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  • Modern foreign languages in the primary and secondary school: Teaching the new National Curriculum

    Modern foreign languages in the primary and secondary school: Teaching the new National Curriculum

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    The University of Reading are delighted to be able to offer free and extensive CPD for primary and secondary school language teachers through funding from the DfE, co-delivered by experienced local teachers and University tutors.

    The programme will begin with a whole day of input and activities, followed by monthly twilight sessions and will end with a half-day event. French language upskilling sessions will be provided for primary teachers in addition, each month.

    DfE funding allows us to be able to make a substantial contribution to supply costs for teachers attending the first and last event plus a minimum of three twilight sessions.

    The programme will be of benefit for all those teaching languages, especially colleagues leading languages provision in schools, as well as those new to delivering primary languages. The language of focus for primary colleagues will be French; for secondary colleagues, sessions will include examples in French, German and Spanish.

    Sessions will include:

    •   Creating a joined up KS2-3 curriculum for languages
    •   Developing core oral skills, including accurate pronunciation and spontaneous oral interaction
    •   Literacy skills in the foreign language – including reading for comprehension, appreciation and vocabulary development
    •   Developing grammatical competence across Key Stage 2 and 3
    •   Developing learners’ listening skills
    •   Assessment
    •   Primary-secondary transition

    Session 1: Whole day, Friday 10 October, 09.30-15.30, Institute of Education: The new National Curriculum across Key Stages 2-3 and principles of effective teaching and learning; developing learners’ listening skills; assessment and evaluation; transition issues.

    Further details of subsequent sessions can be found overleaf.

    As well as gaining a wealth of practical ideas, participants on the programme will also enhance their understanding of the principles that underpin effective language learning. On-line support activities for use between sessions will be available.

    Toreserveyourplace,pleasegotothefollowinglink: Further information will be emailed to you a week before the first event. orphone01183782612

    Twilight Sessions
    Session 2 (Speaking): 16.30-18.30, Thursday 6 November, The Willink School RG7 3XJ
    Session 3 (Speaking): 16.30-18.30, Wednesday 3 December, The Willink School RG7 3XJ Session 4 (Reading): 16.30-18.30, Thursday 15 January, The Piggott School RG10 8DS
    Session 5 (Reading/writing): 16.30-18.30, Wednesday 4 February, The Piggott School RG10 8DS Session 6 (Grammar): 16.30-18.30, Thursday 5 March, The Piggott School RG10 8DS

    Session 7 (Sharing practice; transition): Half day, Wednesday 25 March, 13.30-16.30, IoE
    Additional French language tuition will be offered on the following dates for primary teachers, with all

    sessions held at the University:
    Thursday, 23 October, 17.00-19.00
    Thursday, 20 November, 17.00-19.00 Thursday, 11 December, 17.00-19.00 Thursday, 22 January, 17.00-19.00
    Thursday, 12 or 19 February (TBC), 17.00-19.00

    We will pay for one day’s supply cover for teachers who attend the first and last event plus a minimum of three twilight sessions, with schools asked to fund the remaining half-day. There are no further costs for the CPD. Further details will be emailed out with joining instructions before the first event.

    This CPD is being delivered as a consortium led by the University of Reading and involves the following partners:

    •   Bartholomew School, Eynsham
    •   Cherwell School, Oxford
    •   Fair Oak Junior School
    •   Keep Hatch Primary School
    •   Oxford University Department of Education
    •   Radstock Primary School
    •   The Willink School, Burghfield Common
    •   Wellington College Teaching School Partnership
    •   Wokingham Secondary Federation 


    MFL CPD 

  • Access to free research journals, reports and papers

    Access to free research journals, reports and papers

    Access to Research (via SUPER Network.)

    The aim of this page is to post links to any freely available research that is not hidden behind paywalls e.g. Journal articles, conference papers, reports, research digests etc (presented A-Z).



    Assessment and Learning: State of the Field Review (via Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment)

    Access to Research –  Public Library Initiative

    BELMAS Publications (free access via free first year membership)

    BERA Research Intelligence

    BERA Insights and Briefings

    BERA Why Educational Research Matters

    BERA Research and Teacher Education

    Best Evidence in Brief (University of York, Institute for Effective Education)

    BES (Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis) Programme – What Works Evidence 
    Hei Kete Raukura (New Zealand)

    Cambridge Primary Review Publications

    CUREE Publications

    EPPI Centre Systematic Reviews


    Educational Neuroscience: a teacher’s guide to the good, the bad and the irrelevant (slides and materials  from Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford)

    Forum: Qualitative Research

    Usable Knowledge (Harvard Graduate School of Education)

    Institute of Education Research News Bulletin

    Institute of Education Research Briefings

    The Internet and Education – free chapter by Professor Neil Selwyn, Monash University, Australia

    Jotter: Journal of Trainee Educational Research (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge)

    Learning Landscapes (current issue: Spring 2014 – a peer-reviewed, open access, themed journal that is published twice a year. It works to bridge theory and practice by publishing submissions from individuals who represent the wider educational community—teachers, principals, students, parents, university academics and community leaders – produced in Quebec, Canada)

    MESH Guides – supporting professional judgement with evidence (connecting educators with summaries and sources of educational research)

    NFER Direct – free email newsletters on NFER’s latest research etc (National Foundation for Educational Research)

    Research in Teacher Education (University of East London)

    Routledge Education Arena

    Routledge Education Class of 2013 (free access to most downloaded papers until 31st Dec 2013)

    Routledge: Primary & Secondary Education (free access until 30th Sept 2014)

    Routledge: September Spotlight Journal – Professional Development in Education (free access until 30th Sept 2014)

    Routledge: Education in Extreme Poverty, Conflict & Disaster (free access until 31st Dec 2014)

    Sandagogy – Sandringham School Learning Journal

    Teacher Leadership (free access to ECER 2014 Conference Papers by university lecturers/academics and school teachers)

    TLRP Publications

    Teaching & Learning Together in Higher Education Blog

    The Sutton Trust EEF Toolkit

    World Bank Research Digest


    Read the SUPER network blog here.

  • ResearchED 2014: Why every school needs a research champion.

    ResearchED 2014: Why every school needs a research champion.




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    Carl Hendrick, Head of Learning and Research, Wellington College

    For too long the classroom practitioner has been the researched as opposed to the researcher. Teachers have been given answers to questions they didn’t ask, provided with solutions to problems that never existed, and assailed by counterintuitive theory when practical advice was more appropriate. Where there has been good research, it is often sidelined by short-termism, a near fetish for data or the Sword of Damocles of a looming inspection.

    By the same token, school staff rooms are often dominated by teachers whose only serious reflection on their practice comes from their own limited experience and confirmed biases, and whose only measures of success are exam results and league tables. This attitude is often typified by a deep and open antipathy to anything too reflective labelled ‘evidence based’ or ‘research.’ This is a professional practice that amounts to what Professor John West-Burnham terms ‘long-term self indulgence.’

    Clearly, the division between education academia situated almost exclusively at the University and the classroom practitioner hacking away ‘at the coalface’ has not worked as well as it might have. Teachers are typically given a whistlestop tour of education research during their PGCE year and then are furnished with very poor support ‘within house’ in terms of evidence based training and approaches to teaching. All of us have sat through turgid CPD sessions where we have been given impressionistic, superficial droplets of education theory from an ocean of research that is often neither relevant nor resonant with our own practice.

    Some teachers do go on to do research in the form of an MA or PhD (usually the ones with the vacant stare and severe caffeine addiction) but how often is this funded and embedded into their schools? How often do schools harness this expertise into their school improvement plans and CPD? Again, the issue is this disjunction between research and practice which has traditionally marginalised the difficult path of evidence-based approaches to school improvement and privileged the easier route of fads and quick fixes.

    So how do we emerge from this primordial soup? The role of head of research or research champion in schools should ultimately be about mobilising the wider evidence base and making it easy for classroom teachers to be more informed about what they do. I would like to see the following developments in the way schools engage with research:

    1. A researcher in residence located in schools.

    At Wellington College, we will be working closely with various HEIs including Harvard faculty of education on a number of projects but I hope to appoint a full time researcher in residence who will be located in our school on a regular basis. The researcher in residence should be both a recognised academic and someone who has published research in the field and can help ensure interventions are carried out properly. They should work ‘cheek to jowl’ with teachers to improve their practice by helping with robust design methodology, literature review and evaluation. This ‘in-house’ approach to research is widely used to great effect in other fields and could potentially transform teacher practice, leadership and whole school policy.

    2. Schools need to ‘own’ their research questions

    Schools need to identify what it is they want to know, how they are going to ‘know’ it and what they are going to do to measure the impact and applicability of this new knowledge. At all of these stages the researcher in residence is key. Schools need to be asking their own questions about improvement based on specific CPD and school improvement plans. What may be appropriate for one school may not be appropriate for another and we should have the flexibility to frame our own point of enquiry and direct resources accordingly.

    3. Capacity: Research should be embedded in the life of the school

    This is a central problem. Most schools simply don’t have the time or capacity to resource something that is as yet unproven. Typically research in schools is an ‘add-on’, it is not central to the day to day business of school practice and this needs to change. For CPD and professional review there should be an area for research and time allocated accordingly to staff to engage in it and further their knowledge.

    4. Better measures of success and impact

    Education research is often about trying to measure the immeasurable. Hattie’s now seminal work is titled ‘visible’ learning for good reason: often quality learning is invisible to us and resists classification and categorisation. There is also the problem of what we are using to measure success. There is a lot of use of the phrase ‘what works’ at the moment, well if ‘what works’ is simply a proxy for ‘what creates good exam passers’ then we have a very jaundiced and impoverished barometer of what success actually is. More complex and elegant ways of evaluating the impact of interventions are needed.

    5. ‘Reflective’ practice not ‘best’ practice.

    We need to get rid of the phrase ‘best practice’ and replace it with ‘reflective’ or ‘informed’ practice. There should be no single, ‘best’ way of teaching but rather a deeply reflective approach informed by high-quality evidence and appropriate for the specific context in which it is applied. An evidence-based approach to education does not mean a uniform ‘one size fits all’, axiomatic approach to what good teaching should look like. Whenever I have seen excellent teaching, it is almost totally unique and characterised by something idiosyncratic and deeply personal to that teacher. We need to resist the homogenising forces of the past that insist for example that too much teacher talk is bad, or that kids only learn best in groups or that learning how to ‘play the exam game’ is an acceptable outcome to the process of learning.

    6. ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants.’

    The first port of call for any school should be to look at the wider evidence base, specifically robust, methodologically sound and peer reviewed research and begin their inquiry from there. The work of the EEF and Rob Coe in the production of their Toolkit is one of the most significant developments in education and should be the point of departure for any school’s development plan.

    7. Schools producing their own publications.

    Dissemination of findings has to be a central part of the process. We plan to publish a learning and research journal here at Wellington next year which will showcase the work we have been doing engaging with research and evidence based practice. This will encompass individual teacher enquiry in the form of MA/PhD work to whole school research such as our two year partnership with Harvard faculty. This publication will not be an academic peer-reviewed article (although I want academics to contribute) but rather a readable, accessible journal that can be easily digested by staff, parents and hopefully students.

    The professionalisation of teaching

    Education research has provided teachers with enlightening and elegant ways of approaching their practice. There is an ever-growing and robust evidence base in a wide range of areas that have improved standards and enfranchised both teacher practice and student achievement. However there has also been a history of ideologically driven, methodologically unsound and politically entrenched dogma in the name of education research that has compromised the very teachers and students it was intended to empower.

    The role of research champion is only strengthened by the emergence of researchED which represents a hugely significant step forward in the professionalisation of teaching. It is a movement that has brought together some of the greatest thinkers in education and provided a vibrant and exciting platform for debate. This rich seam should be mined by every school in the country and utilised a point of departure for all areas of school improvement.

    Read more about ResearchED at 

  • Photos from Harvard GSE Partnership launch

    Photos from Harvard GSE Partnership launch


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  • BBC Radio 4 Series: The Educators

    BBC Radio 4 Series: The Educators





























    Sarah Montague interviews the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education in BBC Radio 4’s new show – The Educators.  

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  • Research Digest – Oct. 2014

    Research Digest – Oct. 2014

    EEF: Cash incentives lead to no significant improvement in GCSE results.

    More parental monitoring of computer use is linked to more sleep, better school performance and better behavior.

    Understanding Research: Positives in negative results: when finding ‘nothing’ means something

    The worrying rise of soft-psychotherapy in schools”

    The presence of high achieving peers greatly improves the achievement of others, particularly the lowest achievers”

    BERA: Final report of the BERA-RSA Inquiry into the role of research in teacher education.

    NCTL: How to use research and development to support school improvement in your teaching school alliance through better teaching and learning practices.

  • Measuring the unmeasured impacts of schools.

    Measuring the unmeasured impacts of schools.


    Identifying the factors that may influence success inside and beyond the classroom 

    Dr Simon Walker, Lead Researcher, Human Ecology Education


    Previous studies have shown that the Affective (a word for emotional) and Social factors (AS factors) measured in this study develop over childhood. Young children (in year 3-6) show AS scores indicating they seek novelty and change and exhibit a high trust in themselves, coupled with a low trust of others and a low willingness to disclose. As children develop through to adolescence and then adulthood, these AS biases diminish, indicating a growing ability to self-regulate appropriately for the situation rather than just be driven by internal drives.


    CAS development over childhood

    CAS development over childhood


    This is true across different populations of same-age children. For example, here are AS profiles of four different year 10 cohorts from four different UK schools. Each school was in a different part of the country and were of different school type (independent, day, boarding, academy).

    In fact, what is true of Affective Social scores also appear to be true of Cognitive scores. In the above chart, we have added perspective, processing and planning- Cognitive factors- to form a CAS profile. The students CAS profile is just as remarkably consistent as their AS profile.

    However, this does not mean that school is having no impact on children’s CAS development. In 2013 we tested what impact schools have on student CAS scores.

    Our Footprints CAS technology can measure the CAS profile of children when they are OUT of school and also measure it when they are IN school. This can give us an indication of the impact the school is having on the Cognitive, Affective and Social development of its students.

    For example, this chart shows the dark blue CAS profile of one of the above schools when its yr 10 students are OUT of school. The light blue profile which is overlaid, then shows the profile of those SAME students when they are IN school.

    Clearly this school is having a big impact on the student’s trust of others, trust of them self, their desire to embrace change and their planning!

    And different schools appear to have different impacts. Here’s a second school in which the OUT of school highs and lows of the seven factors are more or less levelled out when IN school.

    Contrast this with a third school, in which the OUT of school and the IN school profile are almost identical.

    So, our research suggests that different schools have a different impact on CAS (Cognitive, Affective Social) development of their students.

    The question is, what’s the significance of those impacts? Does it matter that different schools have different impacts? Do those different impacts contribute to different student outcomes? Might those different impacts have a bearing, for example, on students’ academic outcomes, or their ability to manage social situations, or their aspirations?

    Previous studies suggest they might. For example, we have already shown that a student’s ability to adjust their CAS state to an optimal state as they move from curriculum lesson to curriculum lesson (i.e. from maths, to english to science) correlates with higher academic outcomes. See Results suggest that this ability may in fact, account for up to 10-15% of secondary student academic outcomes.

    If CAS scores have an impact on academic outcomes, it seems likely that they may also have an impact on non-academic outcomes. For example, employability, or attractiveness to universities, or leadership qualities.

    The CAS profile was originally developed by Human Ecology Education’s parent company in the 2000s as a measure of leadership mobility. It is used successfully to help employers select and train their internal leaders by indicating whether candidates have the requisite skills to adapt into the varied tasks, contexts and relationships required in the work place. It seems likely, therefore, that student CAS scores could have a bearing not just for success in the classroom but beyond school in the workplace.

    We hope that this current state-independent dividend school study will shed some further light onto CAS and its impact in determining student educational outcomes. We hope it will help us understand whether different models of schooling have different impacts on CAS development. We hope it will highlight if there are gender differences in CAS development and what educational experiences are most likely to boost CAS development, so that our country’s education can be as effective as it possibly can.

    Dr Simon Walker, Lead Researcher, Human Ecology Education

    August 2014



    Academic edu page. 


  • Podcast No. 1 – Tom Bennett: “I Have a Dream…”

    Podcast No. 1 – Tom Bennett: “I Have a Dream…”

    Tom Bennett talks about research myths, how teachers can get involved in research and his grassroots organisation ResearchED.  Direct Link.  

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    To find out more about ResearchED click here.