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Impact Activities: Case studies

Project impacts: Across the lifecourse | Improving outcomes | Improving practice | Developing dialogue | Informing policy
Programme impacts: Public debate | Principles into practice | Westminster showcase | Electronic resources | Widening participation


Consulting pupils on teaching and learning

TLRP’s Phase 1 Network, led by Jean Ruddock, engaged hundreds of primary and secondary teachers in classroom enquiry and development work. This led to cultural change in practitioner perception of the significance of ‘pupil voice’ and to professional confidence in constructive classroom practices which recognize it. The work was influential in teacher associations, GTCs and the National College for School Leadership. Contemporary school inspection frameworks, for instance, from OfSTED, now require pupil consultation as part of inspection activity.

On teaching and learning policies for schools

TLRP has been active throughout the period and across the UK. For example, in England, the Programme contributed to public discussion of the 2004 DfES policy on ‘Personalised Learning’ through ‘2020 Vision’, promotion of ‘Principles into Practice’ and moderating the ‘magic bullet’ of neuroscience in education in 2006/7, constructive critique of the Children’s Plan in 2008 and a review of primary education in 2009. TLRP does not claim direct leverage on schools policy, but it has undoubtedly contributed to the climate in which decisions have been taken. For the improvement of standards, TLRP has consistently pressed for teachers to be given more opportunity to develop and exercise professional judgement. The Programme therefore welcomed the 2009 DCSF announcement of withdrawal from National Strategies in England. This decision is entirely consistent with TLRP’s contributions to public debate. Significant contributions have also been made in support of pedagogic initiatives in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Publication in August 2009 of a TLRP Commentary in association with the Assessment Reform Group is an important final contribution to public debate on this vital issue concerning school education.

On contributions to 14 – 19 education and training policy

Four members of TLRP were involved in the Tomlinson Review of 14 – 19 education and training, as members of the main committee or its specialist sub-committees, arguing the case for greater coherence of provision. The Tomlinson Review highlighted the need to reform many aspects of education and training for 14-19 year olds, but government pursued a more cautious approach of attempting to make the current system operate more effectively. However, the Nuffield 14-19 Review, in which nine colleagues associated with TLRP were involved, continued to argue the need to implement a broader and more radical vision for 14 – 19 education and training. TLRP, together with the Nuffield Review of 14-19 education and training, have continued to articulate the choices on how 14 -19 education and training might be developed in the future.

On the Learning and Skills Sector

A number of projects made written and oral submissions to the Foster Review on the future role of further education; the Leitch Review of skills; and to the House of Lords Education Committee. Sir Andrew Foster also read and commented favourably upon a TLRP project report on the structure and operation of the new learning and skills sector in England. The report explicitly acknowledged the TLRP recommendations of the importance of seeking to build a learning and skills system; the need to move away from a target-driven culture; and the problems associated with over-centralised decisions on curriculum delivery and implementation.

On apprenticeships

The government's Task Force on Modern Apprenticeship commissioned Fuller and Unwin to explore the applicability of TLRP’s expansive-restrictive framework with employers and training providers throughout the UK. Their commentary on ‘Towards Expansive Apprenticeships’ was distributed to all apprenticeship providers and they gave both written and oral evidence to The House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs on the ‘Employment and Training Opportunities for Low-Skilled Young People.’

In relation to STEM

Williams’ maths education project has been critical in demonstrating the importance of appropriate pedagogies to support students who want to continue with maths into university, especially for STEM subjects. The team has shown the importance of connectionist or inclusive pedagogies rather than transmissionist approaches for both achievement in maths in sixth forms and for continuing into HE. Targets for maths education are better achieved through inclusive than instructionist approaches.

On widening participation in higher education

TLRP has been active both across the UK and internationally. For example, in England contributing to a high level policy seminar for the Learning and Skills network at the Work Foundation in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Helena Kennedy Foundation 2008 and 2009 the 1994 Group’s annual conference on research. We have also contributed to the UNESCO report on 'Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution' prepared for the UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher Education July 6th-8th in Paris.

Inter-agency learning

In response to the Children’s Services policy imperative of finding effective forms of inter-professional work to support vulnerable children, the two projects on Learning in and for Interagency Working worked alongside practitioners as they were developing new inter-professional practices. They identified what practitioners needed to know to work across professional boundaries for children's wellbeing, and how their organisations were adapting. The project team focused on working with local authorities and Children’s Trusts to assist them in recognising and responding to the systemic transformations necessary for the accommodation and sustaining of new ways of working. This work has been influential in Northern Ireland and promoted by the LGA in England.

On strategies for development of research in the field of education

Discussions with the Secretary of State for Education, the Director and Chairman of the National Educational Research Forum (NERF), the Chief Executive of ESRC, BERA Council members and many others, contributing to a 2004 reconstitution of NERF and a progressive re-orientation of its relationship to the education research community. Later, TLRP led the establishment of the Strategic Forum for Research in Education. Liaison with government representatives in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, contributing to events and deploying TLRP resources in support of the capacity building objectives in each country.


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