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TLRP & National Curriculum Review

DfE Logo

TLRP Directors Andrew Pollard and Mary James were members of the 2011 Expert Panel advising the government on the National Curriculum for England.

Their report was published by DfE on 19th December 2011 and is available at A DfE source said: 'We want to create a gold standard National Curriculum that survives longer than a government's term of office'. TLRP's principles for effective teaching and learning contributed to the framing of the Expert Panel's report.

See the 'NCR report in a page'


New book Autumn 2011

routledge logo

A new TLRP book is published in December 2011 entitled Principles for Effective Pedagogy: International responses to evidence from the UK Teaching and Learning Research Programme edited by Mary James and Andrew Pollard.

The book is accompanied by a special edition of Research Papers in Education (detailed below) and Professors James and Pollard present information from the book at the EARLI 2011 conference in Exeter in September 2011.


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10 principles go global

RPIE cover

TLRP Directors Professors Mary James and Andrew Pollard have edited a special issue of Routledge's Research Papers in Education (RPIE) journal.

Entitled 'Principles for Effective Pedagogy: International responses to evidence from the UK's Teaching and Learning Research Programme' the issue collects feedback from as far afield as Singapore, Canada and Japan on the 10 Principles - one of TLRP's key legacies.


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Education for All (Spring 2011)

EFA cover

A synopsis of findings and challenges from recent major reviews of education and training from early years, through school, college, employment and training, and higher and adult education, and the implications for the principle which should guide policy and practice. Written by Richard Pring and Andrew Pollard

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TLRP draws conclusions

Andrew Pollard

TLRP presents its major conclusions on 24th and 25th November after nine years of investigations across all sectors of education.

Results are now complete for all sectors of education including preschool, each phase of school, further and higher education, workforce development, apprenticeships and lifelong learning.

TLRP Director Andrew Pollard (pictured) said: “The TLRP’s uniquely broad range of evidence on improving teaching and learning means that future policy can be based on sound knowledge about how people make sense of the world around them. Through such work, there are now opportunities to build education systems which are based on evidence about how people actually learn. We should take them.”

The TLRP’s major phase of empirical work has now ended but, in addition to further impact work during 2009, there will be an extension phase concentrating on the use of technology to enhance learning.

TLRP’s major conference takes place in Westminster, London.

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TLRP conference buzzes

TLRP conf stand

TLRP’s Westminster conference on 24th and 25th November has generated an enormous smount of discussion and interest. Meeting with over 30 partner and exhibitor organisations and over 800 practitioners, researchers and policy-makers from all sectors of education, and with particular contributions from NTRP, LSIS, HEA and JISC, the event featured seven displays of TLRP’s work and sixteen explanatory sessions led by TLRP researchers.

Jill Martin, Chair of the National Teacher Research Panel, emphasised the importance of ‘the worlds of research and practice getting their relationship right’ and praised the conference as an example of progress towards this. She suggested that: “Barriers have now been removed which previously might have been obstacles to the widespread take up of research findings. TLRP was specifically designed to include practitioners in their work and teachers have felt that research findings now have more relevance with an emphasis on teaching and learning. The development of TLRP’s ten principles are an important starting point for engaging more teachers in taking risks and challenging accepted practice” she argued.

Roger McClure, Chief Executive of LSIS, said that “there was now a real, genuine effort to put the FE sector in charge of its own improvement. The key strategy is the professionalisation of the delivery of the service – to try to get away from the decade we’ve just emerged from, a lot of top down prescription and imposition of very detailed targets. There is a belief now that improved performance will only come from within, and if it is self-motivated”.

Andrew Pollard, TLRP Director, welcomed this new approach with its high apparent compatibility with the findings of two TLRP projects: Transforming Learning Cultures in FE and Policy, Learning and Inclusion in the Learning and Skills Sector.

John Hayes, Shadow Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, spoke from a ‘compassionate Conservative’ perspective and demonstrated a wide-ranging commitment to widening participation in HE. His analysis strongly complemented the TLRP Commentary on the same topic and suggested that progress on widening participation requires both improvement in school outcomes for all and the development of a wider, and more flexible, range of modes of delivery for HE and lifelong learning.

The major foci of the substantive sessions are indicated in TLRP’s downloadable impact leaflet. At the event, TLRP also launched Commentaries on School Experience, Further Education, Technology Enhanced Learning, Widening Participation in Higher Education, Apprenticeship and Globalisation.

Download these and other TLRP commentaries here.

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TLRP stock take begins

QEII Centre

Evaluative comments by leading speakers at the Westminster TLRP conference suggest that the programme has achieved its major objectives.

David Eastwood, Chief Executive of HEFCE, suggested that TLRP has achieved: “very high quality research projects and very substantial levels of impact”. He went on: “It has been a striking and unusual programme. Its duration has enabled it to be ambitious and this has justified HEFCE’s long term commitment.”

Barry Sheerman, MP, Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families said: “Research is so important to our field of work and things have improved a lot over the past ten years.”

Bob Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of University of Leicester, said: “TLRP has been a dynamic and wide-ranging programme which will stand the test of time.It is ESRC’s programme par excellence.”

Ian Diamond, Chief Executive of ESRC, said: “This is an absolutely wonderful occasion. TLRP is the largest ESRC investment and you should be very proud, not only of that, but of its pioneering nature in establishing ESRC partnership ventures to enhance knowledge and have impact. TLRP has been an absolute model of the way in which researchers, working closely in partnership with beneficiaries, can cross the dual hurdle of excellence in academic quality and wider impact. The TLRP is terribly important in demonstrating this.The approach is entirely normal practice for ESRC now, but was quasi-experimentally piloted through TLRP and has then been rolled out further.

Additionally, TLRP has been a model of communication to a wider public. TLRP has also been great on capacity building, though we acknowledge that much remains to be done for the next generation of researchers.In summary, TLRP has been a wonderful programme – a flagship.”

For details of the conference see here and here. For TLRP’s impact leaflet, summarising major findings, see here.

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Schooling recommendations endorsed


TLRP evidence on teaching and learning in schools continues to inform public debate. The Report on the National Curriculum from the House of Commons Committee on Children, Schools and Families was published today.

As Chairman Barry Sheerman put it on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme (2nd April 2009): ‘This report has taken a year, we’ve listened to everyone, we’ve travelled, we’ve taken oral and written evidence and you know, if you do this job well, you pick up a resonance. The resonance is that the National Curriculum is too prescriptive, it’s too top down, and it’s about time it was changed. The pendulum has swung the other way.’

The direction of policy development for schooling, across political parties, now echoes the analysis which TLRP has developed over the last decade, and this is demonstrable in each part of the UK.TLRP’s commitment to user engagement has helped to build this ‘resonance’ and the work of the research community appears to be constructively informing understanding of the issues and challenges which contemporary education faces.

For more on the Select Committee report, see here .
For more on TLRP’s school findings, see here.

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RAE 2008 and TLRP

RAE website

Initial reflections on the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise results. Read more.

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Assessing the Assessors


New Commentary examines UK schools assessment.

The document, written by Warwick Mansell, Mary James and the Assessment Reform Group on behalf of TLRP is entitled 'Assessment in Schools: Fit for Purpose?' and can be downloaded here.

A press release detailing the key findings is available here.

Selected media coverage:

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Principles into practice

Principles into Practice

TLRP has carried out over 20 projects on enhancing learning and teaching in schools and their findings have been distilled into a new publication, Principles into Practice, which is now being sent to every school in the UK.

  • Download Principles into Practice here
  • Read related ESRC Press Release here

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Neuro-myths challenged

Neuro Myths

Westminster launch of new publication.

'Neuroscience and Education: Issues and opportunities' challenges the 'neuro-myths' and 'folk neuroscience' which are commonplace in contemporary schools.

The Commentary, a result of a TLRP Thematic Seminar Series, was launched on 15th May at Portcullis House as a group of Peers and MPs met with teachers, policy-makers, educational researchers and neuroscientists to discuss how to collectively ensure that future classroom practice is informed by the best evidence from brain-science research.

The Commentary was authored by Dr Paul Howard-Jones of the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol (pictured here).

TLRP Director Andrew Pollard said: 'This Commentary highlights the need for caution in basing practice on our present state of knowledge - though the potential is immense. In this cutting edge field, we need much more interdisciplinary and professional collaboration.’

The commentary can be downloaded in pdf form from our publications page.

For information on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Scientific Research in Learning and Education and the Institute for the Future of the Mind please contact:

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New TLRP HE Commentary

HE Cover

UK HE publication launched at HEA conference.

The new TLRP commentary 'Effective learning and teaching in UK higher education' was launched at the Higher Education Academy annual conference in Manchester in June. Delegates at 'The Future of the Student Learning Experience' event at the University of Manchester from 30 June to 2 July received copies of the document, authored by TLRP Director Miriam David and a group of TLRP and HEA higher education experts.

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TLRP publications celebration

TLRP covers

Outputs exceed expectations.

TLRP colleagues and friends from across the Programme gathered in London on 22nd September to celebrate the publication of Commentaries and our Routledge books, including launching some of the new ones in the Improving Learning series.

In opening the event, Steering Committee Chair Professor Bob Burgess praised the Programme for exceeding its original expectations of the amount of initiatives and outputs it would produce. He also thanked warmly and congratulated Andrew Pollard and members of his Director's team over the last 8 years.
He paid especial tribute to the administrative staff for all of their invaluable contributions and wished them future success in their various new posts.

The showcased books were Improving Disabled Students' Learning, Improving Learning in Later life, Improving Primary Mathematics: Linking home and school, and, hot off the press to coincide with the event, Improving Learning by Widening Participation in Higher Education.

The three new Commentaries were Assessment in Schools: Fit for Purpose?, Effective learning and teaching in UK higher education and Higher skills development at work.

TLRP Director Miriam David pointed out that the programme had published over 20 books with at least nine on the way as well as 15 Commentaries and 68 research briefings with more in the pipeline.

TLRP's Andrew Pollard pointed out the large number of web hits on Commentaries from totalling around 750,000 and rising.

To download Commentaries and briefings and for more info on books see here.

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What makes a good teacher?

House of Commons

24th January saw Mary James present the TLRP 10 principles to a House of Commons seminar at the invitation of the Cambridge Assessment agency. The seminar was led by Barry Sheerman, MP, Chair of the Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families.

The seminar was hailed in a BBC News article by Mike Baker as 'a significant move towards an evidence based view' of education policy-making. Professor James (centre with Mr Sheerman) joined Professor Debra Myhill (University of Exeter, right) and

Professor Patricia Broadfoot (University of Gloucestershire, left) in reviewing the evidence on the key qualities of a 'good teacher'.

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TLRP meets Strategies and DCSF

Pete Dudley

16th October saw representatives of the DCSF, National Strategies and TLRP meet for a workshop in Westminster on pedagogy.

The workshop, held at the Department for Children, Schools and Families headquarters, the Bridge, was entitled 'Reviewing what we've learned about pedagogy from TLRP and what we need in the future'.

TLRP Director Andrew Pollard presented an audit of TLRP findings on pedagogy to the group, following an introduction by Primary National Strategy Director and TLRP Research Training Fellow Pete Dudley (pictured). The rest of the day was spent on discussions between academics and policy makers.

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TLRP contributes to pedagogy in Wales


Pollard Llandudno key note.

Andrew Pollard provided a keynote introduction on 6th May to a three day conference on ‘Effective Education’, held in Llandudno. This launched the Welsh Assembly Government’s Pedagogy Framework which is central to a new integrated approach to professional development, school effectiveness and inspection.

The event was attended by some 300 practitioners from the 22 Welsh local authorities. Andrew spoke on ‘TLRP, Reflective Practice and Effective Pedagogy’. CELLS Directors Mike Clancy and Chris Tweedale emphasised both recent achievements and the challenges facing Wales and a wide range of workshops were provided to share examples of good practice.

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WP In HE impact event

WP in HE event

June 17th saw TLRP Widening Participation in Higher Education projects present their findings to an invited audience of policy makers.

The delegates came from funding bodies and government agencies. The event was co-hosted by HEFCE, a major funder of TLRP.

The event, chaired by Rob Cuthbert, (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England) took the form of presentations of findings from the PIs of the seven project teams (who have all recently completed) with feedback from respondents, Q&A sessions and discussion with a final presentation by John Selby, Head of Education and Participation at HEFCE.

Gareth Parry (University of Sheffield) began with an exposition of inconsistencies in FE and HE policy systems for F& HE.

Questions of access were presented by Geoff Hayward (University of Oxford) and Gill Crozier (University of Sunderland). Pedagogies were covered by Julian Williams (University of Manchester) and Chris Hockings (University of Wolverhampton).

The final session was on outcomes through and across the life course were delivered by Alison Fuller (University of Southampton) and Anna Vignoles (Institute of Education, University of London).

TLRP Associate Director for FE and HE Miriam David, who organised the event, said ‘Today’s presentations made it abundantly clear that HE should be meaningful in people’s lives, authentic, practical and relevant, and about social as well as work or economic experiences. ‘Policy frameworks need to be adjusted to take account of our research evidence about first prior and current educational experiences (and the need to adjust schooling as well as post-compulsory education), second the relevance of policy at institutional and individual levels as well as systemic, third pedagogies and practices that are meaningful to participants (as students and teachers) and fourth the inequalities in systemic provisions across the life course.’

Respondents included Geoff Layer (University of Bradford) on the concepts of FE and HE in UK contexts, and the geographical or regional differences. Lynn Raphael Reed (University of the West of England) and Patricia Broadfoot (University of Gloucestershire) opened up insights about different institutional and individual practices, ways of thinking about HE sociologically, around identities of students as learners, and especially as resilient learners and entrenched institutional or individual inequalities, and ways to try to transform practices and pedagogies, leading seamlessly into the session on pedagogies.

Monica Maclean (University of Nottingham) identified some new ideas about social justice and putting principles into practice, such as giving time and attention to students, and ideas about future citizens.

Finally Claire Callender (Birkbeck College, University of London) presented a policy evaluation of two projects on ‘outcomes’, by situating them within a context of exciting new forms of data analysis, and longer term life course frameworks. The event was well received by the delegates and numerous plans were hatched to maximize policy impact of the research findings presented.

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TLRP at BERA 2008

BERA 2008

TLRP representatives were in Edinburgh from 3rd to 6th September for BERA 2008.

The British Educational Research Association's annual event was held at Heriot-Watt University and TLRP held an exhibition stand and included a set of materials in the conference delegate packs.

Numerous TLRP colleagues contributed to the conference programme and one highlight was a keynote symposium entitled 'Capacity building evaluations, obstacles, and initiatives' which looked at TLRP's work on capacity building and included feedback on the findings of the Mapping the Ripples project led by Zoe Fowler and Richard Procter.

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Programme well represented in Chicago.

Almost 30 TLRP researchers associated with 17 projects and 8 thematic groups shared their work with 16,000 delegates to AERA’s conference on the ‘The World of Educational Quality’.

Additionally, TLRP contributed a ‘Presidential Session’ at which Andrew Pollard, Miriam David and Mary James of the Directors Team provided an overview of the Programme, its development strategies, projects, themes and outcomes.

Discussant Hilda Barko commended the ‘hugely impressive programme' and the farsightedness of the UK for funding it. Many new international links were established and existing ones were deepened to support the further contextualization of TLRP’s work.

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Directors Team head East

NIE Singapore

Redesigning Pedagogy Conference in Singapore.

TLRP Directors Team members Miriam David, Alan Brown and Andrew Pollard will represent the Programme at the 3rd international Redesigning Pedagogy conference at the National Institute of Education, Singapore on 1-3 June. The three Professors will provide the content for one the three major invited panels of the conference entitled: 'The Teaching and Learning Research (TLRP) Programme: Differences and Commonalities in UK/Asian-Pacific Experiences’.

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TLRP controversy

ESRC logo

TLRP was discussed on 15th February at a high level ESRC workshop drawing upon government departments, UK devolved administrations, learned societies and the ESRC council.

The event was chaired by Lord Adair Turner, Chair of ESRC council and focused on ‘researching controversial and sensitive issues’. TLRP was highlighted as an example of ‘good practice’ in negotiating an appropriate balance between academic freedom and the concerns of governments.

TLRP Director Andrew Pollard made a presentation on how the Programme had been developed with academic and user communities as an attempt to maximize independent, high quality, relevant research impact. Following group and plenary discussions, particularly concerning the challenges of long-term international research of a politically sensitive nature, it was agreed that ESRC would continue discussion with academic and government communities and would produce a developmental report in due course.

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writing hand

Government Welcomes Strategic Forum

Opening BERA's 2007 conference, Andrew Adonis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools and Learners, noted the formation of the Strategic Forum for Research in Education. The forum, as proposed by TLRP in association with BERA and ESRC aspires to involve UK stakeholders in reflection, analysis and planning on the future of educational research, The SFRE proposal is available here.

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