, carrying overtones of something bestowed on a lucky few. Why are we seemingly trapped in an essentialist logic of natural difference, despite a professional community ambivalent to such practices at best and resistant at worst (Radnor et al 2007), and a wealth of educational research based on a social justice agenda providing ample critiques (e.g. Borland 2005).

There are a variety of possible reasons why we are where we are, but I have suggested that the theoretical and disciplinary divide in research in the field contributes to the lack of progress (Mazzoli Smith 2014). Whilst sociological work on giftedness has done much to critique the normative thinking in educational and differential psychology, its impact only goes so far. Tending to adopt a constructivist stance, sociological approaches are largely conceived around critiques of the construct of giftedness rather than the lived experiences of pupils, parents and teachers. Meanwhile the research base on which the testing and identification movement rests tends to be the preserve of psychologists of education and/or those who advocate on behalf of ‘gifted pupils’. This body of scholarship uses largely empiricist methods and tends to hold to a positivist worldview, often invoking arguments which link gifted youth to future national prosperity (e.g. Eyre 2011). I see little dialogue between the approaches and few studies which fall outside of their parameters.

It is this impasse between the main bodies of research on giftedness, which I argue contributes to the entrenchment of the status quo. Engagement with the more progressive aspects of the field, focused on contexts that foster optimal development for all learners, rather than colluding with the practicies of elitism, may constitute a step away from them (Mazzoli Smith and Campbell 2016). A greater number of educational researchers could support the growing calls to dispense with such anachronistic terminology and the practice of individual labelling (e.g. Matthews and Dai 2014). A wider set of research methods could give voice to a wider range of stakeholders on these issues, not least students themselves. This in turn would enable a more nuanced understanding of the place of values and beliefs in embedding practices which differentiate (Mazzoli Smith and Campbell 2012). To my mind such understanding is crucial for progress, since what is needed is the kind of research impact that not only changes policy and practice in this area, but discourses and cultures around giftedness too.

My research has yielded narratives about being labelled ‘gifted and talented’ which, analysed on a number of different levels, reveal deeply felt, normative, contradictory and contingent beliefs and values which cannot be adequately explained through either a constructivist or an individualistic lens. To bring such patterns into view requires a wider set of research methods than are currently the norm in this area. A more diverse body of research could also play its part in mitigating the increasingly instrumental discourses of individual achievement which continue to assail the educational landscape, through recourse to a broader and richer dialogue about human flourishing. By remaining a marginal endeavour however, the field is polarised around particular arguments, which limit the tools we give ourselves to effect a much needed sea change in this area. As Michael Apple (1996) says, we should invest in a process of participation in the creation of meanings and values and nowhere is this more needed that in the field of gifted education studies.

Taken from BERA

Written by Laura Mazzoli Smith who is currently a member of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University, where her research interests are in the areas of social justice, widening participation and access to HE, out-of-school learning, and the potential of narrative and life story research to reveal and disrupt deficit discourses in education.


Apple, M. W. (1996). Cultural politics and education. The John Dewey lecture series. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Borland, J. H. (2005). Gifted education without gifted children: The case for no conception of giftedness. In R. J. Sternberg and J. E. Davidson (Eds.)Conceptions of Giftedness (2nd ed), 1 – 19. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Campbell, R. J., Muijs, R. D., Neelands, J. G. A., Robinson, W., Eyre, D. and Hewston, R. (2007). The social origins of students identified as gifted and talented in England: a geo‐demographic analysis. Oxford Review of Education, 33(1), 103-120.

Eyre, D. (2011). Room at the top: Inclusive education for high performance. Policy Exchange.

Freeman, J. (1998). Educating the very able: Current international research.London: The Stationery Office.

Matthews, D. J. and Dai, D. Y. (2014). Gifted Education: changing conceptions, emphases and practice. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 24(4), 335-353.

Mazzoli Smith, L. and Campbell, R. J. (2016). So-called giftedness and teacher education: issues of equity and inclusion. Teachers and Teaching, 22(2), 1-13.

Mazzoli Smith, L. (2014). Extending sociological theorising on high ability: the significance of values and lived experience. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 24(4), 354-371.

Mazzoli Smith, L. and Campbell, R. J. (2012) Families, education and giftedness: case studies in the construction of high achievement. Rotterdam and New York: Sense.

Radnor, H., Koshy, V. & Taylor, A. (2007). Gifts, talents and meritocracy.Journal of Educational Policy, 22(3), 283-299.

CfLaT Newsletter January 2016


CfLaT Headlines

Robin Humphrey has been awarded a Principal Fellowship of the UK Higher Education Acade-my for his work on Doctoral Research Training, becoming the fourth Principal Fellow in the University and joining a group of just over 400 in the higher education sector.

Congratulations to Jill Clark on the award of her PhD. Her thesis is entitled: The Journey of re-searching on to researching with –theoretical and methodological challenges within educational research . Dr Clark will formally graduate in the summer ceremony.

Pam Woolner and Lucy Tiplady have a chapter in a German edited collection. The chapter, about change through the Open Futures programme, is in English, but there is a German abstract—thanks to CfLaT colleagues Ulrike Thomas and Alina Schartner!

Following the success of the LTHE programme for Kazakh academics, Anna Reid has received an invitation to work as a visiting professor at the Khoja Akhmet Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University in April 2016.

Paula Cardellino, an architecture academic from Uruguay, will be visiting CfLaT in February and March. She will be doing a Research Tea (24 Feb) and a seminar (3 March).



In December David Leat travelled to Singapore for a three day visit to appear in a TV panel discussion on the Future of Learning, transmitted by Channel NewsAsia in January.

This was part of a series to help develop the profile of Newcastle University in Singapore, as the university runs six under-graduate programs there, in a partnership with Singapore Institute of Technology. Here are David’s reflections on the experience:

Can you summarise what you think is important in a context in 3 or 4 sentences, in a way that an alert lay audience can make sense of.? In your head you have endless arguments, examples, complex concepts, favourite bits of research, jibes etc. But can you form that into a coherent message that an audience member can hook into? You can judge for yourself how I did, if you watch the recording: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/tv/tvshows/perspectives/episode/episode-18-the-future-of/2425136.html

I experienced two media formats, a panel discussion with four other panelists, and series of magazine interviews. The second is far more comfortable as you get a chance to elaborate and develop points in successive questions. In the panel format, you are in competition with the other panelists, partly for air time and partly in arguing your case. There are many skills to be deployed: catching the eye of the moderator, waiting for a tiny lull in someone else’s flow and getting in, connecting to what has been said by others, in agreement, disagreement or in terms of causation. And, above all, making the audience laugh.  After the first section of the programme, the assistant floor manager whizzed up to me and asked me to ‘pull my socks up’. I thought I had done OK so far. But it transpired that this was a literal not a metaphorical request as we were in lounge chairs and I was exposing a bit of skin be-tween sock and trousers. Note to self – long socks next time.



CfLaT research is gaining a new audience through our contributions to the British Educational Research Association’s new multi-authored blog.

In its first six months blog posts by Rachel Lofthouse and David Leat were each in the top ten read list. Other CfLaT contributors include Pam Woolner, Simon Gibbs, Alina Schartner and Anna Reid. Why not take a look at https://www.bera.ac.uk/blog?

And if you fancy contributing a blog post do get in touch with Rachel.Lofthouse@ncl.ac.uk as she is one of the BERA blog editors.


Karen Laing has recently completed some research working alongside colleagues at Mentor UK that evaluated M-PACT+ (Moving Parents and Children Together). M-PACT+ is an intervention devised by Action on Addiction who are now working with Place2Be to offer help through schools for families struggling with the effects of substance abuse.

M-PACT+ is being offered in four areas of the country (including the North East). The evaluation was commissioned by Comic Relief and the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. 47 families received support between 2013 and 2015.

The evaluation found that the benefits for children included improved family communication and family functioning, being better able to cope with challenges and having a better understanding about how addiction affects families. Children told us that they felt more confident, had been able to develop strategies for keeping themselves safe and felt less isolated following their involvement with M-PACT+:

“People your [own] age – like probably other people’s parents have got the same ad-dictions as your parents so it means you can bond with them and they understand. It wasn’t just happening in our family.”

The delivery of M-PACT was accompanied by training opportunities for school and Place2Be staff to develop their understanding of hidden harm and how M-PACT could help children affected by parental substance misuse. The training was highly regarded and staff reported gains in knowledge and understanding. However, some school and Place2Be staff continued to report that they lacked confidence in their ability to identify and support families who might benefit from M-PACT. Staff emphasised that confidence and trust are key to engaging parents and carers in conversations about parental sub-stance misuse and participating in M-PACT. Developing this trust can take time.

The evaluation also found that M-PACT is more likely to be integrated with a school’s support for families where the school and Place2Be staff routinely share appropriate information about pupils and where schools already offer a range of services for pupils and parents. In these schools there are clear procedures for discussing concerns about the needs of children and about who is best placed to speak to parents about M-PACT. Parents valued the support that was offered, and told us about the benefits they had found from attending:

“I felt I could voice my concerns and opinions and people would listen without interrupting and being judgemental. There were people there to listen and they understood. It felt like someone cared for you, for what your feelings and thoughts were…..especially when you have come off drugs.”

“Communication has improved. It seems like such an easy task – it should be automatic and it’s extremely difficult – we are all different personalities. It has helped me to tone down the shouting. It was a major breakthrough for me.”

Dissemination events and briefings on the findings from the evaluation are currently being prepared.

For further information, please contact Karen Laing k.j.c.laing@ncl.ac.uk

Internationalisation of Higher Education


Sue Robson has just returned from Bangkok where, with Newcastle colleagues, she delivered a workshop for 28 early career researchers from UK and Thai universities on ‘Internationalisation of higher education: developing values-based inter-cultural research approaches’.  The workshop enabled early-career re-searchers from across disciplines to meet peers with similar research interests with the aim of developing research joint proposals for future funding. CfLaT’s Alina Schartner was one of the participants.


Feedback from participants was very positive and special thanks go to Dr Navaporn Snodin from Kasetsart University for the superb venue she organised for the work-shop. We look forward to further developing the links that have been made with Thai universities.

For further information, please contact sue.robson@newcastle.ac.uk


 Issue 23- January 2016

Pam Woolner and Ulrike Thomas are about to start work on an exciting project following the changes at a local school currently being rebuilt.

Although new school spaces can be raise morale and be catalysts for other change, there is no guarantee of long term benefits. As we all know, change can be hard! With CfLaT colleagues, Karen Laing and Anna Reid, Pam and Ulrike will work with the school community to understand their experiences of the existing building and their expectations of the new. They are interested in student attitudes, before and after the rebuild, and the views of the non-teaching staff—the administration, technical and sup-port staff who sometimes get forgotten.  As well as revealing more about the impact of changing the educational environment, the project will enable members of the school community to discuss and develop their views of the old and new premises. This should assist the school to maximise the advantages and minimise the stresses of their move. Financial support from the university has been provided for this project and to develop work in this area.

For further information, please contact pamela.woolner@ncl.ac.uk

Marie Butterworth 2015 Prize awarded to Sara Wood

Issue 23- January 2016

Every year we present the Marie Butterworth Prize for Excellence in Practitioner Enquiry to a student who has completed one of our M.Ed in Practitioner Enquiry programmes. Marie was a keen advocate of teacher research, an active participant in a number of ECLS research projects, a CfLaT re-search fellow and a local deputy head teacher. ECLS makes this award in her memory to celebrate her enthusiasm and achievements.

We were pleased to present this award to Sara Wood this year, who recently completed her dissertation entitled ‘Fifty Shades of Independent Reading’. Sara’s enquiry focused on developing a curriculum based approach to encourage and enable greater participation and enjoyment in independent reading at Key Stage 3.

Sara discussed her approach and findings at a CfLaT research tea where we welcomed Steve Jones, Marie’s husband, to share in the event. He acknowledged the award stating “It’s a very touching – and appropriate – gesture to help keep Marie’s memory alive and to, in a sense, allow her work to continue.” In relation to Sara’s work he added “It’s encouraging to know that there are still people out there who don’t see data-crunching as the be-all and end-all of education.”

The last word should go to Sara, who wrote, “I just want to thank you again for the wonderful recognition of this award and the opportunity to talk about my research. It really was an absolute pleasure – please pass on my thanks to all who attended. Their interest and thoughtful questions were particularly gratifying. It’s a delight to be able to share my research in such depth to such an esteemed group – it has let me re-engage with the successes and findings of this research as well as inspiring me to further this work.”

FaSMed update: The FaSMEd project is progressing well and is now two years in!

Issue 23- January 2016

After receiving the Scientix Resource Award for The Prototype Toolkit, Scientix invited two members of FaSMEd to represent the project at EMINENT 2015 – STEM IN EDUCA-TION AND LIFE. This is the Experts Meeting in Education Networking annual event by European Schoolnet. This year it was held from 19-20 November in Barcelona and was organized in cooperation with Scientix and the Department of Edu-cation of Catalonia.

EMINENT 2015 brought together 280 participants from 37 countries including ministries representatives, policy-makers, researchers, STEM teachers and other stakeholders.

Issue 23- January 2016

In February, two members of the FaSMEd project team – Jill Clark and David Wright – will be travelling to Cape Town in South Africa for our consortium meeting. During their visit they will be visiting some of the schools that our South African partners have been working with, discussing the analysis of our interventions and case studies across all our partner countries and presenting our latest version of the web-based toolkit.

For further information, please contact Jill.Clark@ncl.ac.uk

An update on ROMtels (Roma translanguaging enquiry learning space)

Issue 23- January 2016

ROMtels is an Erasmus+ funded project based at Newcastle University, with partners in Finland, France and Romania as well as Middlesex University and a local Newcastle school. The Newcastle team is Heather Smith and Lydia Wysocki.

Our aim is to effect practice changes in the inclusion and education of Traveller pupils across Europe and in particular Roma pupils, who continue to suffer overt racism, discrimination and social exclusion. We aim to achieve this by sup-porting teachers in enabling pupils to use their home languages for learning in school. The project begins with Roma and Eastern European Traveller pupils, but will create resources open to many different languages.

Issue 23- January 2016

We start this quest in Newcastle by using an innovative blend of technologies to create an interactive multilingual enquiry-based learning space (see http://research.ncl.ac.uk/romtels/ for more details). Children undertaking the enquiries — for example learning about the Great Fire of Tyneside 1854 — will hear characters, who come to life on the walls of the interactive space, speaking in their home language(s) and English. Children will be encouraged to speak to each other in whichever languages they need to undertake the enquiry. We began by identifying the various Ro-ma languages of the communities attending our partner school, Arthur’s Hill Federation. We worked with the school’s Slovak/Czech community worker, Zaneta, who is herself of Roma heritage.  After several meetings and quite a bit of detective work utilising an amazing linguistic resource developed by Manchester University (http://romani.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/), we identified two distinct languages in a group of 10 families. Nine families appeared to share what is named in the Manchester database as East Slovak Roma whilst one family spoke a Slovak form of Kalderash. Given the number of families speaking East Slovak Roma, we began translations with this form of Roma.

From the families we met, two parents (from different families) agreed to help us: Marta and Laco, who has had to give up several days work to do this!

Issue 23- January 2016

The translanguation, as we are calling the process of translating from English to Czech/Slovak to a translanguaged form of East Slovak Roma/Slovak, has required remarkable attention to detail. But all involved have learned a great deal. We cannot wait to see the parents and children‘s faces next month when the space and technology are finally completed.  For further information, contact Heather.Smith@ncl.ac.uk


Research teas aim to provide an informal forum for discursive examination of emerging research themes and concepts. This term the programme includes an eclectic mix of speakers – details below, or from the Centre website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/cflat/news/Teas.htm

Tea and cakes will be available from 3.45pm in the Centre base (2.50 KGVI) with the session running from 4-5pm.

Wednesday 17th February Vidya Sarangapani, Open Lab:

Virtual. Cultural.Collaboration: Mobile Technologies, Migrant Communities and Multicultural Learning.

Wednesday 24th February Paula Cardellino, Visiting Academic, Uruguay: An architectural perspective on educational challenges – The Uruguayan experience

Wednesday 16th March Theresa Thornton, Northumberland College: Can changing the approach to CPD encourage Teacher Agency and develop Communities of Practice?

Wednesday 6th April Research Methodology Poster Tea: Room 1.71, KGVI.

For further information on CfLaT research teas and/or if you are interest-ed in discussing some of your own research at a tea please contact Laura.MazzoliSmith@ncl.ac.uk

For further information:

Research Centre for Learning and Teaching
School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences
King George VI Building
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne

Sara Wood – winner of The 2015 Marie Butterworth Prize

Every year we present the Marie Butterworth Prize for Excellence in Practitioner Enquiry to a student who has completed one of our M.Ed in Practitioner Enquiry programmes.  Marie was a keen advocate of teacher research, an active participant in a number of ECLS research projects, a CfLaT research fellow and a local deputy head teacher.  ECLS makes this award in her memory to celebrate her enthusiasm and achievements. We were pleased to present this award to Sara Wood this year, who recently completed her dissertation entitled ‘Fifty Shades of Independent Reading’.  Sara’s enquiry focused on developing a curriculum based approach to encourage and enable greater participation and enjoyment in independent reading at Key Stage 3.  Her research was undertaken while she worked at The Academy at Shotton Hall, a Teaching School with whom ECLS has had a long relationship supporting teachers to develop their practices through Master’s level professional enquiry.   Sara recently discussed her approach and findings at a CfLaT research tea. During the research tea Sara’s supervisor Rachel Lofthouse commented on the significance of Sara’s core pedagogic values and how they had influenced and shaped her practice and enquiry, and Maria Mroz complimented Sara on the quality of her writing and encouraged her to consider writing about her enquiry for publication.


Sara is presented with her award by Rachel Lofthouse

We also welcomed Steve Jones, Marie’s husband, to share in the event.  He acknowledged the award stating “Thank you too for all the work you put into choosing the award winner every year. It’s a very touching – and appropriate – gesture to help keep Marie’s memory alive and to, in a sense, allow her work to continue.”  In relation to Sara’s work he added “It’s encouraging to know that there are still people out there who don’t see data-crunching as the be-all and end-all of education.”  The last word should go to Sara herself who wrote, “I just want to thank you again for the wonderful recognition of this award and the opportunity to talk about my research. It really was an absolute pleasure – please pass on my thanks to all who attended. Their interest and thoughtful questions were particularly gratifying. It’s a delight to be able to share my research in such depth to such an esteemed group – it has let me re-engage with the successes and findings of this research as well as inspiring me to further this work.”


Sara is joined by Steve Jones at the CfLaT research tea