November round-up (Science and Bananarama…)

09:00 on 5 February 2018–15:00 on 9 March 2018

Author: Niki Kaiser

I want people to look at what’s going on in East Anglia and say “we want to do what they’re doing!”

Stuart Kime spoke at our Information Evening last week about the sense of excitment that’s building in “the East” about how we can work together, using Research to improve practice and outcomes. He also spoke about Bananrama… but that’s another story.

November has been another busy, positive and encouraging month. You can read our newsletter (and subscribe to it here) but this post outlines some personal reflections on the past month.

Best laid plans…

We had an excellent day of training with Stuart, talking about how we can ensure that our training and events are evaluated properly so we know that they’re making a difference (and so we can change plans if they’re not!). We spoke about Logic Models and what makes good CPD. We scruitinised our training plans, and pulled them apart. And we started to build the Research Leads Network (#NorReL), and plan the training and support that we’ll offer.

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One of the things we talked about was how to plan for those things that would mean we’d basically have to “pull the plug” on an event. I admit that I wasn’t expecting this to be quite as relevant as it turned out to be….

On Tuesday, I woke up with some kind of bug, and as I shivered, trembled and nursed my rather raging fever, Susi (our Research School manager) helped me to make the really difficult decision to cancel our first Research Leads Network meeting (due to take place the next day). On a personal level, I was gutted to have to do this, but it’s important that it’s launched properly, and this was to be the first meeting. Apologies to everyone who was going to come along. I’ll be in touch with you all next week to plan a time to catch up with you, and talk about what’s coming up.

So we are now looking forward to our first Norwich Research Leads meeting in February at UEA. There’s so much we want to tell people about and ways for people can get involved. Sign up below, as places will be limited.

5th February:Twilight session at UEA. Guest Speaker: Christine Counsell, Director of Education  Inspiration Trust. Topic: Literacy, Knowledge and the Curriculum

In this meeting, we will introduce the network, give practical ideas and support for embeding research in schools, outline funding opportunities and suggest ways to use evidence to improve outcomes for pupils. The meeting will include a focused session on Literacy across all key stages. 

Eventbrite - Norwich Research Leads Network #NorRel

Norwich Evidence Based Practice-  Funding and Training

One of the things we’ll talk about is the Norwich Evidence Based Practice Fund. Schools in the Opportunity Area can apply for up to £25,000 for evidence-based school or college improvement projects. Applications are now open, and if you can’t wait until February, you can find out more about how to apply by contacting us directly.

Schools will need a Research Lead for their projects so they can evaluate impact. We will help to train and support schools and Research Leads via our Research Leads Network #NorReL (sign up above), including a free training day with Stuart Kime from Evidence Based Education (limited places- sign up below), who has recently done some great work with Research Leads in Suffolk.

21st March (all day). Research Leads training day with Stuart Kime, Evidence Based Education.

Eventbrite - Norwich Research Leads Network #NorRel Training Day with Stuart Kime

Eastern Evidence

This month, we’ve been pleased to continue working with our colleagues in and around Norwich to build on the spirit of collaboration that I wrote about last month. Andy Samways (from the Samuel Ward Research School) has also written about “Team East” here.

  • We have met with a range of people from the Norwich Opportunity Area, including the Exclusions Working Group and the very well-attended Stakeholders meeting.
  • We’ve been lucky enough to visit more Norwich schools, including the excellent (and, in fact, Outstanding) West Earlham Infant School, where we talked about vocabulary, communication and conceptual understanding in EY and KS1 Science. Binks Neate-Evans leads a beautiful, warm and welcoming school and it was an absolute pleasure to talk to her committed and knowledgeable staff.

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  • It was really good to welcome those people who braved the weather and joined us for our Information Evening. We were really grateful to Kate Atkins from Rosendale Research School and Stuart Kime from Evidence Based Education for sharing their ideas and experiences.
  • Kate talked about ReflectEd: a chance for primary schools to use their evidence-based programme to help pupils develop self-regulation and metacognition. You can find out more here (but do it quickly! You only have until Monday….)

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  • We’re pleased to be working with the Chartered College of Teaching East Network, to help support evidence-based practice in the region. We had a very productive steering group meeting in Cambridge, and an enjoyable Norfolk Hub meeting. Watch this space for upcoming events.

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  • Anyone who’s ever met and spoken to Inspiration Trust’s Director of Education, Christine Counsell, will understand why our recent meeting was so stimulating and encouraging. You can read a profile of Christine here and she will be talking at our first Research Leads Twilight in February. I really encourage you to come along and hear her speak (and I challenge you to walk away without plenty of food for thought…). You can find out more about Inspiration Trust CPD courses here.

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  • Three people who I will tell you more about in the future are Anne (a teacher from St Francis of Assisi Primary School, who’s doing some great work with KS2 Maths), Sam (a teacher from West Earlham Junior School who engages parents and children via the Junior Parkrun) and Dr Victoria Warburton (who’s researching intrinsic motivation at UEA). Keep an eye out for more about them soon.

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  • I was also lucky enough to meet a long-time Twitter hero this month. Suzanne Culshaw will be acting as a “critical friend” as we build the Research Leads network, and has already offered timely and supportive ideas.

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Still a Scientist….

I’m a Chemistry teacher, and so much of what I’m doing at the moment is Science-related. Here’s a flavour:

  • I’m currently working with an expert panel to help produce the EEF Science Guidance Report. We meet again next week, and the final report is due out next year. I’m really looking forward to sharing this with people, and to supporting them in finding ways of implementing the recommendations within their classrooms.
  • I gain a lot from my involvement with the Royal Society of Chemistry, which has a very strong network of support for teachers, particularly those interested in using research to inform their teaching. I was recently elected to the Education Division Council, and I’m excited about the chance to help shape what they do. Two examples of how they’re working with teachers:
    • The RSC Chemical Edcation Research Group is currently holding a series of really interesting webinars, and you can submit posters for their conference next year. I submitted a poster last year, and it felt very nerve-wracking at the time, but I received some really interesting and useful feedback, so I’m really glad I did.
    • The RSC Secondary and Further Education Group is also very active, and I’m really looking forward to speaking at their conference next year.
  • I’m lucky enough to be attending the annual conference for the ASE (Association of Science Education) in January. It’s a really excellent event, with a huge variety of sessions and workshops. Last year, I attended as a delegate and this year I’m going to be speaking in two sessions.
  • I do love Threshold Concepts! If you want to know more about them, I wrote about them here after listening to an excellent podcast with Ray Land (author of a seminal paper on the subject). I’ll also be speaking about them at ResearchEd in Sandringham on March 3rd. They’ll also be covered in our Long-term Learning course, starting in February.

On the Science theme…. a big bonus prize for anyone who can tell me what my picture is at the top of this post….

Posted on 9 December 2017
Posted in: Blog, Events
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