Another Year, Another Baseline: the case against ‘schoolification’ in the Early Years

By Maxime Perrott BA, MSc, MRes  PhD Researcher in the School of Education, University of Bristol

What is it?

The Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is a new assessment of the early literacy and numeracy skills of 4-year-old children, administered by teachers, teaching assistants and other early years practitioners within the first 6 weeks of the child joining reception class. The cohort’s attainment scores will be used as the new starting point for which progress will be measured at the end of Key Stage 2 (Standards Agency 2020). The RBA and Key Stage 2 SATS will be compared across the cohort, regardless of whether the cohort in Year 6 is made up of the same pupils from the original reception class. (more…)

Latest Climate Action at the School of Education, University of Bristol

Blog post by Lauren Hennessy, Research Associate on the Climate Change Education Research Network

Since the launch of the Climate Change Education Research Network (CCERN) in November 2020, numerous new research projects and initiatives have been developed at the University of Bristol’s School of Education. Some have come out of CCERN’s work, others exist quite separately. This blog post highlights just a small selection of those initiatives. (more…)

Four Black women who have advanced human rights: IWD2022 special

Blog by Zibah Nwako, University of Bristol and Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, University of Bristol

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/swiss-image.ch/Photo Michael Buholzer/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Around the world, the activism of Black women has been instrumental in shaping social justice agendas and promoting human rights. Their work has improved the health and welfare of women and girls, protected the environment and elevated the voices of the oppressed, both in their communities and further afield.

As researchers who focus on women and children’s wellbeing and rights, we have come across the work of many such Black women. The four introduced here are inspirational – for the changes they brought about, for their work ethic, and for their passion to improve the everyday lives of marginalised or oppressed groups. (more…)

Creative methods unlocked my lockdown research

By Sarah McLaughlin, BA(Hons), MSC. PGCE, School of Education, University of Bristol (Doctorate in Education student)

I commenced my Doctorate in Education journey in September 2018 – pre Covid! Little did I know that a pandemic would join me along the way and threaten to hinder my research.

When Covid rules put a halt on face-to-face data collection, I had big decisions to make. Should I wait it out until restrictions lift? After all, this would blow over after a few months, right?! Or do I change my methods? I needed to find a way of giving my participants a voice and allowing them to tell me their stories and reflections so that I could ask questions and understand how they constructed their return to education as mature students. (more…)

Open Autism Research – thinking about the steps forward

Blog by Dr Felicity Sedgewick, Masters Level Psychology Programme Director, School of Education, University of Bristol

The best way to start the new year (in my opinion) is spending a day with interesting people talking about interesting ideas. In early January, that is exactly what a group of autism researchers (autistic and non-autistic, from a range of career stages), autistic people, and charity and journal representatives did. (more…)

The School of Education Climate Justice Challenge 2022: Get involved!

The School of Education is launching the Climate Justice Challenge 2022 and we want you to get involved!

As part of the “Advocacy” element of the School’s Climate Action Plan, during the month of March 2022, the School of Education is undertaking a ‘Climate Justice Challenge: Learning from Change’, supported by cCHANGE, a team of experts in transformational change from Norway.

The aim is for the challenge to help us explore how we mobilise to make wider changes. In particular, it will help us work on how we can act, as individuals, in teams, in our School, and in the wider University community, in ways that are consistent with the University’s declaration of a climate emergency. The challenge focus was chosen to reflect the broad agenda and commitments of the School. (more…)

Education Policy and Research Service Autumn Review: Top Ten

Blog by Helen Aberdeen, Director, Education Policy and Research Service, School of Education, University of Bristol

A Happy New Year to all in education – let’s hope it is a more settled year than 2021! As Director of the Education Policy and Research Service (formerly DSS), producing monthly summaries of key policy and research, I have had something of a bird’s eye view of the educational landscape over the last year – think of me as a seagull eyeing up passing ships and attempting to swoop when something tempting comes into view.

So, let’s have a look at the most popular summaries downloaded by fellow educational seagulls (aka our subscribers) last term – we’ll refer to them as the ‘Top Ten.’  Some of these reports and more are available to view in our samples webpage. (more…)

Mindset

Blog post by George Mitchell, MFL PGCE student; School of Education, and Sport Psychologist

The mindset is our beliefs and how we can make sense of what goes on around us. This mindset plays a part in shaping a lot of our behaviours and the way we handle situations. When developing our mindset, we can intentionally evaluate, modify, and refine these beliefs, and therefore move it along the continuum from fixed towards growth mastery. (more…)

Rent strikes and the continuing relevance of Paulo Freire at 100

Blog post by Dr Lucy Wenham, School of Education, University of Bristol; and Dr Helen Young, London South Bank University

Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, student rent strikes took place in many universities in England. Lockdowns and moves to online learning meant that students were at times required to pay rent for accommodation they were unable to occupy, or which offered significantly reduced amenities. These students were largely first-year undergraduates, in accommodation owned, overseen or marketed by their universities. They often did not know other students even within their accommodation blocks, as the pandemic lowered occupancy levels and movement and mixing was frequently restricted. Nonetheless, these students joined together to resist, to act collectively and to refuse to pay their rent. Their action resulted in at least partial victory, in some places, for some moments. It also resulted in a growing critical consciousness among those involved. (more…)

Teacher motivation and student learning in India – which is the chicken, and which is the egg?

Blog post by Rhiannon Moore (PhD student, School of Education, University of Bristol) and Anustup Nayak, (Project Director for Classroom Instruction and Practice, Central Square Foundation)

What do we know? Teacher motivation and student learning

Teacher motivation is a commonly discussed topic within policy and research in LMICs. Such discussions tend to have two main points of focus: firstly, that teacher motivation is worryingly low; and secondly, that this is having an impact on student learning. In this blog, we are particularly interested in exploring the latter of these two points. We largely focus our discussion on teachers in India, where our experience and research suggests that it may be helpful to consider this relationship as a two-way cycle instead of an input-output process. Thinking about teacher motivation in this way can change the way we think about both teachers and students, asking that we challenge the often over-simplified picture of a poorly motivated teacher whose behaviour inhibits their students’ learning, and instead start to consider teachers as dynamic agents whose own needs may not be being met. (more…)