Oxford Brookes’ School of Education, in partnership with Science Oxford, has secured a £300,000 grant from the Educational Endowment Foundation. The grant will be used to fund a research project to work with 42 Oxfordshire primary schools to improve attainment in science. This builds on and extends work undertaken in a previous Oxford Brookes project in 2002-04, which demonstrated a clear link between cognitively challenging primary science and pupils’ levels of attainment.
Deb McGregor, Professor of Education and Helen Wilson, Programme Lead for Primary & Early Years Teacher Education recently secured £150K from the Astra Zeneca Science Teaching Trust for three years to promote CPD and research in (Primary and Secondary) School Science. Associated with this project is a funded doctoral research scholarship, focused on the impact of Action Research with teachers
Jane McNeil, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education (in collaboration with Graham Butt, Professor of Education ) has recently received a grant from the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) (£8K), and for her CPD project ‘Developing collaborative approaches towards securing proficiency in calculation’.
Members of the School maintain their activity with respect to publication in a variety of academic peer reviewed journals, professional journals, book chapters, monographs and books. Amongst a number of notable publications is David Aldridge’s (Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education) paper, 'What's Religious Education All About? A Hermeneutic Reappraisal' which was recognised in Routledge's 'Class of 2012' as the most read article in the Journal of Beliefs and Values during that year. His forthcoming book, A Hermeneutics of Religious Education, which develops these ideas in depth, is due to be published later in 2013 by Continuum.
The School’s Early Childhood team, Mary Wild, Alison Street, Catharine Gilson, Ingram Lloyd, Helena Mitchell and Nick Swarbrick, launched their book, Themes and Debates in Early Years, in March 2013 (edited by Mary Wild and Alison Street). This publication is the successor of Early Childhood Studies Reflective Reader (2007), edited and written by the same team. Both books are part of Learning Matters Early Childhood Series.
Graham Butt is presently working on an edited book, MasterClass Geography – which includes chapters by other members of the School of education. It is due to be published by Bloomsbury in 2014.
A forthcoming special edition of the journal International Research in Geographic and Environmental Education, which has an international authorship, is being coordinated and edited by Graham Butt. Changing Methodologies, by Jane Spiro (National Teaching Fellow) is recently published and and is described by Edinburgh University Press as: ‘the first book to teach methods and practice in a global context, including links to the latest developments in the field.’ It includes a chapter by Paul Wickens (Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics), and case studies derived from 10 years of Brookes MA TESOL teachers.
As might be expected of such a research active school, many of its staff are engaged as editors, editorial board members or reviewers for various peer reviewed academic and professional journals, as well as online journals.
Sustained excellence in research and publication has ensured that a significant proportion of staff from the School have been entered for the upcoming REF 2014 exercise in the Education Unit of Assessment (UoA 25).
Honorary and Visiting Fellows and Professors
The School is proud of its continuing association with a variety of Honorary and Visiting Fellows and Professors who directly participate in the Faculty’s programme of seminars, lectures and conferences, as well as presenting reports of their research at appropriate forums. Contributions have been made from international partners and increasing use is made of an active group of honorary academics, including two recently conferred Emeritus Professors (Marlene Morrison and Simon Catling). Honorary staff include: Professors Harkin, Samier, Ecclestone, Arnold, Vass and Howson. An international Research Fellowship was taken up in 2013 by Dr Jongwon Lee (South Korea).
Research areas and clusters
A number of staff have leadership roles in research groups which function beyond the School of Education. Graham Butt is the Chair for the Geography Education Research Collective (GEReCo), a group of 15 research active geography educationists from English Universities. Simon Catling is a member of GEReCo, as well as Honorary Secretary of the International Geography Union Commission on Geography Education (IGU CGE) – both these groups have held research seminars, and PGR research events, this academic year (IGU CGE Research Forum, Institute of Education, University of London, October 2012; PGR student research seminar, University of Oxford (OUDE), March 2013). GEReCo also hosted a major research seminar (with contributions by Michael Young and Margaret Roberts) on ‘powerful knowledge’ and geography at the Institute in May 2013.
Deb McGregor is active on the Research Committee of the Association of Science Education (ASE), International, and the North American Research in Science Teaching (NARST) networks; making contributions at the National Science Learning Centre (NSLC) at York University (2010 - 2013); and undertaking research work sponsored by Astra Zeneca Science Teaching Trust (AZSTT) that has informed the recent completion of an on-line CPD unit (http://www.azteachscience.co.uk/ext/cpd/dramatic-science/index.html).
The School’s five formal Research Groups thrive, engaging in a variety of research-led seminars and workshops. Amongst a wide range of different activities: the Educational Purposes, Ethics and Beliefs research group is currently putting together a large-scale inter-disciplinary project investigating the role of remembrance in educational communities. The Learning, Culture and Identity research group has bid to the British Council and British Association of Applied Linguistics, to research the impact of a whole school language policy on the development of English as an Additional language children in two Oxfordshire schools. The Educational Policy, Partnership and Leadership were instrumental in the launch of two BELMAS research interest groups - the first in Doctoral Research into Educational Leadership, the second in Research into Higher Education. The group has also hosted educational leadership seminars, including keynotes by international contributors such as Eugenie Samier (British University of Dubai).
Further research events have been established with the University of Oxford through the ‘Oxford Alliance’, including an Educational Philosophy seminar series associated with the BEPS (David Aldridge), the Leadership for Learning Programme (Deb McGregor, Linet Arthur, Liz Browne and Linda Squire); and the University of Oxford / Oxford Brookes University joint seminar series (Helena Mitchell). The Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment research group’s staff seminar series on engaging with research (from ‘first principles to publication’) (Graham Butt, Deb McGregor); the Childhood, Families and Community group’s seminar series with Oxfordshire LA on 'Making Research Work for Children' and 'Education in Research' seminars (keynote, Thomas (Birmingham))(Mary Wild, Georgina Glenny), and the Learning, Identity and Culture research group’s four annual research seminars, 'Global Citizenship, personal scholarship and pedagogic practices' conference (with CCI), and research writing for publication events (Jane Spiro).
In June 2013, the School of Education launched a new Centre for Education Consultancy and Development (Liz Browne). The Centre is designed to provide support to help schools and colleges achieve high standards for their students, at a time when local authority support is shrinking or disappearing altogether. It will also provide a dedicated resource for the School to bid for commercial tenders and contract research.