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West Midlands Learning and Skills Research Network

The West Midlands Learning and Skills Research Network is part of a national network of practitioners, researchers, developers, managers and policy makers who are concerned with improving the quality of education and training. Its overall purpose is to help people, in going about their professional practice, to engage with research and development.

The network seeks to:

  •   Demonstrate the value of research and development in the sector
  •  Help build research and development capacity
  • Explore ways of increasing the influence of research and development findings
  • Promote collaborative ways of working and networks of practice

Visit our new website at: http://www.lsrn.org.uk/region/west-midlands-region

The West Midlands LSRN is coordinated by staff working for different organisations across the West Midlands including the University of Wolverhampton, BCU and the West Midlands Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training.  WM LSRN supports innovation in the largest teacher training and CPD partnership spanning the Lifelong Learning sector in the Midlands.

The West Midlands Learning & Skills Research Network aims to:

  •   Connect with existing networks of practice across West Midlands and the Black Country
  •   Provide a friendly and inclusive forum for sharing and debating research findings
  •   Facilitate and support research activity, especially that which is collaborative and practitioner based
  •   Provide a forum that promotes and supports collaborative writing
  •   Offer help with bid writing
  •   Provide a central point for people involved in research and development in the region to make contact and form partnerships
  •   Help make the research process less mysterious
  •   Develop the profile of ‘HE in FE’ work
  •   Develop and sustain links between HE and FE practitioners

LSRN Network Meetings

We have a network meeting twice a year to explore educational research themes and particular interests.  These meetings are free and our aim is to include as wide a range of people as possible, from policy makers to practitioners, in all sectors of the field.

LSRN Regional Research Conference

The West Midlands LSRN group have held regular summer conferences, celebrating and disseminating work in the region by both the network and other organisations involved in research around education and training.  Watch this space.

Regional research and development projects

The network offers opportunities for wide ranging dissemination and consultation in relation to current work in progress plus opportunities for providers, policy makers and other agencies to design and implement their own research projects.   

The network is of particular value for projects that would especially benefit from one or all of the following:

  •  a cross sector and/or collaborative approach
  • access to a wide ranging network of stakeholders in the education and training field
  • practitioner-led research
  • opportunities for the support and development of research skills by experienced researchers.

(While the network has no research funds of its own, existing members have experience of accessing funds.)

Published research projects carried out by the West Midlands Learning and Skills Research Network in the recent past include:

What works for Learners 14-16? Case studies of provision in six West Midlands further education colleges [Hardman 2006] www.lsneducation.org.uk

Findings from six case studies of 14-16 provision in further education (FE) colleges in the West Midlands. Research by college based practitioners with network support. Case study focuses on a different aspect of this provision contributes to the project’s useful overall analysis. The research has been presented at three LSRN conferences in 2005 - 06.

Collaborating for success: collaborative arrangements for 14-19 provision in the West Midlands : summary and analysis of research findings from six case studies [Hardman 2006]  www.lsneducation.org.uk

Research for the West Midlands Region LSC, managed by the LSDA and conducted by members of the network. Findings from six areas in the West Midlands were used to: examine how 14-19 collaborative arrangements have developed and changed; assess their impact on the curriculum offer, learner choice and participation and identify the main success factors for starting and sustaining effective 14-19 collaborations. The research is highly pertinent to current developments in cross sector 14-19 collaborations. See for example, Report on training and development guidance for teachers of diplomas. TDA /LLUK (2006)

For further details about any of the above projects or to discuss prospective project proposals, please contact Rob Smith, Jill Hardman or Karen McGrath.

Contact Details

Rob Smith (Chair WMLSRN)        rob.smith@wlv.ac.uk             01902 32 3102

Jill Hardman [WMCETT]              jill.hardman@poptel.org        01432 870721

Karen McGrath                           karen.mcgrath@bcu.ac.uk     0121 331 7341

If you would like to be kept informed of WM LSRN meetings and events, would like to be more involved or have research findings you would like to share, please contact Rob Smith, above, complete with your name, email address, phone number, institution, and details of how you would like to be involved.