Education review abstracts


Vol. 21 No. 1, 2008 — Teaching in the Future


Teachers as champions of innovation

David Frost, University of Cambridge.


David Frost discusses how teacher accountability has changed over the years, from the relative freedom of the 1970s to the introduction of the National Curriculum in 1988 and the start of central prescription. He argues that in order to lead change and improve practice, all members of a school should be involved in influencing and contributing to the development of the school. He discusses ways in which this theory can be supported within the school, including good partnership with outside agencies, supportive conditions within the school and the opportunity to share good practice through networks such as HertsCam.


Constructing sites for learning and teaching

John MacBeath, Chair of Educational Leadership at the University of Cambridge.


John MacBeath discusses how different environments affect children’s learning. He argues that the conventional classroom environment can restrict creativity and spontaneity in teaching and learning, discouraging teachers from utilising their knowledge of children’s interests, attitudes and prior learning. He predicts that alternative learning sites will become more common in future, including the use of virtual networking sites. These varied settings, he says, will allow teachers to become more flexible and creative in their teaching.


Building a perfect team: leadership in the twenty-first century

Steve Munby, Chief Executive of the National College for School Leadership.


Steve Munby describes the expanding role and responsibilities of twenty first century school leaders in an era where the expectations of both government and the public are increasingly ambitious. He explains how school leaders will need to demonstrate the ability to build the perfect team, rather than striving to be the perfect leader, if they are to meet those expectations. He recognises that successful modern leaders possess collaborative skills, leading with influence rather than by instruction, in order to build those key relationships crucial to achieving the best outcomes for our children and young people.


Attainment gaps between deprived and disadvantaged schools

Dr Lee Elliot Major, Director of Research at the Sutton Trust.


Lee Elliot Major considers the reasons why the UK continues to have low levels of social mobility. He draws on research commissioned by the Sutton Trust to argue that there are two obvious policy responses to raising social mobility: one, targeting greater resources towards deprived schools, and two, creating more balanced intakes of pupils. In both cases possible reforms are fraught with difficulties and need to be implemented through a more radical approach to improving social mobility.


Teachers under pressure: The impact of Government policies on teachers’ working lives.

Maurice Galton, Cambridge University.


Maurice Galton places the experiences of individual teachers under pressure within a world-wide context. He argues that the dramatic changes in society have forced the teaching profession to change too. The reaction from the Government has been to introduce further testing. Workforce changes have had both a positive and negative impact on teaching. Teachers stated that preparation, planning and assessment time was highly beneficial, yet expressed concerns about the extension of the role of teaching assistants beyond their remit in supporting teachers and pupils. At the same time, teaching and learning strategies such as Learning to Learn and Assessment for Learning require a high level of teacher input and experience if they are to be effective and raise pupil achievement.


We are the future of the teaching profession

Young Teachers Advisory Committee.


In an edition of “Education Review” focusing on the future of the teaching profession, it is important to hear from those who will be the most involved in the future. Members of the Union’s Young Teachers Advisory Committee were invited to contribute their views, which would draw on their experiences in the classroom so far, as well as looking ahead to the future. Submissions were received from a number of young teachers, both secondary and primary, working in various parts of the country. This provides a representative collection of the thoughts, concerns and ideas of those members of the profession who are in the early stages of teaching.


Classroom dialogue and the teacher’s professional role

Neil Mercer is Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge.


Neil Mercer explores the importance of classroom dialogue for children’s development. He raises concerns about the lack of social interaction that some children experience at home and stresses the importance of providing all children with the opportunity to take part in good classroom discussion, the characteristics of which he explores. He discusses the outcomes of his classroom-based research projects, “Thinking Together” and advises teachers on how they might provide opportunities for reasoned discussion in their classroom.


Never a better time to be a teacher

Keith Bartley, former teacher and Her Majesty’s Inspector.


Keith Bartley celebrates the increase and variety of resources in schools, including new styles of CPD such as mentoring and coaching. He discusses the various ‘route maps’ introduced by the Government, but raises concerns that increased testing and the introduction of league tables have not stopped the widening achievement gap between the social classes and that this has resulted in conflict between trying to achieve higher standards and children’s well-being. He stresses the importance of the General Teaching Council for teachers and discusses the development of the GTC Teacher Learning Academy, which will offer a system for recognising and celebrating teacher learning and development. He comments on the CPD needs of overseas trained teachers and supply teachers and considers the introduction of ‘active’ registration, which would reflect teachers’ continuing commitment to updating their own professional practice.


A Masters level profession

John Bangs, Assistant Secretary – Education and Equal Opportunities of the National Union of Teachers.


The Government’s proposals for Masters Degrees for teachers is analysed by John Bangs. He argues that the situation for teachers in England cannot be compared with the situation in Finland, where the Masters Degree is part of an educational vision which includes the quality and status of the teaching profession. He refers to positive initiatives in this country such as the Union Learning Fund, as well as those which should be developed further like teacher exchanges, scholarships and sabbaticals for teachers to undertake their own research. The NUT’s work in this area shows that coaching, mentoring and “buddying” schemes are the most effective. For the Masters Degree to be successful, the Government needs to show its trust in teachers and make it an optional entitlement with funding rather than a time-limited bureaucratic requirement.


Primary education: who’s in control?

Dominic Wyse, a lecturer in Primary and Early Years Education in the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education.


Dominic Wyse considers the effects of increasing Government control of the curriculum from 1988 onwards on the primary sector. He argues that the statutory assessment system has resulted in a narrowed curriculum with less opportunity to focus on foundation subjects and has lessened schools’ ability to provide quality teaching and learning. He calls for a critical review of the outcomes of state control and continual change on the primary curriculum and assessment system in terms of value for money, comparison with other countries and impact on teachers and pupils, which would also use research evidence as a vital component.


Treating the teacher as a professional

Baroness Pauline Perry, a member of the House of Lords.


Baroness Perry argues that the status and motivation of the teaching profession has been damaged by media images and the Government’s introduction of league tables, targets and a culture of naming and shaming. She expresses concern that unless change occurs, the profession will stop attracting teachers who excel. She discusses the Public Services Improvement Policy Group report, “Restoring Pride in our Public Services”, which suggests ways in which the status and motivation of the profession can be improved. This includes proposals for a four-stage accountability model, appointment of a Chief Education and Skills Officer and establishment of a Royal College of Teaching. Baroness Perry argues that the merger of the General Teaching Council, Teacher Development Agency and National College for School Leadership would further raise morale and standards in the teaching profession.


What have we have learned from TLRP?

Mary James and Andrew Pollard.


Mary James and Andrew Pollard present the findings of the TLRP, the UK’s largest programme of educational research. They argue that a debate on the aims of education is important and that current testing and assessments as indicators of learning and teaching progress ignore the fact that students should be prepared for life beyond the examination hall. The programme has identified ten key principles which should be employed to ensure effective teaching and learning, which James and Pollard discuss in detail in the article.



Vol. 21 No. 2, 2009 — Schools on the global stage


Internationalising learning – a Teacher2Teacher approach

Cathryn Gathercole, Education Manager at Practical Action and Delphine Ruston, teacher, senior manager and photographer.


This article describes the development and delivery of a pilot continuing professional development (CPD) course for teachers, promoting international development through the secondary curriculum. It illustrates how the peer coaching approach favoured by the NUT supports “internationalising learning”. The article concludes with evaluation from the participants and identifies areas for improvement.


Global learning in schools, and the implications for policy

Hetan Shah, Chief Executive and Helen Young, Policy and Research Manager, both at DEA.


Good quality global learning is taking place in some schools but not all. This article outlines research by Development Education Association (DEA) and Ipsos MORI around the need for, and the impact of, global learning. It goes on to consider what changes in education policy would provide an enabling policy environment for global learning in all schools. It argues that this is necessary to prepare young people to thrive in a complex, globalised society and economy and to contribute towards a more just and sustainable world.


Preparing young people for global citizenship

Ivan Lewis, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development.


The Government’s commitment to education is not confined to the UK. Ivan Lewis outlines how the Department for International Development is working closely with schools to support them in educating pupils to be global citizens through development and school twinning projects and encouraging older pupils to undertake voluntary work in developing countries.


What can teachers tell us that we don’t know already?

Michael Davidson, Senior Analyst in the Directorate for Education of the OECD.


The OECD’s new Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) will make a significant contribution to the international evidence-base on what policies and practices help create effective teaching and learning environments in schools. This article explains what TALIS is, the information that has been collected and what will be learnt from the analysis of the TALIS data when the first results are published this year.


Classrooms for Kenya – An antidote to targets, testing and tables!

Malcolm Peppiatt, teacher.


This article is about one school’s attempt to meet the challenge of providing a meaningful educational experience which is not driven [or restricted] by examination demands or league table position. It looks at how it has used its specialist school status as a catalyst to run creative enrichment activities which widen the horizons and raise the aspirations of its students, whilst bringing a global dimension to its curriculum.


Connecting youth – making a difference in the world

Mary Gowers, physics graduate.


The iEARN (International Education and Resources Network) allows pupils in the UK to link up with their peers in over 160 countries for a single lesson or a long term project. Curriculum linked activities provide a focus for collaborative working that develops an understanding of a wide range of cultures and attitudes. At the same time important skills can be developed and practiced in a secure, moderated environment.


Danish and English education systems: What lessons can we learn?

Professor Peter Mortimore.


The Danish and English education systems are different in terms of their structures and cultures – including the relationships between the various partners, approach to the curriculum and attitude to pupils. Peter Mortimore describes the main features of the Danish system and highlights the differences between the two countries. He also evaluates the efficacy of the contrasting approaches and draws out any lessons from one system for the other.


Climate change – global warming or global yawning?

Mick Waters, Director of Curriculum for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).


In this article Mick Waters, Director of Curriculum for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), looks at how the curriculum can be made more relevant and appealing to young people. He describes the work that the QCA is undertaking to promote global learning and encourage children to make a connection between themselves and the world around them.


Hidden privatisation in public education

Stephen J Ball is Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education and Deborah Youdell, Professor of Education.


This paper is concerned with the growing tendency amongst governments internationally to introduce forms of privatisation into public education and to move to privatise sections of public education. It identifies a set of global trends in the privatisation of education. It is based on a report prepared for Education International (Ball and Youdell, 2008) which details the variety of forms that privatisation in and of education takes; connects these forms of privatisation to particular contexts; considers some of the impacts and consequences of these privatising tendencies for the work of teachers and students’ experiences of school; and explores some of the mechanisms and interests that are driving these changes. Examples and illustrations of the trends noted here can be found in the report.


Catchy cartoons, wayward websites and mobile marketing - food marketing to children in a global world

Clare Corbett and Colin Walker, food campaigners at the consumer organisation, Which?


Childhood obesity and diet-related disease in the UK is rising dramatically. Which?, the UK’s largest consumer organisation, has carried out extensive research into the promotion of less healthy foods to children including a recent analysis of the practices of leading UK food companies. In this article, Clare Corbett and Colin Walker identify the range of promotions used to promote less healthy foods to children, evaluate Government and industry action to date and discuss the need for action on a UK, European and global level.


Ensuring fair-trade for teachers – the role of the Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol

Dr Degazon-Johnson, Education Adviser.


Roli Degazon-Johnson explores the development of the Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol and the role which the international labour movement – specifically the teachers’ unions of the Commonwealth – have played in ensuring that the human right of the teacher to mobility for employment is balanced against the impact of the loss of this human capital through “brain drain” to the education systems of developing countries and small states.


Working in partnership to make education for all a reality

Jo Rhodes-Jiao, trained as an English teacher.


For 50 years Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) has been making a vital contribution to education in the world’s poorest countries by sending people, not money. Here VSO’s Education Goal Leader, Jo Rhodes-Jiao, describes the impact of international volunteering on teachers and children in Africa and Asia, as well as the many rewards reaped closer to home.


The voice of teachers worldwide

Jan Eastman, Deputy General Secretary of EI.


Education International (EI) speaks for teachers throughout the world. Jan Eastman describes how EI’s campaigns and advocacy span human, trade union and equality rights and how the aim of education for all can unite all teachers and inspire those working in the most challenging and hostile of circumstances.


Education: subject to global markets

Mary Compton, teaches in Wales.


Mary Compton argues that free market education policies have had a devastating effect on education systems all over the world. In particular she examines the way in which the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is being used to entrench these policies in the developing world and their possible future effects in the UK.


A world of CPD opportunities

Matt Cresswell is schools promotions manager at the British Council.


Adding an international dimension to continuing professional development can be an invigorating and enriching experience, bringing teachers into contact with education professionals around the world and offering a fresh outlook on teaching or school management. To make matters even better, a range of schemes is available to enable teachers to discover what the education world has to offer.


Book reviews

Dorothy Y Selleck, Early Years Consultant.



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