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Concluded Research Projects

Closing the Gap: Raising Achievement for Disadvantaged Pupils

Ian Abbott, David Middlewood and Sue Robinson

These two evaluation and research projects, commissioned by Warwickshire County Council and Peterborough Council Council emerged from the Closing the Gap initiative and Department for Education report: Supporting the Attainment of Disadvantaged pupils: Articulating Success and Good Practice

The purpose of this research was to identify the most effective strategies employed by schools to raise the attainment levels and close the gap in attainment of disadvantaged children. Previous research has shown that there are schools doing the same activities but achieve different levels of success. The difference is how they do it not what they do. It could be argued that leadership and the culture of a school plays a key role in success which is further explored in the research reports and findings.

Read the final project reports here:
Warwickshire County Council
Peterborough City Council

Learning with the RSC: Maximising Impact of the Company's new Associated Schools Programme

Joe Winston

This project build on previous research conducted jointly by Warwick and the RSC which focused on the teaching of Shakespeare in primary schools belonging to the RSC's Learning and Performance Network. This aim of this new project was to help sustain the collaborative relationship between Warwick and the RSC and was intended to help the RSC make informed decisions about where in the immediate future to direct its resource to its best effect. New collaborations were formed as part of the Associated Schools Programme, a new programme intended to broaden the range of the company's relationships with schools, and impact narratives were developed to influence public opinion and policy makers opinions.

Funder: Warwick ESRC Impact Accelleration Account

Improving educational attainment in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Ian Abbott & Phil Whitehead

In partnership with the University of Venda (UNIVEN), the Centre for Education Studies (CES) lead a Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded project to explore ways to improve educational provision in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

A grant of £52,600 was awarded to CES and UNIVEN in the summer of 2014 from the British High Commission (BHC) Prosperity Fund. That money has now been used to fund a study trip to the UK for Limpopo head teachers, UNIVEN staff and provincial Education Board members in October, and a reciprocal visit by CES staff to Limpopo in January 2015.

The results of the data collected on those visits will inform a list of evidence-based recommendations on how to improve educational provision and attainment in Limpopo, which would then be delivered in partnership with local school head teachers and senior management staff in the Province. Subjects focussed on will include educational leadership initiatives, community engagement projects and school-to-school support systems.

Read our blog on the Times Higher Education website

Funder: The British High Commission’s Prosperity Fund

Mathematics Anxiety among existing apprentices

Sue Johnston-Wilder and Susan Goodlad (CEI)

In partnership with the Progression Trust and Asdan, the Centre for Education Studies (CES) and the Centre for Education and Industry (CEI) are conducting research into the prevalence of Mathematics Anxiety among apprentices across Coventry and Warwickshire. By surveying existing apprentices, the researchers are exploring the extent to which STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and non-STEM apprentices are affected by mathematics anxiety, the extent to which mathematics anxiety affects choice of apprenticeship, and to what extent STEM and non-STEM apprentices are mathematically resilient.

Funder: The Gatsby Charitable Foundation

The 'Imagineerium' - a STEAM initiative to develop engineering creatively through the arts

Jo Trowsdale

The Imagineerium pilot project involved 75, nine and ten year olds from three Coventry schools, sited in some of the most deprived areas of the city, commissioned to work alongside professional Imagineers (artists, designers and engineers) to imagine, design and make models for kinetic performance structures. The pilot project sought to explore the appeal of an arts-rich, authentic and embodied approach (physical theatre, imaginative constructs and hands-on activity in a professional environment) to stimulate curiosity and interest in engineering and engage girls and boys of primary school age in thinking imaginatively and like engineers. In partnership with Imagineer Productions and Imagineer Technologies, Jo Trowsdale from the Centre for Education Studies has been conducting research into into this newly emerging creative, arts and engineering process. For more information please see the project webpage.

Funder: Arts Connect West Midlands, the Arts Council and Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership

Leadership development for college principals in the Further Education sector

Justine Mercer, Phil Whitehead & Maria Kaparou

Using an online survey and face-to-face interviews, this project explores the leadership development of College Principals in the Further Education Sector. Specifcally the project will consider the types of leadership development college principals experience prior and post appointment, how effective college principals consider various types of leadership development to be, and how different styles of leadership development lead to different types of (self-reported) leadership.

Funder: British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS)

Comparative analysis of teachers' working conditions in different types of schools

Justine Mercer

This project considers the differences, if any, in the working conditions for teachers in different types of schools (e.g. local authority maintained schools, academies, single sponsored academies, large sponsored acadamies and multi-academy trusts) by two methods: a comparative analysis of human resource documentation; and two in-depth case studies of teachers' working lives in two different schools.

Funder: British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS)