Schools urged to develop closer CPD ties with universities

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Universities and schools need to work more closely together to develop classroom techniques and pedagogy, a former education secretary has said.

Universities and schools need to work more closely together to develop classroom techniques and pedagogy.

Former education secretary Baroness Estelle Morris, speaking at a public lecture at the University of Sunderland, said that schools and universities do not communicate effectively enough.

She proposes that politicians, schools and universities need to work collaboratively in order to collate the mass of evidence-based research that currently takes place. 

However, Baroness Morris emphasised the need for teachers to be given the space and time to access this research and learn from it.

She told the audience: “What we’re missing from the education service is evidence-based research of what works in the classroom. This would help teachers become true professionals and exercise their professional judgement responsibly by looking at the evidence that underpins what they do.

“Universities can be the link that hasn’t yet been made. The knowledge about teaching and learning rests in universities but it is held there and not released. 

“Schools and universities should work together alongside politicians to bank information and research, to discuss what works in teaching and learning.

“We need to ensure that teachers have time and space to access (this research and) to discuss and reflect on it. If we do that, we will build a body of knowledge that underpins pedagogy in our schools.”

The Labour peer, who was a PE and humanities teacher before entering politics, said her biggest fear for the future is that private sector companies will begin to make profit out of running schools. She also expressed concerns that the academies programme will leave schools less likely to share good practice.

She said: “My biggest criticism of this current government’s policies is that they put independence ahead of interdependence by making every school separate from their wider community in every sense. It has broken the glue that holds the system together and we know schools learn from each other and other good practitioners.

“Teachers are no different to anyone else, they learn from watching, sharing and observing. Working with other teachers and different schools is absolutely vital and I’m convinced that the best education we have in this country is as a result of partnerships and interdependency.  

“Schools cannot exist alone and I think where we currently are is dangerous, we’re in a collapsing stage as schools go to academy status.

“A lot of them are called ‘standalone academies’, there is a lot of danger in that phrase, we should want schools to work together and link in with each other. 

“The private sector has and can continue to make a valuable contribution to education but my biggest fear would be if they were allowed to run schools for profit.”

CAPTION: Universities and schools need to work more closely together to develop classroom techniques and pedagogy.


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