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  • 29 Feb 2016 10:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bill Lucas

    Featured in TES 26th February 2016


    The employability of young people in the UK is critically important to both our economic and social prosperity. However, employers and Ofsted tell us that young people are still not ready for work when they emerge from the education system. The UK is not alone in grappling with this issue. More than 35 million 16- to 29-year-olds across OECD countries are neither employed nor in education or training, and even those with good educational qualifications can still find it difficult to get employment. While employers want numerate, literate employees with good digital skills, they also want other capabilities. The CBI, for example, has argued explicitly that the education system should produce determined, curious, optimistic, creative and emotionally intelligent young people.


    Read full article here 

  • 22 Feb 2016 10:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The idea of ‘core academic subjects’ is an example of lazy thinking, argue two education academics

    Ellen Spencer and Bill Lucas

    Featured in TES on 11th February 2016

    The secretary of state's foreword to the DfE’s recent consultation on the English Baccalaureate begins with good rational argument, but rapidly moves into political rhetoric with the phrase "the soft bigotry of low expectations…" At first glance clever, this statement is actually snide and unhelpful. It's also obviously party political.

    Into the document itself and there is a more spurious suggestion still, that: "The core academic subjects at school are the primary colours of an educated person's palette." This time wearing the metaphor of the curriculum as an artist's palette with certain subjects on it, the assertion is that there are a set that are "academic", "a basic right" and a set that (presumably) are not.

    Read more here

  • 10 Dec 2015 9:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Across the world most nations want their citizens to be creative. Countries believe that, if their people are more creative they will in turn be likely to be, among other things, better at problem-solving, more entrepreneurial, happier and more successful in life. If creativity is a valued attribute, then it follows that, unless it is an inherited trait, it needs to be learned. Find out what Creative Learning is and why it matters in this Dusseldorp Forum research report by Bill Lucas and Michelle Anderson.


    Read more here
  • 25 Sep 2015 9:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bill Lucas writes in TES about how pupils learn best when home and school work together:

  • 24 Sep 2015 1:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Teachers in schools and colleges in and around Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Berkshire and West Sussex have been working together in two linked projects to embed engineering habits of mind (EHoM) into the curriculum. They have been piloting ways of introducing the six EHoM into teaching computing, science, mathematics and in engineering itself.


    Watch now Tinker Tailor Robot Pi


    The outcomes, as you can see from this video are not only very clever technically, but also highly creative. The video concentrates mainly on the experiences of the teachers from Greater Manchester who were involved in the Tinker Tailor Robot Pi project, and they met with those involved in Thinking like an Engineer for a joint project conference in London in July at the Royal Academy of Engineering.



    Tinker Tailor Robot Pi is coordinated by Dr Lynne Bianchi at the Science and Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub (SEERIH) at the University of Manchester.


    Thinking like an Engineer is coordinated by Professor Bill Lucas and Dr Janet Hanson at the Centre for Real World Learning (CRL) at the University of Winchester



    Also take a look at the CRL Thinking Like an Engineer:implications for the education system report.   



  • 20 Jul 2015 11:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Analysis of SSAT’s recent survey of school leaders on the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all students take GCSEs in EBacc subjects.


    Read it here EBacc for all - SSAT Report.pdf

  • 15 Jul 2015 10:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent grant-making charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential and make the most of their talents.


    Its recent projects including Changing Mindsets run by Portsmouth University.  An intervention which aims to improve attainment by developing a growth mindset in pupils.  There is also an interesting Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHs) project undertaken in Greater Manchester.


    Please click here to see all the latest EEF projects






  • 06 Jul 2015 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Research from Nottingham Business School released in support of National Women In Engineering Day on June 23rd.


    Featured in Infrastructure Intelligence


    Research by Nottingham University Business School warns that women may actually resent rather than welcome initiatives designed to help them succeed in male-dominated professions such as engineering. Report author Laurie Cohen explains.


    Policymakers, businesses and educators remain profoundly frustrated by the dearth of women pursuing careers in STEM. There may be an abundance of initiatives, but the longed-for sea-change remains as elusive as ever.


    Misinformed and outdated perceptions certainly don’t help. Dame Sue Ion, vice-president of the Royal Society of Engineers, remarked as much in a Guardian blog earlier this year. A turnaround is unlikely when half of the population is deterred from the outset.


    "The prevailing view among our respondents was that in the world of engineering – and, one might safely assume, in the world of STEM more generally – nothing beats competence."


    Perhaps another problem, though, is that our attention is too often concentrated on why so many women fail in STEM or avoid it altogether. We seldom ask why some actually succeed. We need to understand why women do embark on such careers and, more importantly, why they frequently turn out to be very good at them.


    That’s what we set out to do in our recent research into women in engineering. Working with individuals and focus groups reflecting all phases of the journey, from schooling to degree study to employment within major organisations, we took a closer look at a career pipeline widely acknowledged as among the leakiest in any professional sphere.


    We consistently identified several strategies among women who stay the course in STEM. Keeping family life out of work, networking and both possessing and demonstrating sheer perseverance all emerged as significant considerations. But arguably the most interesting theme of all was the enormous importance attached to succeeding on merit.


    The prevailing view among our respondents was that in the world of engineering – and, one might safely assume, in the world of STEM more generally – nothing beats competence. It underpins and outstrips all other desirable attributes. When it comes to career progression, when it comes to proving oneself deserving of advancement, there’s no substitute for doing the job and doing it well.


    "The awkward truth is that what some hail as well-intentioned efforts to break down barriers are condemned by others as corrosive examples of “positive discrimination”."


    Many of the women who took part in our study aimed to exhibit this belief – and maybe even to test it – by actively seeking out the most difficult assignments. They were determined to take on tough tasks, to complete them and, crucially, to let everyone know they had completed them. They wanted to engage. They saw no value in shying away from challenges. 


    It’s an unfortunate irony, to say the least, that such resolve in many ways sits so uncomfortably alongside the broader drive to get more women into STEM. The awkward truth is that what some hail as well-intentioned efforts to break down barriers are condemned by others as corrosive examples of “positive discrimination”. 


    The latter view was certainly common among our less senior respondents, the majority of whom had little time for diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives – even those within their own workplace. Although occasionally deemed useful for facilitating childcare and flexible working, in the main such schemes were dismissed as sources of gratuitous “favours” and more likely to undermine than enable. An all-female network established within one large company was widely derided, with critics maintaining women shouldn’t need “extra” assistance.


    Those in middle-level roles offered further insights into the potentially negative impacts. They warned that women who take advantage of D&I shouldn’t necessarily expect to be held in the highest regard when seeking promotion. In the end, they suggested, advancement is still linked to the long-entrenched “qualities” of ever-presence and time-serving – and family life, to take an obvious example, lends itself to neither of these.


    There was also a suspicion that an organisation’s official appetite for D&I rises and falls in tandem with profit margins. In times of plenty, possibly because it’s safe to tolerate a degree of risk when things are going well, D&I flourishes. In times of austerity, when apparent gambles are less acceptable, caution and conservatism reign anew. 


    "What our respondents really disliked was being identified as somehow needing “remedial” help."


    Above all, what our respondents really disliked was being identified as somehow needing “remedial” help. This is why women-only groups that were organic and came from women themselves were accepted but those imposed from on high were avoided.


    The lesson for major organisations is that any guidance, boost or sponsorship should be seen not as a selective “favour” but as a benefit available to all. In other words, women want to move up the ladder on the strength of their capabilities rather than on the basis of an employer’s keenness to tick boxes and meet quotas. The appetite for a genuine meritocracy is undeniable – which, given the enduring quandary of women in STEM, might just be as troubling as it is encouraging. 


    Laurie Cohen is a Professor of Work and Organisation at Nottingham University Business School and the author of Imagining Women's Careers, published by Oxford University Press. The research discussed here was carried out with Professor Joanne Duberley, of Birmingham Business School, and Dr Dulini Fernando, of Warwick Business School. 

  • 02 Jul 2015 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Professor Bill Lucas' piece in AELP Annual Conference, FE Week - edition 143.


    Read it here: AELP Annual Conference 2015 (1).pdf

  • 30 Jun 2015 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Professor Bill Lucas' three point plan to improve the quality of apprenticeships 


    FE News article here: 


    Professor Bill Lucas from the Centre for Real World-Learning discusses growing apprenticeships through increasing quality.  Lucas details best practices from apprenticeship programmes in other countries, teaching methods that work and pedagogy.  He also sets out a three point plan to help increase the volume of learners on apprenticeship programmes:


    Point 1: Focus on which learning methods work for which Apprenticeships and why


    Pont 2: Transform the individual learning plan into a formative document of progress for the apprenticeship


    Point 3: Whilst it is great that apprenticeships will have a protected name, we should be more ambitious with what we can achieve through the apprenticeship pathway.


    According to Lucas, there will be an increase in apprenticeship quality and numbers in one year if this plan is followed.


    Watch Professor Bill Lucas here:








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