Schools at the crossroads: innovating in a climate of uncertainty

Young, V., Driscoll, P. and Pagden, A. (2012) Schools at the crossroads: innovating in a climate of uncertainty. In: At the Crossroads: New Directions in Teacher Education, 16th-18th July 2012, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent, UK.

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The Faculty of Education at CCCU, as the regional dissemination centre in the south east for the Cambridge Primary Review (CPR) (Alexander et al, 2010), has been supporting a number of primary school-based action research projects by injecting the ideas and evidence presented in the CPR into the school development process. This paper reports on this process through two case studies. Each case study has a unique focus. One focuses on promoting children’s meta-cognition; the other on how organisational structures create barriers to learning.
1. What are the perceived school-specific outcomes and benefits of the CPR action research projects for teachers, children and
2. To what extent has the CPR project initiative, in terms of higher education institution (HEI) involvement, supported teacher
and school development?
3. Which factors have helped or hindered progress?
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with teachers and their head teachers. The interviews explored their perceptions of the benefits and challenges of the CPR action research projects and their views about collaboration with the HEI. Some focus groups of children were conducted to explore their perceptions of their experiences. Following Seidel’s model (1998), the data was analysed in the following stages: noticing and coding; collecting and sorting; thinking and analysing.

The ideas and evidence of the final CPR report and research surveys underpin this study and have been used selectively and
specifically to support the case study schools and their chosen focus. In addition, theories about professional development from the report have been heeded, for example Berliner’s (2004) work on expertise and stages in teacher development. The model of essential factors in the management of change developed by Knoster (2000) has also been influential in our thinking about whole school development, as has the notion of ‘intellectual capital’ (Hargreaves 2003), especially in relation to the role that can be played by the HEI.

The research is in the early stages. Indications at this stage, however, suggest that the CPR initiative is promoting teachers’
involvement in critical debate and the development of innovative approaches within their schools. The findings also suggest that
there is a strong relationship between the scope given to teachers to explore new ideas and take risks, and the success of school-led innovation. However, the project needs to be underpinned by active support in the form of resourcing and structured opportunities - an idea that is very much in tune with the CPR’s recommendations. The role of the HEI has had some significance in introducing new ideas, raising awareness of the macro context and providing and sustaining momentum.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Education
Depositing User: Mrs Claire Choong
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2013 15:24
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 12:50

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00