Why the International Day of Education matters for Bristol

By Leon Tikly, International Ambassador for Bristol, Professor in Education, University of Bristol & UNESCO Chair.

In a world marked by conflict, there is much that Bristol schools, colleges and universities can do to foster peace in the city and around the world. 24 January marks UNESCO International Day of Education, an annual event meant to highlight the importance of an Inclusive and Quality Education available to all across the lifespan. The theme for this year is Learning for Lasting Peace. This is highly relevant given the number of conflicts currently going on around the world from Gaza to Ukraine, to Afghanistan to Syria, and in the Horn of Africa. (more…)

Next steps for filmmaking with older adults

By Nick Gray & Tot Foster, School of Education, University of Bristol

In this blog post, Connecting Through Culture (CTC) Researchers Nick Gray and Tot Foster from the School of Education, University of Bristol,  reflect in conversation on their participatory film work in CTC and discuss how they are planning to carry this forward.  (more…)

The noises of knowledge production

Blog by Dr Rachel Helme and Michael Rumbelow, TLC Research Centre, School of Education

How to record and represent the non-verbal sounds of the School of Education? This was the challenge we set ourselves in an experimental research project recently funded by the TLC Research Centre.

Several constraints were explicit in the brief, for example to avoid identifiable human speech, to spend a certain number of hours on production, ethically to make people aware of when and where and why we were recording, to use only the relatively modest equipment budgeted for, and to produce a short podcast-length soundfile of up to 20 minutes. (more…)

UK announces AI funding for teachers: how this technology could change the profession


Nicola Warren-Lee, University of Bristol and Lyndsay Grant, University of Bristol

During the recent international AI Safety Summit held in the UK, the government announced a further £2 million to be invested in Oak National Academy – a publicly funded classroom resource hub – to develop artificial intelligence tools to help reduce teachers’ workloads.

Generative AI, such as Open AI’s ChatGPT, responds to prompts from users to produce content. It has become a hot topic in education.

While there isn’t much up-to-date research on how teachers are using AI, we know from our work with schools that teachers are experimenting with AI to create lesson plans, classroom resources and schemes of work. For example, a teacher might ask ChatGPT, “make me a lesson plan on river flooding in Tewkesbury for year seven”. Within seconds, a plan will be available containing learning objectives, materials, activities, homework, assessments and more. (more…)

Unveiling the feedback secret: Your bridge to academic success


I’m Lala Ismayilova from Azerbaijan and I had the privilege of being an international Master’s student at the University of Bristol in the academic year 2022/2023 to study Education Leadership and Policy (MSc.). This enabled me to fully comprehend the blend of excitement that accompanies studying in a foreign land.

In this blog post, I aim to shed light on the transformative influence of formative feedback, emphasizing how it can serve as a vital conduit to achieving academic excellence during your tenure at this esteemed institution. (more…)

Most secondary schools don’t have to teach the national curriculum. It should be revised and restored – or discarded


Lorna Smith, University of Bristol

Each year, when new PGCE students arrive at the University of Bristol to start their journey towards becoming English teachers, I ask them to study the national curriculum. This is the statutory document prescribing what children aged from five to 16 are taught at school.

I do this despite that curriculum appearing increasingly irrelevant. It is rarely – if ever – seen in the schools in which our student teachers train, despite it being the only document mandating what council-maintained schools “must teach”.

Academies – self-governing schools receiving direct government funding, rather than being council-maintained – are exempt from the curriculum. As of January 2023, 80.4% of secondary schools are academies or free schools, accounting for 80.2% of secondary school pupils.

The importance of the curriculum will change if a Labour government comes to power at the next general election. The party has promised a review of curriculum and assessment – and that all state schools, including academies, will be required to follow the “core national curriculum”.

It may be, though, that the national curriculum has outlived its usefulness. A more radical approach could be to dispense with it altogether. (more…)

BlogJAM: Latin America regional encuentro – Four days of mutual learning and good vibes

Blog by Dr Raúl Valdivia-Murgueytio, EdJAM Research Associate, University of BristolEdJAM-Regional-Event_July-23_Picture

The EdJAM regional event in Bogota, Colombia, was a resounding success. During the last week of July, colleagues from all the EdJAM-funded projects in Latin America came together to share their approaches to dealing with the violent past in their communities. This was also an opportunity to get to know each other in person after a year of online meetings, and to discuss future collaborations. (more…)

Welcome to the School of Education: From an international student at the University of Bristol

By Chidinma Ibemere, MSc Education (Leadership and Policy), School of Education

Dear SOE Student,
My name is Chidinma Ibemere. I had the privilege of studying Education Leadership and Policy (MSc.) as a 2022/2023 Think Big Scholar. It is my pleasure to write you this informal piece to welcome you to the prestigious School of Education, at the University of Bristol.

Firstly, I would love to humbly congratulate you on achieving this milestone. You have done well for yourself, and you should be proud of being a part of an exceptional community with a proven track record of academic and social achievements.

As you begin this new phase, it is not unusual to have mixed emotions. This may be the first time leaving your family or your comfort zone and it is absolutely normal to be anxious or uncertain. Well, I am here to assure you that you will be fine.

I have decided to share some tips that may be useful as you navigate this new experience. I hope it meets you well! (more…)

Engineering education – the importance of learning from failure

Kevin ChowBy Kevin Chow, Doctoral Researcher,  School of Education, University of Bristol

Despite the growing popularity of STEM and engineering education in recent years, it has been noticed that there is generally a lack of understanding of the engineering profession amongst the general public as well as parents and students. Additionally, the engineering industry has observed a decline in the quality of engineering students.1 When being asked to describe a good student, the most common terms are hardworking, being good in academics, submitting work on time, being regular, participating in-class activities, and achieving high grades, etc. However, However, these qualities do not guarantee success in becoming a good engineer.


The Education Policy and Research Service (EPRS) Top Ten for 2022-23

By Helen Aberdeen, Director Education Policy and Research Service (EPRS) School of Education, University of Bristol

For many who work in education, the summer break provides a welcome breathing space to clear those little jobs which we have been meaning to do for ages. It also gives us some time to look back and reflect.

As Director of our Education Policy and Research Service (EPRS), I have had a busy year – in a good way. In addition to summarising 110 research and policy reports, we have developed a new EPRS toolkit based on the Core Content Framework for Initial Teacher Training – we will be officially launching the toolkit in September, hoping to persuade many ITT institutions of its usefulness. (more…)