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Programme Director, Nasreen Majid addressing the conference

The IoE’s annual ATP* Conference featured an inspiring array of our students’ research presentations. As always, there was also a little nostalgia as we waved off our class of 2018 into their bright futures.

These conferences create a stimulating environment in which our final year BA Primary Education (QTS) students can showcase their lively, interesting and thought-provoking research around issues in primary education. Above all, the conference is the culmination of three years of intense hard work.

The key note speaker is always a central part of this special day and this year we were delighted to welcome Dr Diana Sous of the Institute of Education, University College, London, who focused on three diverse Portuguese Early Years settings to illustrate how conceptual understanding of democracy reflect individual school philosophies. 

Our annual ATP conference is a happy day in the calendar, as Programme Director Nasreen Majid hears and sees the fruits of her students’ study and research over the last three years as the students demonstrate the sheer quality and variety of their projects. The research is broad and accomplished and the posters in particular visually appealing and lively. 

Nasreen Majid, Director of the programme, who leads the conference and research output on the BA Primary Education (QTS) course said:

The research project showcase the outstanding contribution to educational research the BA Primary Education (QTS) students undertake with us here at the IOE. Each project is developed with an eye on how the focus will make a direct impact on the students’ practice as a trainee and beginner teacher. The impact is further amplified as the conference is designed as a platform for peer learning for the part 2 students who are just starting their ATP journey. I am so proud of the confidence and authority of students presenting their work, this shows a great insight into the area they have studied and ultimately a passion for teacher education.”

Our key note speaker to the conference, Dr Diana Dos Santos Sousa, Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL, IOE, delivered a timely key note, closely linked to her career trajectory from an early years practitioner to teaching fellow at UCL, IOE. Her presentation used evidence from three diverse Portuguese Early Years settings that illustrated how conceptual understandings of democracy reflect individual school philosophies She noted the tensions of international comparative testing, closely linking this to the upcoming comparative testing for 5 year olds. 

The best ATP candidate was Anna Wheatley, who received The Professor Rhona Stainthorp Prize for outstanding achievement in undergraduate research.

After the ceremonies, everyone was finally able to kick back and relax over a picnic on our London Road campus’s beautiful green quadrangle, enjoying the chance to be together one more time before our fantastic Year 3 students head off into their bright futures.

We are proud of our five presenting students, who did such sterling work at the conference. Congratulations to you all!

The Institute of Education’s BA Education Studies (QTS) offers four specialisms in Art, English, Mathematics and Music. Please click the links for full information.

*ATP = BA Primary Education (QTS) Advanced Teaching Project


The five final year students who were chosen to present their work at this year’s annual conference represent a broad cross section of the type of research undertaken. Here the five are interviewed on their work:

Will Hatton
Project: The extent to which mathematics is enjoyed by higher and lower attainers and the impact of their teachers’ attitudes towards the subject.

Lauren Rose
Project: The perceptions of the social inclusion of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: How do the children perceive their relationships with their peers and how does this compare to the perceptions of the adults who work with them?

Bethanie Matthews
Project: What is it about mathematics that causes anxiety for pupils?

Anna Wheatley 
Project: How does music intervention impact the social development of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Ellie Walsh
Project: An Exploration into the Use of Appropriate Children’s Literature to Support Upper Key Stage Two Teachers’ Delivery of the English Writing Curriculum.

 

Sir David Bell cuts the ribbon to open the Student Support Centre at the London Road campus, home of the Institute of Education

Sir David Bell’s popularly attended recent BA Education Studies Annual Lecture reflected on where the power really lies within our education system. Drawing on his experiences as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, the Vice Chancellor gave an insider’s account of our education system during his presentation at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education on 10 May.

Watch the lecture here

Sir David’s talk, the Inaugural Lecture of the new BA in Education Studies, fielded questions from students past and present, as well as people across the globe, from Bangladesh to San Diego. 

The first in a series, these annual lectures will aim to shine a spotlight on the special interests posed by this new programme, which started in 2017 at the Institute of Education, currently ranked 3rd in the UK for Education, according to the Guardian University Rankings 2018.  

The programme’s strong focus on inclusion enables its students to explore issues such as creativity in learning, diversity, social justice and disability, as well as many fundamental moral and social questions in education, such as: Why are there differences in educational attainment for different students? Is there a link between health and learning? Do all citizens have the right to an education?

If you have any other queries about the lecture or the programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: t.a.wilson@reading.ac.uk  or 0118 378 2641.

 

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Are you considering a career in teaching?

Perhaps you are a teaching assistant, a career changer, or even a qualified teacher looking to return to teaching. Or you may be one of the many excellent teachers trained overseas, looking to enter the UK market – or indeed you may be graduating in Summer 2018.

Whoever you are, you are warmly invited by the University of Reading (ranked 3rd in UK for Education*), TeachSlough** and Upton Court Grammar School in Berkshire to a special evening dedicated to those who wish to find out more about getting into primary and secondary teaching.

The evening will be mainly informal; once you have registered your interest in the event via the link below, please feel free to drop in, meet the team and to find out more!

Join us on 21 February 4.30- 6.30 at Upton Court to discover the fields of teaching opportunities available to you.

TeachSlough** has a wide range of excellent training opportunities for teaching, both in primary and secondary schools. The Train to Teach evening will showcase these prospects and encourage anyone who has an interest in teaching to get to know the field, chat to the experts from both Upton Court and the University of Reading and find out what route would suit them best.

Come along to our event to meet the experts:

  • University of Reading* tutors.
  • The TeachSlough team
  • Specialist mentors from our partnership schools as well as from other local training partnerships

 

Train to Teach Wednesday 21st February 2018, 4.30pm – 6.30pm Upton Court Grammar School Lascelles Road Slough SL3 7PR

Please confirm your attendance via this link

eventbrite.co.uk/e/train-to-teach-tickets-41105941979

For more information, please contact:

Manni Sanghera Upton Court Grammar School Lascelles Road Upton Berkshire SL3 7PR

schooldirect@uptoncourtgrammar.org.uk / www.teachslough.org.uk

 

*Guardian University League Table 2018: University of Reading ranked 3rd in UK for Education

**TeachSlough School Direct Teacher Training is provided in Slough Partnership schools, working together with the University of Reading. All courses lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You can also opt to do the PGCE course, which leads to 60 Masters credits. You may be eligible for a salaried place, or a bursary.

 

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One of the most attractive career options available to students from almost any discipline is the University of Reading’s own Institute of Education. 

With us you have the advantage of your alumni discount; you can explore the many routes to becoming a teacher; discover short courses that convert your knowledge to teaching power; and engage in a career in one of the UK’s most rapidly expanding fields of expertise. 

Embracing the demands of the 21st century requires educated, engaged and active citizens; individuals with resilience and the confidence to tackle challenges. At the Institute of Education we have the research, the expertise and the passion to help develop you into one of these leaders.

The IoE is ranked 3rd in the UK for Education (The Guardian University League Table 2018), with internationally renowned and award-winning academics. Our highly reputable partnerships with over 300 schools enables us, together, to train the next generation of outstanding teachers.

Come and see us in London Road to find out more – it’s beautiful here!

CONTACT US: Email: ioe@reading.ac.uk, Telephone:  + 44 (0) 118 378 2601

A recent study suggests that the way to raise academic attainment in disadvantaged children is to get them out of the classroom altogether.

The University of Reading is to publish research that confirms outdoor learning and activity among this group improves exam results.

The three year study, conducted by Reading’s Dr Carol Fuller and the Ufton Court Education Trust, scrutinised the role of outdoor residential experiences on under achieving students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. They explored whether these activities had an impact on the children’s educational attainment.

The impetus for this research was Carol’s desire to help children achieve and become the best they can be. She asserts that children’s personal achievements benefit society as a whole, producing more resilient, productive adults.

This aim tallied closely with the mission of the Ufton Court Educational Trust, which is to raise the aspiration and achievement of all children and in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dr Fuller’s research spanned four years and involved her working closely with pupils from the John Madejski Academy (JMA), which has close links to the University of Reading and teaches many children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. The study consisted of a mix of outdoor activities and learning, set against the beautiful backdrop of Ufton Court Educational Trust’s Elizabethan manor house in Berkshire.

Carol hoped her studies might help redress social hindrances to children’s learning achievements, like chaotic home lives, lack of resources and a resultant dearth of opportunity. Often children from this sort of background will not feel a sense of belonging at school. They may also suffer low self esteem and this combination can lead to them causing trouble or failing to engage – most likely, both.

Carol suggests that in the formal atmosphere of the classroom, such children can feel curtailed by their poor understanding of social conventions. The many unwritten rules can ensure that already disadvantaged children feel they just don’t belong.

At Ufton Court, the study group of children discovered freedom from society’s rules. They developed the confidence to speak up and participate, sometimes to a startling degree, in a way they wouldn’t have in the classroom.

Most importantly, the children had fun and benefited from the stability of their new opportunity, developing greater engagement with their work and those around them as a result.

What is powerfully interesting is seeing how these very positive effects translated back in the classroom.

Carol compared the outdoor group’s academic results with a second group that did not take part and found her anecdotal evidence strongly confirmed by GCSE results. For the active group, GCSE educational gains in terms of overall attainment, as well as attainment in GCSE English and Maths, showed much better results than the non participating group. Carol’s research also put a spotlight on the difference in attainment between the two groups and found it to be statistically significant.

Dr Fuller said: “This means that we can say, with some confidence, that these experiences have contributed in an important way to the overall educational attainment outcomes for the students in the research group.”

The key to this success is repeadness. “The effects of one trip can wear off, but making the trips a regular event continues to remind the pupils that they have done worthwhile things and are capable human beings. This increases their confidence in the classroom and probably in life afterwards,” said Carol.

Persuasive anecdotal evidence during the study also pointed to the activities having an all-round benefit on the children’s well-being.

There are several remarkable case studies that Carol brings to light, notably “Orlando” (a pseudonym) who at the start of the research was about to be expelled. By the end, he is an ambassador for his school, speaking to 500 prospective parents about why they should choose JMA.

Another poignant story tells of a shy girl who was too fearful even to leave her room at home. She displayed worryingly quiet behaviour and could not socialise with other children or participate in class. But during her field trip, the youngster managed to take part in a night-time woodland walk at Ufton Park. This experience enabled her to turn a corner and she found that her fear of going out had all but disappeared. She reports that she now goes out frequently with her friends back at home. That a tiny thing like a woodland walk can be life-changing exemplifies the value of this research.

Were these results translated to policy, discussion would have to revolve around building teachers’ confidence in outdoor learning. It would certainly focus on current teacher training and whether it can encompass the skills to lead outdoor learning activities. And fundamentally, should Ofsted be including a mark on levels of outdoor learning and activity?

Meanwhile, activities like those at Ufton Court are not part of the formal curriculum, nor are they Ofsted assessed. Yet these are extraordinary results that clearly show struggling young people turning their lives and educational attainment around. Can this be ignored by policy makers?

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