We are the hub for educational research at the University of Derby. The Centre conducts educational research and provides consultancy to schools, education providers, the wider education sector, and Government. We have a lifelong focus and addresses education policy, practice, and research from early years to adult learning. The Centre is home to researchers from the Institute of Education, educational researchers from across the University of Derby, and associate researchers from a range of schools and organisations. Its core areas of focus include career education and guidance; educational leadership and management; higher education; mathematics education; and special needs education. The Centre was launched in October 2015 and brings together a wide range of pre-existing research and expertise from the University of Derby.

Recent Submissions

  • The impact of books on social inclusion and development and well-being among children and young people with severe and profound learning disabilities: recognising the unrecognised cohort

    Robinson, Deborah; Moore, Nicki; Harris, Catherine; University of Derby; Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (Wiley, 2019-02-07)
    This paper presents the findings of an original research project commissioned by BookTrust, a respected UK charity that gifts books to children, young people (CYP) and their families. It explored the impact and modus of pleasurable engagement with books among CYP with severe and profound learning disabilities and applied a critical, phenomenological stance on what it means to read through drawing on 'inclusive literacy' as a conceptual framework. Data was collected from four local areas in England and included 43 CYP aged 4-14. In keeping with a phenomenological stance, it employed interpretivist methods involving 13 deep-level interviews with families to include observations and structured play; 13 observations of CYP sharing books with others in home, play or school settings, and interviews with 27 practitioners working in a range of organisations (e.g. Portage service, advisory teams). Findings were that books had a positive impact on well-being, social inclusion and development. CYP were engaged in enjoying the content of books through personalisation, sensory stimulation, social stimulation and repetition. This affirmed the theoretical and practical approaches espoused by 'inclusive literacy' but made a critical and original contribution to our understanding of the special place that books occupy as ordinary artefacts of literary citizenship among this cohort. The benefits of volitional reading among CYP who do not have learning disabilities are well known but the authors urge publishers and policy makers to recognise CYP with severe and profound learning disabilities as equally important, active consumers of books who have much to gain from reading for pleasure. There is strong evidence of the positive relationship between reading for pleasure and attainment, emotional and economic wellbeing. Reading books for pleasure has strong associations with emotional and personal development including self-understanding. This is shown to be the case across genders and socioeconomic groups but significantly less research has been done on the impact of reading books for pleasure among people with learning disabilities. This paper provides an original account of the impact of pleasurable reading and engagement with books on children and young people (CYP) with severe learning disabilities (SLD) and profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). It demonstrates that responsive adults support pleasurable engagement with books and reading in ways that enable children and young people with reading disabilities to develop sensory, shared focus, communication, social and cultural understanding whilst also providing a basis for shared attention, closeness and wellbeing. Provided is account of the modus of pleasurable reading and engagement with books within the conceptual frame of inclusive literacy and phenomenological conceptions of what it means to read. Effective practices are illustrated and outlined to include recognition of the importance of multi-modal texts, personalisation and intense dyadic interaction. The paper urges policy makers and publishers to recognises CYP with SLD and PMLD as important, active consumers of books, claiming that their relative absence from consideration of positive impacts is a sign of exclusive conceptualisations of what it means to be a literate citizen.
  • Exorcising an ethnography in limbo.

    Vigurs, Katy; University of Derby (Emerald Group Publishing Limited., 2019-01-07)
    I feel haunted; troubled by the ethnography that I conducted some years ago of a new partnership group that was attempting to set up a community learning centre. I’m aware that it doesn’t sound like a particularly alarming research topic, and perhaps that is where some of the issues began. I did not expect an ethnographic haunting to occur. The partnership recruited me less than a year into the creation of the project and I spent two years as a sort of ‘researcher in residence’. The original idea was that I would observe the initial development of the project and then, when the community learning centre was established, I would research the centre’s activities and how they were experienced by village residents. However, fairly soon into the project, problematic dynamics developed within the group, leading to irreconcilable conflict between members. The community learning centre was never established and I was left to piece together an ethnography of a failed partnership. Researching an increasingly dysfunctional partnership was an emotionally exhausting activity, especially when relationships between members became progressively hostile. Managing data collection and analysis at this time was difficult, but I was shocked that, a number of months (and now years) later, revisiting the data for publication purposes remained uncomfortable. I managed to produce my PhD thesis on the back of this study, but I have not felt able to go back to the data, despite there being findings worthy of publication. This ethnography is in a state of limbo and is at risk of becoming lost forever. In this chapter, I explore the reasons for this and discuss lessons learned for future projects.
  • The odyssey: school to work transitions, serendipity and position in the field.

    Atkins, Liz; Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.; Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK (Taylor and Francis., 2016-02-15)
    Little work on the significance and implications of decision-making has been undertaken since that led by Hodkinson in the 1990s, and the experiences of young people on vocational programmes and their reasons for undertaking them remain under-theorised and poorly understood. Drawing on two narratives from a study exploring young people’s motivations for undertaking vocational programmes, this article explores the relationship between their positioning in fields and career decision-making. The article argues that social positioning is significant in its relationship to decision-making, to the way in which young people perceive and construct their careers and to the influence of serendipity on their transitions. Drawing on a range of international studies, the article explores the implications of these findings in terms of young people’s future engagement with the global labour market, giving consideration to (dissonant) perceptions of vocational education and training as contributing to economic growth whilst addressing issues of social exclusion and promoting social justice.
  • Youth Transitions, VET and the ‘making’ of class: changing theorisations for changing times?

    Avis, James; Atkins, Liz; Northumbria University (Taylor & Francis, 2017-07-19)
    The paper places youth transitions and vocational education and training (VET) within the global policy context in which economic competiveness is hegemonic. It compares research from the 1970s/80s, which explored young peoples’ lived experiences of VET and youth training schemes with contemporary work on similar themes. It argues that there are continuities and discontinuities in the conditions that young people face in their transitions to waged labour. Continuities can be seen in constructions of working class youth, but also by the way in which policy views the economy as characterised by upskilling. This is called into question when set against the existence of significant numbers of low-waged, low-skilled jobs in the English economy. There are also discontinuities that are the result of changes in class and employment structures. As a result, precariousness has become ubiquitous, with this existing in tandem with labour that is surplus to the requirements of capital. The paper reconsiders youth transitions and re-evaluates the notion of serendipity, suggesting these concepts need to be rethought and reworked in current conditions.
  • Moving from information provision to co-careering: Integrated guidance as a new approach to e-guidance in Norway

    Bakke, Ingrid Bårdsdatter; Hagaseth Haug, Eri; Hooley, Tristram; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (National Institute for Career Education and Counselling, 2018-10-01)
    Norway has invested heavily in its career guidance system. This has allowed it to move rapidly from a relatively weak guidance system to an innovative and emergent one. One of the advantages of the historic lack of development of career guidance in the country has been the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others and to try out new and innovative approaches. A key opportunity that the country is keen to make the most of is the potential to use digital technologies to support guidance. Following a process of exploration of this issue the government has resolved to establish an e-guidance service located in Tromsø. However, at present the nature of this service is unclear. In this article we argue that that the concepts of (1) integrated guidance, (2) instructional design and (3) co-careering should be at the heart of the new service and indeed at the heart of the delivery of guidance across Norway.
  • Evaluation of outreach interventions for under 16 year olds: Tools and guidance for higher education providers.

    Harrison, Neil; Vigurs, Katy; Crockford, Julian; McCaig Colin; Squire, Ruth; Clark, Lewis; International Centre for Guidance Studies (Office for Students (OfS), 2018-12-13)
    During 2017-18, OFFA commissioned research that aimed to understand the nature of outreach activities for under 16 year olds (which were funded through access and participation investment) and how these were evaluated. This document, developed from the research, is intended to act as a resource for pre-16 outreach practitioners and evaluators, drawing both on the data collected by this project and the wider literature around evaluation and outreach. It seeks to recognise the complexity of pre-16 outreach work and eschews a prescriptive approach in favour of establishing important principles and actions that are likely to underpin good practice. Our discussion is broadly positioned within a ‘social realist’ worldview (Archer, 2008; Pawson, 2013) that seeks to understand the fuzzy nature of the cause-and-effect relationships that exist within complex social fields, where individuals construct their own realities in reference to those around them. There is a particular focus on epistemology – the pathways to creating dependable, if contingent, knowledge – as a vehicle for making meaning from data that is usually incomplete, compromised or mediated through young people’s emergent constructions of their worlds. Fundamentally, outreach is predicated on the ability of practitioners to influence young people in a planned way, albeit that the plan will not always work for every young person in every cohort. An important element in this epistemology is that it is not concerned with finding single ‘solutions’ that exist outside time and context. Rather, it is concerned with understanding how young people are influenced by their life experiences – not ‘what works’, but what works in a given context and, importantly, why. It is only through understanding the latter element that practices can become robustly effective in the long-term and potentially transferable to other contexts. This is particularly appropriate to pre-16 outreach work due to the lengthy time lag between activity and application to higher education (HE).
  • Understanding the evaluation of access and participation outreach interventions for under 16 year olds.

    Harrison, Neil; Vigurs, Katy; Crockford, Julian; McCaig Colin; Squire, Ruth; Clark, Lewis; University of the West of England; University of Derby; University of Sheffield; Sheffield Hallam University (Office for Students, 2018-12-13)
    The project team was asked to address the following six research questions and these were used to guide the project: 1. What are the intended outcomes for current outreach interventions directed at under 16 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds where the long-term aim is to widen access to higher education (HE)? 2. What types of outreach intervention activity or activities are institutions using in relation to intended outcomes? 3. What evaluation tools, methods and metrics are being used to measure the intended outcomes? 4. What are the perceived and actual challenges and barriers for different stakeholders to effective evaluation of long-term outreach? 5. What do different stakeholders consider most effective evaluation practice and why? 6. How valid and suitable are the evaluation tools, methods and metrics (identified through the research) that are commonly used? The project was constructed around six interlinked work packages: 1. A quantitative analysis of what higher education providers (HEPs) say about their pre-16 outreach activities (and their evaluation) in their 2017-18 access agreements (as the most recent available). 2. An online survey of HEPs to gather information about the pre-16 outreach activities delivered during the 2016-17 academic year and their evaluation, as well as the structure of their evaluation resources and challenges faced. 3. Case studies of four HEPs identified as demonstrating elements of good practice through their access agreements and the online survey, derived from telephone interviews with key staff and documentary analysis. 4. Telephone interviews with 11 third sector organisations (TSOs) to explore their practices and the evaluation of their activities, providing a counterpoint to the data collected from higher education institutions (HEIs). 5. A synthesis of the four preceding work packages to explore elements of good practice, determine a basis for assessing the quality of evaluations and highlight challenges for the sector and OFFA. 6. An invited participatory workshop for evaluators from HEPs and TSOs identified as demonstrating elements of good practice through the online survey and telephone interviews, to act as a sounding board for the emerging conclusions and recommendations.
  • Personal guidance: What works?

    Everitt, Julia; Neary, Siobhan; Delgado-Fuentes, Marco Antonio; Clark, Lewis; University of Derby (The Careers & Enterprise Company, 2018-11-13)
  • University Applicant Study: NEMCON.

    Hanson, Jill; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2017-10-01)
    The interest of the North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network (NEMCON) was to conduct a longitudinal study focusing on the applicant journey from year 12 to enrolment in HE. To do so would enable NEMCON partners to offer new and fresh insight into such themes as: the advice and guidance provided by schools and colleges prior to application; the effectiveness of communications with prospective students before and following offers; the appropriateness of activities and events aimed to inform prospective students of choices and options – in other words, it would aim to find out how young people choose to study where they study. The objectives of the longitudinal study were to gain a better understanding of: • The awareness of the options available to them post 18 and the importance of each • The factors which underpin decisions to attend HE or not • When decision making begins • The relative importance of key advisors; families, friends, schools/teachers, career practitioners • The relative importance of messages they pay attention to and the order in which they are consulted • The effect of institutional branding and reputation on applicant behaviour • How offers are converted into acceptances A longitudinal quantitative design with year 13 students was employed and found that students most often were applying to attend university. Primarily this was because they felt it would help them get a better job and because they were interested in the particular course they were applying for. University open days, websites and prospectuses were the most favoured sources of information although information seeking typically began with UCAS then faculty level information from different institutes. University reputation was important when deciding where to study but the students sampled had applied to both pre and post 1992 universities rather than Russell group or Oxbridge. Small sample sizes prevented the drawing of conclusions about differences in gender, ethnicity and SES. Future research might consider the implications of unconditional offers on decision making and future university attainment.
  • An evaluation of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Programme: interim evaluation.

    Hanson, Jill; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2018-10-24)
    The Context The National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) was developed to support the Government in meeting three goals: 1. Double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education (HE) by 2020 2. Increase by 20 per cent the number of pupils in HE from ethnic minority groups 3. Address the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in HE. In the East Midlands the NCOP consortia is the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Programme (DANCOP) which is a progression of NEMCON (North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network) and is comprised from several universities and colleges of further education. DANCOP’s initial two goals were: 1. Raise learners’ motivation to work hard and their understanding of the importance of education in their future: 2. Equip learners to plan for progression and make appropriate choices for post-16 study and HE. Aim/Methods This interim report includes an extensive review of literature on widening participation, collaboration and networks and details a formative evaluation undertaken by The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) using data collected from February 2017 to March 2018. It reports on the progress made by DANCOP up until March 2018 with respect to: 1. The development of an effective collaborative network 2. The extent to which schools have been engaged 3. The nature of student feedback received so far and distance travelled with respect to knowledge/attitudes/intentions pertaining to future options and in particular higher education 4. Innovations in collaborative working and widening participation The formative evaluation has so far captured data from surveys, interviews and focus groups from DANCOP team members, management group members, students and third party providers. Key Findings 1. The network is well established amongst the HEIs, external stakeholders and some FE colleges 2. FE colleges are facing an unprecedented upheaval with significant changes to the sector, pressures on staff to meet targets, mergers and redundancies. In this difficult and uncertain climate some of the college partners have been unable to engage effectively in the partnership. 3. It has taken a long time to establish the central and hub teams, primarily because of the policies and processes inherent in HEIs and FECs. Additionally it takes a long time to build awareness in schools and develop good working relationships so that WP activities can be delivered. The project life span needs to be extended for its full potential to be realised and for impacts to be properly evaluated. 4. DANCOP could work more quickly if legal issues and executive sign off could be facilitated. Dealing with the implications of GDPR has taken a lot of capacity. 5. Collaborative work has been supported by: a. Representation of key partners across different management groups b. The structural and physical location of teams and individuals c. An agile Steering Group d. ‘Blended Professionals’ who have significant experience, knowledge and skills and are able to cross boundaries to get work done 6. DANCOP has been able to engage with a large number of learners although these have tended to be located in a small number of schools. At March 2018 the majority of interactions had been delivered through the third party provider IntoUniversity. Year 11 students were the year group who have had the most engagement with activities. 7. Innovative approaches to WP can be seen already but some may not be eligible for the funding or able to demonstrate specific impacts which may be at a cost to pupils. 8. Initial feedback, both quantitative and qualitative, from pupils indicates that activities are perceived positively. The activities, in the short term at least, have a favourable impact on levels of knowledge, confidence, intentions to attend and motivation to work hard Recommendations 1. That the lifespan of the initiative is increased significantly in order to meet targets and evaluate long term impact. 2. That NCOP provides legal advice and support regarding elements such as data sharing agreements. 3. That there is more efficacious system for executive sign off on contracts for projects. 4. That colleges and hubs consider how to integrate their team members both within the institution (i.e. located structurally and physically within appropriate departments) and with each other to facilitate support, communication and collaboration. 5. That DANCOP produces a shared calendar of events for hubs and central team members. There might also be an internal online forum for all partners and members of teams to access in order to share best practice, challenges and develop resolutions. The Final Report Will include data from more students, teaching and SLT staff, Governance Board members, all third party providers and follow ups with the DANCOP team. Additionally it will include analyses of the CFE survey data from October 2017 and September 2018 to examine shift in knowledge, attitudes and intentions over time. Finally it will include case studies on innovative widening participation activities
  • Ensuring quality in career guidance: a critical review

    Hooley, Tristram; Rice, Suzanne; University of Derby; University of Melbourne; International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia (Taylor & Francis, 2018-07-06)
    In rapidly changing employment markets, career guidance has a vital role to play in supporting people in navigating transitions between education and employment across the lifespan. In this article, the issue of quality and quality assurance in career guidance is explored. Although there is no clear agreed international understanding of what quality career guidance looks like, through a review of current approaches we identify six main areas which may be quality assured and propose a new typology of approaches to assuring quality. The article concludes by considering critically some of the issues that quality assurance approaches in career guidance generate, highlighting the need for caution so that the pursuit of quality does not undermine the goals it seeks to achieve.
  • The role of the effective subject leader: perspectives from practitioners in secondary schools.

    Poultney, Val; University of Derby; University of Derby, UK, (Sage, 2016-06-23)
    In a report by Bennett et al. (2003) for the National College of School Leadership on the role and purpose of middle leaders (Subject Leaders) in secondary schools, two areas were identified for further research. First was the nature of effective subject leadership and second, the Subject Leader's pivotal role in leading and managing cultural change and the extent to which they are creating a "new professionalism" that tackles the tension of managerial and educational aims (NCSL, 2003: 18). This paper considers evidence (Poultney, 2006) from Subject and Senior teachers and their Subject Leaders about their perceptions of characteristics of effective subject leadership.
  • Give yourself the edge: Evaluation report.

    Dodd, Vanessa; Hanson, Jill; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2018-09-06)
  • My future: Developing career education and guidance at school.

    Moore, Nicki; Hanson, Jill; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2018-09-03)
    This report in conjunction with a new quality framework for delivering career guidance in schools, will be the foundation of a new web-based resource which will help teachers in schools across Europe to develop their provision in response to these issues. Throughout the report, the chapters are cross-referenced to the framework to allow a consistent read across and to inform the development of training and development programmes.
  • Evidence-based teaching: A critical overview for enquiring teachers.

    Philpott, Carey; Poultney, Val; Leeds Beckett University; University of Derby (Critical Publishing, 2018-07-03)
    This book provides a critical overview of evidence-based teaching, with balanced and reflective consideration given to arguments supporting various approaches to increasing the use of evidence in teaching and arguments that raise doubts about, or problems with, these approaches. It offers practical advice on how to implement evidence-based teaching and help with reflectively evaluating its success.
  • Maximising leadership capacity and school improvement through re-alignment of children's services.

    Tarpey, Christine; Poultney, Val; University of Derby; Derby City Council (Sage, 2014-07-25)
    This article emerges from work undertaken with leaders from a local authority who took part in a programme entitled ‘Advanced Leadership in Integrated Children’s Services Environment’ or ALICSE programme. The aim of this course was to engage leaders and managers in thinking differently about their roles and to consider how they could make changes to their leadership practices to cope with the fast pace of change now enforced on the educational landscape. Through coconstruction of work-based knowledge and the application of integrated leadership theory with a local Higher Education Institution (HEI) during 2012, this research offers some insight into how a group of Local Authority (LA) teams have provided a de-centralised service for vulnerable families whilst maintaining and improving educational standards across the City’s primary schools. A range of leadership, improvement and process strategies are currently being piloted with inner city schools and presented in this paper as a series of vignettes which exemplify these strategies. By taking a more holistic, integrated approach to working with key personnel at both local authority and school level it has been possible to demonstrate a greater alignment between the different LA teams in respect of the support they are offering to the schools. These outcomes have arisen as a result of professional teams working on the development of a more autonomous approach to leadership based on a ‘can do’ attitude firmly embedded within a morally focused culture.
  • Mindful networks? Navigating and negotiating life and work in academia.

    Vigurs, Katy; University of Derby (Springer, 2018-08-25)
    In this chapter I unpack my use of social networks (and social media) as a means of being more mindful about the role of research and scholarship in the construction of my academic identity. I have found it to be a restless, shifting identity that has to be carefully and continually navigated and negotiated. On the one hand, I explain how participation in social networks has actively shaped my sense of academic community and also the scholarly relationships that contribute strongly to my academic health and wellbeing. On the other hand, I question the extent to which social networking and the use of social media in academia allow truly mindful practices to be enacted. For example, I sometimes worry that social networking for academic purposes through social media contributes to the acceleration of higher education practice – never switching off, always being connected – potentially further exacerbating academics’ levels of labour, stress and pressure. By reflecting upon and analysing my scholarly use of Twitter and Instagram I explore how this practice (usually) keeps me acting mindfully as an academic and evaluate the extent to which it enables me to engage better in the complex cognitive and emotional demands of working in higher education. Finally, I reflect upon my recent change of both role and institution, which saw me unexpectedly and temporarily suspend my regular use of social media for academic purposes.
  • Education, health and care plans: A qualitative investigation into service user experiences of the planning process.

    Adams, Lorna; Tindle, Angus; Basran, Sabrina; Dobie, Sarah; Thomson, Dominic; Robinson, Deborah; Codina, Geraldine; University of Derby; IFF Research (Department for Education, 2018-01)
    An Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan sets out the education, health and care support that is to be provided to a child or young person aged 0-25 years who has Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND). It is drawn up by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment of the child or young person, in consultation with relevant partner agencies, parents and the child or young person themselves. EHC plans, and the needs assessment process through which they are created, were introduced as part of the Children and Families Act 2014. The Act, and an accompanying SEND Code of Practice, sets out how local authorities must deliver EHC plans. In 2016, a national survey commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) found variations in how EHC plan recipients experienced the EHC planning process across different local authorities.1 Based on these results, DfE commissioned two further research projects: a multivariate analysis of factors affecting satisfaction with the EHC planning process, and this qualitative investigation of user experiences of the EHC planning process. The qualitative investigation consisted of two distinct exercises: • Twenty-five face-to-face in-depth interviews with parents involved in the 2016 survey, with the aim of better understanding factors that lead to satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the EHC plan process. Thirteen interviews were conducted in local authorities with above average satisfaction, and 12 were conducted in local authority areas with below average satisfaction. • An evaluation of EHC plan quality focussing on plans provided by 18 of the 25 parents interviewed. The evaluation was conducted by a panel of 10 SEND experts with wide experience as SEND policy advisors, strategic leaders in LAs, specialist advisory teachers, officers in SEN statutory services, Special Needs Co-ordinators, teachers in special and mainstream schools and lecturers. There was little evidence of a link between families’ satisfaction with the process of getting the EHC plan and experts’ evaluations of the quality of the plan: this report therefore discusses these two strands of research separately.
  • Experiences of education, health and care plans: A survey of parents and young people.

    Adams, Lorna; Tindle, Angus; Basran, Sabrina; Dobie, Sarah; Thomson, Dominic; Robinson, Deborah; Shepherd, Claire; IFF Research; University of Derby (Department for Education, 2017-03)
    An Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) sets out the education, health and care support that is to be provided to a child or young person aged 0-25 years who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) or a disability (SEND). It is drawn up by the local authority after an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment of the child or young person has determined that an EHC plan is necessary, and after consultation with relevant partner agencies and with children, young people and parents. EHC plans, and the needs assessment process through which these are made, were introduced as part of the Children and Families Act 2014. The Act, and an accompanying SEND Code of Practice1, sets out how local authorities must deliver these, including:• Developing and maintaining these collaboratively with children, young people and parents; • Supporting children, young people and parents to participate fully; • Focusing on securing the best possible outcomes for the child/young person; • Enabling participation by relevant partner agencies, to enable joined-up provision.The SEND accountability framework established in 20152 sets out an approach for assessing SEND provision in conjunction with the Act and SEND Code of Practice. The framework provides structure for improving outcomes and experiences for children, young people and their families and, when applied, seeks to show how the system is performing, hold partners to account and support self-improvement. The framework applies at the local and national levels and to independent assessments of the EHC plan process – such as those carried out by Ofsted. In this context, the Department for Education commissioned a survey of parents and young people with an EHC plan, in order to build a representative national (and, where the data allows, local) picture of how parents and young people in England were experiencing the EHC needs assessment and planning process and the resultant EHC plans. The aim was to assess whether delivery of the EHC needs assessments and planning process and the resultant EHC plans reflected the intentions set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 and the accompanying SEND Code of Practice. The findings would help inform the SEND accountability framework.To achieve these aims the survey sought to answer the following questions: • To what extent do children, young people and families experience the EHC needs assessment and planning process as they are intended to be experienced; • How satisfied are children, young people and families with the EHC needs assessment and planning process and the resultant EHC plan; and • To what extent does this vary by local authority and by groups with different characteristics? The findings presented here and throughout the main report explore parents’ and young people’s responses to the survey questions. The report also explores where experiences of the EHC needs assessment and planning process varied for groups with different characteristics, applying a bivariate analysis approach3. The report only highlights such differences where these are statistically significant4.
  • External agents, providers and specialists: an exploration of the other individuals invited to be involved in schools and classrooms.

    Everitt, Julia; University of Derby (British Education Studies Association, 2018-06-28)
    This study examines the other individuals involved in schools and classrooms who are not teachers or teaching assistants. Many terms exist for these individuals including external agents, providers and specialists. This is set within a policy background of government reports, Acts and initiatives from the early 1900s which contain invitations for these external agents to be involved in schools in England. Those invited include statutory agencies, military-style organisations, the voluntary sector, community members, parents, post-16 educational institutions and employers. The literature which examines the involvement of these external agents in schools does so from a narrow perspective, such as a specific agent type or policy initiative. In contrast, the aim is to identify the full range of agents involved across four case study schools through a broad approach in that it does not focus on a type of agent (e.g. employers); a specific initiative (e.g. extended schools) or period (e.g. 1960 to 2000). It adds to knowledge in terms of this broad approach to the identification of agents, against the approach taken in previously studies. The research involves the completion of a pro-forma by a staff member at each of the four case study schools to identify the external agents involved during one academic year. It also includes semi-structured interviews with school staff and external agents plus documentary analysis of school websites and reports. The findings indicate a high involvement of external agents in the schools, with trends of agent type being linked to government policies. There is a decline in agent involvement in relation to New Labour policies such as extended schools which set a duty on every school to work in collaboration to offer activities and services (e.g. extra-curricular activities). The agent involvement has shifted to the wider aspects of the curriculum (e.g. PSHE, careers) as opposed to the wider aspects of the school (e.g. community access). There was a ‘messiness’ in the identification of agents which resulted in just a ‘snapshot’ of the agent involvement. This is a consequence of insufficient staff knowledge related to their role, time in service or value they place on the capitals (e.g. financial, cultural) of the agents. There is a disconnection between some agent perceptions of their relationship to the school and the inclusion in the data and a suggestion that some agents are involved as a tick-box exercise. In these cases, it does not appear to matter who the agent is, just what they can deliver, which poses questions over quality

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