Evidence

How can schools care for the whole child and avoid becoming ‘exam factories’?

At the London Festival of Education, two participants, working in alternative education, were concerned about the over emphasis by policy makers on academic achievement in schools.  They asked how Ofsted might measure more holistically the contributions school makes to children’s lives to temper the focus on exam results.

Professor Chris Bonell conducts research into the effects of health programmes in schools on students’ sense of well-being as well as their academic achievements.  He argues strongly for the contribution these programmes make to children’s lives and discusses some of the evidence for his convictions.  He is pessimistic about the direction that policy is taking regarding health and well being initiatives in schools, however he suggests ways in which the effects of these programmes could be measured by Ofsted or others.  This podcast introduces a lively lecture he recently gave about his work.

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Evidence

How can teachers make use of research in the classroom?

Lisa, a secondary school teacher from Cumbria, wants to know how teachers can use research in their teaching practice.

Professor Toby Greany discusses how teachers can access research, how they can collaborate to investigate their own questions and the importance of knowledge mobilisation throughout schools and between them.  He mentions the Pupil Premium Toolkit and the Institute for Effective Education as sources of good quality research findings.  He advocates for practice based research as being valuable for professional development in terms of becoming a more sophisticated teacher and improving leadership skills.

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Evidence

How can schools evidence the value of arts and culture in their curriculum?

An advocate from an arts charity, participating at the recent London Festival of Education, wanted to know about evidencing the arts in schools.

Professor Andrew Burn discusses his work in supporting arts assessment.  He concludes that allowing teachers sufficient time to consider student’s creativity may be the key to valuable judgment.  In broader debates about the value of the arts as against the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) curricula, he suggests that video games studios offer a future model of how both may be brought together constructively.

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Evidence

What is the evidence to support Steiner Schools?

Katherine wants to know about Steiner Schools.  She is attracted to them for her young daughter but what is the evidence for their effectiveness?  She has heard about some of their stranger practices but are they myths?

Jo Pearce has studied Steiner schools and specifically their approach to spirituality.  She reviews the evidence and recommends an overview of these schools that gives a balanced picture of their contribution to education.  She also explains the key tenets of the Steiner approach and reflects on the relationship between the schools and the government.

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