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What if… we struck a different balance between school autonomy and regulation?

5:45 pm to 7:00 pm, 13 February 2019 Could we hold a mirror up to teaching practice and school performance, and support their improvement, more effectively than we do now? What might that look like if we started from a blank page? The way in which schools are held to account in England, based in inspection and performance indicators that lead off from regular high-stakes testing of pupils, is highly contentious. The criticisms are many and varied: that the measures don’t provide a valid...


What if… our main objective in education was to build wisdom?

The majority view would appear to be that building pupils’ subject knowledge is vital but that there is also room for paying attention to skills and other aspects of young people’s development. The more nuanced question seems to be what kind of curricular diet – and associated pedagogy and assessment – will best develop young people’s wisdom, which is surely our main goal. In this debate we bring together a range of perspectives to mull over the question of how to develop pupils who are wise...


Art at the heart of education

2018 Global Teacher Prize Lecture. Art at the heart of education: why you cannot be truly educated without the arts, and why their decline affects us all - Andria Zafirakou, MBE To experience the arts is to experience aspects of humanity which cannot easily be defined or understood in another context. In whatever medium it comes, the importance of ensuring young people have – to coin a phrase – access to the best that has been thought, and said, and created in the arts has never been more...


What if... we re-designed our school testing and assessment system from scratch?

IOE Public Debates What are Key Stage tests and national exams for – to support learning, certify competence, or sort pupils by ability? One answer is ‘all of the above’. But can our assessment system realistically do all of these things, simultaneously? There is the other question of whether we need all the formal tests and exams that we currently have, the number of which continues to expand, in the process prompting concerns among commentators and parents alike. And what about formative...


What if... we wanted our kids to be happier?

Young people’s poor sense of well-being has hit the headlines this year, with talk of crisis and a lot of soul-searching about why so many of our children seem to be so unhappy and ill at ease these days. Thankfully, serious mental health problems remain comparatively rare and it’s important to remember that childhood and the teenage years, in particular, have always been a difficult time of transition. But something else seems to be going on today, from an earlier age. Blame has been laid...


The struggle for social justice in education

An occasion to mark Professor Geoff Whitty’s long-standing association with the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) – from trainee teacher to Director Emeritus. We’ll be reflecting on Geoff’s time at the IOE and his contributions to the field of sociology of education as well as looking more broadly at the limits and possibilities for realising social justice in and through education.


What if... we wanted all kids to love maths?

We use maths in every aspect of our lives. We need numeracy at work, as citizens to make sense of economic news, as patients to understand risks, as consumers to work out the best deal; the list goes on. But it’s something that as a nation we’re not good at, and poor numeracy costs individuals and the UK dearly. And despite this, it remains acceptable to say – boast even – ‘I’m no good at maths’. Why do so many of us struggle with maths at school, and what can schools and parents do so that...


Talking Twitter With Rob Webster (@maximisingTAs)

Rob Webster, Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) Lead and Researcher talks about why he joined Twitter, his initial approaches to using the platform, and the professional and personal benefits. Visit our website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ioe_london Follow Rob on Twitter: https://twitter.com/maximisingTAs


What if… we were able to say more about how the brain learns?

IOE Public Debates The rise of neuroscience within education, as in other spheres, has been dramatic, so much so that accusations of ‘neuro mania’ and warnings about ‘neuro myths’ have become common place. Are we correct to pin our hopes on this field as a means of improving learning and attainment? In this debate we bring together leading neuroscientists and educationalists to reflect on the ‘state of the art’ in (educational) neuroscience, future prospects for the field in providing...


What if… we thought anew about how we support special educational needs and disability?

This year the Warnock Report turns 40 years old. How far have we come and where should we go next? The Warnock Report marked a pivotal change in the provision of education for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) – encouraging these children’s inclusion in mainstream classes, and introducing the system of ‘statementing’ that set out a child’s needs and entitlement to additional support. But much has changed in the intervening years – not least the increase in the...


What if… we really wanted to prepare young people for the age of artificial intelligence?

IOE Public Debates There’s a lot of talk at the moment about robots and artificial intelligence and how they are bringing about a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ in which occupations and the labour market, right up to the top professions like medicine and law, will be transformed. In this context, what kind of education will young people need to prosper, and can our current curriculum and testing regime deliver it? The debate over whether schools should focus first and foremost on developing...


Reflections on the Warnock Report, with Baroness Mary Warnock

The Warnock Report is 40 years old in 2018. The Report marked a pivotal change in the provision of education for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), but much has changed in the intervening years. Baroness Mary Warnock reflects on the report and developments since in this conversation with Rob Webster, Director of the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) project at the UCL Centre for Inclusive Education.


Responding to children in the 21st century: education, social pedagogy and belonging

On Tuesday 20th February the IOE hosted a public lecture by Professor Claire Cameron – ‘Responding to children in the 21st century: education, social pedagogy and belonging.’ As a society we want our children and young people to thrive and fulfill their potential. How then, can we best identify and respond to their needs in order to achieve this? In this lecture, Professor Claire Cameron takes the case of children in state care and the longer term impacts on those young people of having been...


Defining further education: does it matter?

On Thursday 15th February the IOE hosted a public lecture by Professor Martin Doel – ‘Defining further education: does it matter?’ There is no commonly accepted definition of further education. Professor Doel argues that while this diminishes the agency of institutions and organisations classed as FE providers, seeking an all-encompassing definition is not the answer. Instead, these providers need to set out their own distinct agenda as part of their local educational and social ecosystems....


What if... we really wanted to support schools facing the greatest challenge?

IOE Public Debates Some schools have made a name for themselves in performing ‘against the odds’, their pupils chalking up impressive achievements in national tests and exams. But still there remains a link between schools’ circumstances and their performance, and some glaring geographical disparities. Breaking that link has been a focal point for education policy and many high profile organisations in education over the past two decades. There are occasional signs of progress, but they have...


What if… we really wanted evidence-informed practice in the classroom?

IOE Public Debates There’s been a big push to get classroom practice shaped by evidence of ‘what works’. This has been largely inspired by advances in healthcare, where the use of research trials and national guidelines to improve patient care and outcomes is more established. But this approach has not gone uncontested in education (or health) and ‘evidence-informed practice’ is still to be firmly embedded across all schools. Why is this, and do we even have a shared understanding of what...


Further Education: A Cinderella story?

Professor Martin Doel discusses the latest cabinet reshuffle and the issues surrounding the lack of definition for FE. If you are interested in hearing more on this topic UCL Institute of Education (IOE) will be hosting a lecture 'Defining further education: does it matter?' with Professor Doel on 15 February 2018, followed by a wine reception. You can register to attend on the IOE website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/news-events/events-pub/feb-2018/defining-further-education-does-it-matter...


What if… we wanted to transform teaching as a career choice?

How can we combat the continuous challenge surrounding teacher retention? Let’s explore how technology and best practice from other professions can be used to transform teaching. Join us in the debate. Speakers include: - Mary Bousted is the general secretary of ATL and AMiE - Jonathan Simons is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Varkey Foundation - Lucy Crehan is an International Education Consultant at Education Development Trust - Martin Mills, incoming Director of the Centre for...


What if… we really wanted to overcome the academic-vocational divide?

It’s time to address the latest issues surrounding the stubborn academic-vocational divide. Come along and join us in the debate. Speakers include: - Mary Curnock Cook is the former Chief Executive of UCAS - Tony Little is the Chief Academic Officer at GEMS - Sir Michael Wilshaw is the former Chief Inspector of Schools In England and Head of Ofsted - Alison Fuller is Professor of Vocational Education and Work and Pro-Director for Research and Development at the UCL Institute of Education. -...


Higher education as self-formation

Higher Education as Self-Formation Prof Simon Marginson draws on and integrates a range of social science disciplines in his work, primarily political economy and political philosophy, historical sociology and social theory. His work focuses on globalisation and higher education, international and comparative higher education, and higher education and social inequality. He is currently researching the implications of the worldwide trend to high participation systems of higher education....