November has proved to be an extremely busy month when it comes to updating our growing list of journals, and next to be published is the latest Issue of the Buckingham Journal of Education, which is focused on Pedagogy. This closely follows the recent new Issues of the Journal of Prediction Markets and the International Journal of Maritime Engineering, which we highlighted over the past two weeks.
The Buckingham Journal of Education is thematic and published twice yearly. While it is based at the University of Buckingham, it draws from an eclectic mix of academic authors beyond its borders who have an established track record in their field. BJOE is published on an Gold Open Access basis and so the content is available globally to all researchers, libraries and all readers. Edited by Dr Max Coates, the “Pedagogy Edition” features an editorial and six articles written by experts from around the world, two Book Reviews and a Letter to the Editor. We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight three abstracts from this forward-thinking and insightful Journal. For more information on this Issue, please click here.
The Learning Skills Curriculum: An Eight-year Evaluation of a Complex Intervention
Dr James Mannion
Learning to Learn is a field of educational theory and practice that aims to help children become more effective learners. The field has grown significantly through-out the last 40 years and a number of approaches have been implemented on a large scale in the UK as well as internationally. Research into metacognition and self-regulation suggests that Learning to Learn programmes should help boost academic attainment. However, to date, large-scale evaluations of Learning to Learn initiatives have found no clear impact on academic attainment. This paper presents the findings of an eight-year case study of Learning Skills, a new approach to Learning to Learn that was developed at a secondary school in the south of England and evaluated over eight years (2009 to 2017). Using an interventional design used widely in medicine and other fields, Learning Skills reconceptualises Learning to Learn as a ‘complex intervention’ comprised of multiple areas of evidence-informed practice. The rationale for complex interventions is that the ‘marginal gains’ to arise from each component stack up and interact to yield a larger effect size overall. This evaluation found that Learning Skills led to significant gains in subject learning, with accelerated gains among pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Further qualitative data analyses indicate a positive causal relationship between Learning Skills and academic attainment. As well as evaluating the impact of a promising new approach to Learning to Learn, this study generates new knowledge about the implementation and evaluation of complex interventions in education.
Voices from Beyond the School Gates: Students’ and Their Parents’ Lived Experience of School Exclusion
Simon Edwards, Yusef Bakkali, Natalie Walls, Vicky Kimmins, Claire Cobb, Alison Kirk and Beau Salanson
There have been growing concerns in England about increasing numbers of students, many of whom have Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) or come from disadvantaged backgrounds, who experience education disaffection and failure (Farouk 2017; DfE 2017; Perraudin and McIntyre 2018; Edwards 2018). Moreover, there have been increasing calls for research that works collaboratively with students and other stakeholders (i.e. parents and school leaders) to address these issues (see Edwards and Brown 2020). This article explores students’ and their parents’ experiences in relation to school exclusion. Drawing on participant action research methods three former excluded students and their parents who successfully re-engaged their education were trained to carry out interviews with five recently excluded secondary school students and their parents. Findings from the interviews stand juxtaposed to political discourses that view exclusion as being influenced by poor parenting or student deviance. Rather, our findings illustrate a spiral of disillusionment, educational disengagement, fractured relationships between students, parents and teachers that emerges as our participants encountered a series of life events that coincided with the educational processes in schools. We consider these findings and, in line with Freire (1972; 2005), we propose a dialogic and relational intervention that enables excluded students to collaborate with their parents and school leaders to make meaningful changes to their own and their schools’ practices in order to help them re-engage with their education.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Schools to Safeguard Their Pupil’s Use of Social Media Through an Analysis of School Inspection Reports
While social media remains a facet of life that many children and young people happily engage in, its use comes with some recognised risks and dangers. Parents can feel ill-equipped to support their children with this and there is consequently a reliance on schools to teach children how to use these platforms appropriately. To evaluate the effectiveness of secondary schools in teaching pupils about social media, this study makes use of evidence from Ofsted school inspection reports. Exploiting techniques developed in computer science, the Ofsted web portal was automatically scraped for reports and the content searched for reference to social media. This identified 317 reports which referred to the platforms. The report’s texts were coded through content analysis and subsequently revealed that over 90% of the references to social media contained in inspection reports were positive in reporting that pupils both understood the risks and knew how to describe how to manage their online activities. The results suggest that schools are effective in addressing these safeguarding issues although pupils are not always putting their knowledge into practise.