• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • Personal guidance: What works?

      Everitt, Julia; Neary, Siobhan; Delgado-Fuentes, Marco Antonio; Clark, Lewis; University of Derby (The Careers & Enterprise Company, 2018-11-13)
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • A new career in higher education careers work.

      Neary, Siobhan; Hanson, Jill; University of Derby (Routledge, 2018-07-26)
      Neary and Hanson’s chapter reports on research conducted with the HE career development workforce and focusses on careers advisers who have moved into the field within the last five years. Their research illustrates a highly dedicated and satisfied workforce demonstrating a strong set of values. Predominantly, most have moved from other roles in education/higher education or HR and recruitment. They raise questions about the highly gendered nature of careers work which is dominated by women; as they suggest, unsurprisingly given how many caring jobs are still associated with a female workforce. Their chapter supports what Thambar reports in her chapter about the dedicated nature of careers advisers.
    • Graduate gap years: Narratives of postponement in graduate employment transitions in England.

      Vigurs, Katy; Jones, Steven; Harris, Diane; Everitt, Julia; University of Derby (Routledge, 2018-07-26)
      For UK higher education students, the ‘gap year’ or ‘year out’ is historically conceptualised as an amassing of wider life experience, often overseas, during a twelve-month period between the completion of A-level studies and the first year of a university degree. However, in a recent comparative study, which saw interviews conducted in both 2014 and 2015 with final year undergraduate students (n74) from different social backgrounds, across two English universities (one Russell Group university and one Post-1992 university), the term ‘gap year’ was being re-appropriated to capture something different. The term was being used to describe a period following graduation in which graduands planned to take low-paid work or ‘ordinary’ jobs, take stock of their financial situation, and attempt to save money and/or repay urgent debt. A high proportion of students in the 2015 stage of the study (16/37) spoke of taking a graduate gap year, compared with 9/37 in 2014. It may be that the increasing costs of debt-based forms of higher education payment coinciding with growing precarious employment has contributed to this situation. By borrowing the term gap year to describe a new and different phenomenon, some of the student interviewees may be legitimising the predicament in which they find themselves. This chapter explores the experiences of students who spoke of taking a graduate gap year. It examines the different roles of a graduate gap year and discusses wider implications for unequal graduate outcomes.
    • Learning to be employable.

      Artess, Jane; University of Derby (Routledge, 2018-07-26)
      This chapter presents findings about the relationship between Futuretrack respondents' participation in employability-related activitites and indicators of their subsequent job satisfaction, optimism about their long-term career prospects and skills development.
    • There's no ethics here!

      Radford, Neil; University of Derby (British Educational Research Association, 2018-07-13)
      Increasingly education research students are drawn to forms of research that are researcher-centric, such as desk-based systematic literature reviews and autoethnographic studies of personal experience and practice (Doloriert and Sambrook, 2009). Whilst most UK universities require ethical approval, I remain perplexed by frequent claims from both students and supervisors, that such studies have no ethical considerations, with ethical scrutiny consequently perceived as a barrier or chore. Do such studies really lack ethical issues? This article asks whether it is realistic to claim that there are ‘no ethics here’, and argues that the role of education ethics committees goes beyond simply project approval, namely the promotion and maintenance of ethically literate researchers.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • Schools and employers must work together.

      Neary, Siobhan; University of Derby (Kemps Publishing Ltd., 2018-06)
      This article explores the changing nature of work, the history of apprenticeships and the challenges for both young people and employers in getting the right people in the right jobs.
    • Flexible professional development.

      Neary, Siobhan; University of Derby (Council of British International Schools, 2018-06)
      Keeping up to date with what is happening in professional practice is always a challenge. We all struggle to find time as we try to juggle the competing commitments we have on a day to day basis. Ironically those of us who work helping others to develop and plan their careers are often the worst! We can always find time to help students think about what their next step will be, but we are less good at doing this for ourselves.
    • Higher fees, higher debts: Unequal graduate transitions in England?

      Vigurs, Katy; Jones, Steven; Everitt, Julia; Harris, Diane; University of Derby; University of Manchester (Emerald, 2018-05-09)
      This chapter draws on findings from a comparative, qualitative research project that investigated the decision-making of different groups of English higher education students in central England as they graduated from a Russell group university (46 interviewees) and a Post-92 university (28 interviewees). Half of the students graduated in 2014 (lower tuition fees regime) and the other half graduated in 2015 (higher tuition fees regime). The students interviewed were sampled by socio-economic background, gender, degree subject/discipline and secondary school type. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore students’ future plans and perceptions of their future job prospects. Despite higher debt levels, the 2015 sample of Russell Group graduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds had a positive view of their labour market prospects and a high proportion had achieved either a graduate job or a place on a postgraduate course prior to graduation. This group had saved money whilst studying. The 2015 sample of Post-1992 University graduates (from both lower and average socio-economic backgrounds) were worried about their level of debt, future finances and labour market prospects. This chapter raises questions about whether a fairer university finance system, involving lower levels of debt for graduates from less advantaged backgrounds, might avoid some graduates’ transitions to adulthood being so strongly influenced by financial anxieties.