Latest news

  • 28 Jan 2015 11:27 AM | Anonymous

    A new report from a group of skills bodies is calling for apprenticeships in England to be “remade” by increasing the focus on teaching and learning.

    City & Guilds, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, the 157 Group and the Centre for Real-World Learning carried out a review of research into the pedagogy of apprenticeships. Their report offers a series of recommendations to increase the quality of apprentices’ learning, which it says is often overlooked.

    The report, Remaking Apprenticeships, proposes that learning be put “back at the heart” of vocational qualifications by shifting the focus to the most successful teaching methods and sharing best practice. Future government documents about apprenticeships should explicitly reference pedagogy, it adds.

    Kirstie Donnelly, UK managing director of City & Guilds, said: “We firmly believe that now is the time to remake apprenticeships and that, if we take the right approach, we can ensure the UK’s apprenticeship system will compete with the very best on the world stage.

    “Our hope is that this report helps to galvanise the key players to drive the positive change that is needed and actively shape the potentially great future of apprenticeships.”

    Full article here

  • 21 Jan 2015 10:16 AM | Anonymous

    The Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) at the University of Winchester is co-ordinating a two-year project on behalf of the Royal Academy of Engineering to undertake research with schools and colleges into Engineering Habits of Mind (EHoM). In earlier research we identified six EHoM that engineers use regularly when engaged in ‘doing’ engineering, and we are now working with a number of schools to evaluate the use of these EHoM by teachers in their curriculum or after-school activities. The aim is to see if, by deliberately focusing children’s learning on these habits of mind, we can encourage them to think more like engineers and develop the aspiration to engage with the underpinning STEM subjects that will enable them to access careers in engineering in the future. 

    We are working with eight schools in the Hampshire/IoW/SW Sussex region, Reading College and the JCB Academy in Rocester. There is also another group of schools in the North West participating in the project, coordinated by the Science Education Research and Innovation Hub at the University of Manchester.

    We are working closely with the Winchester Science Centre, and the STEMNET Ambassadors Network to ensure that we have strong links with STEM employers who can offer real-world insight into classroom activities that foster EHoM.

    All the schools participating in the project have been invited to join eedNET and will benefit from supported development and collaborative teacher inquiry during the project. The outcomes will include case studies featuring teaching and learning activities from each of the participants, signposts to resources and checklists.

    If you have any queries, please contact the project co-ordinator at CRL, Dr Janet Hanson,

    CRL’s Engineering Habits of Mind

  • 16 Jan 2015 9:24 AM | Anonymous

    Creativity in schools sounds good – so what’s the hitch?

    British scholar Bill Lucas recently asserted the need for a consistent, appropriate and measurable definition of creativity. In his words:

    if creativity is to be taken more seriously by educators and educational policy-makers then we need to be clearer about what it is … and to develop an approach to assessing it which is both rigorous enough to ensure credibility and user-friendly enough to be used by busy teachers.

    And as arts education expert Ken Robinson has long argued, “Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status".

    If popular media, government and economic policy is anything to go by, creativity’s day has come. At least the kind of creativity that can be conflated with notions such as innovation, productivity and globalisation.

    Creativity is changing the way we think about the arts, pedagogy and publics – but why is it important and why do schools suddenly think they need it?

    Full article here

  • 10 Dec 2014 11:53 AM | Anonymous

    Expansive Education continues to develop in Australia. In this wonderful new LLEAP guide for schools, not for profits, philanthropy and business, Michelle Anderson and Emma Curtin make a powerful case for the ways in which teachers can notice the impact of their pedgaogy on learners more effectively. Their Evidence and Approaches Stimulus Tool (EAST) is a really useful practical way in which schools, with their partners, can evaluate impact. As Bill Lucas says in his Foreword: ‘Expansive educators see it as part of their job to make evaluation a normal part of their role and it is our hope that EAST, along with the cases, make a helpful contribution to this process. Across the world we are realising the importance of using evidence in leading innovation and improvement.


  • 17 Nov 2014 9:16 AM | Anonymous

    I was delighted to be at the launch of the Crafts Council Manifesto for Craft and Making – Our Future is in the Making – earlier in the week. For I believe passionately that we need to cultivate manipulate as well as articulate young people in our schools. At a time when we are becoming a sedentary and obese species, we persist in offering young people at secondary school an increasingly passive and restricted academic diet.


    The malign influence of Progress 8

    The Manifesto points out that take up of craft-related GCSEs has fallen by a worrying 25% in the last five years. And the cruelly misnamed ‘Progress 8’ rule which will come into play in 2016 will inevitably further restrict choice at GCSE. It will be anything but progress.

    You only have to look at the DfE document describing Progress 8 to see into the mind of policy-makers to see where arts, crafts and practical subjects sit:

     ‘The new measure will be based on students’ progress measured across eight subjects: English; mathematics; three other English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects (sciences, computer science, geography, history and languages); and three further subjects, which can be from the range of EBacc subjects, or can be any other approved, high-value arts, academic, or vocational qualification.’

    In an EBacc world activities requiring learners to use their hands are effectively invisible.


    False opposites

     While I was engaged by the Crafts Council I was dismayed to find the Secretary of State for Education doing down the arts and by implication craft subjects this week. As the Daily Telegraph wrote:

    ‘Schoolchildren who focus exclusively on arts and humanities-style subjects risk restricting their future career path, the Education Secretary has warned. Disciplines such as the sciences and maths open more doors for pupils than many subjects traditionally favoured by academic all-rounders, according to Nicky Morgan.’

    This is lazy stuff. Worse still when you read what Nicky Morgan actually said you realise how she is unthinkingly promoting false opposites:

    ‘If you didn’t know what you wanted to do… then the arts and the humanities were what you chose because they were useful, we were told, for all kinds of jobs. We now know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. That the subjects to keep young people’s options open are STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.’

    The Secretary of State was doubtless meaning to encourage people to pursue STEM subjects at the launch of the Your Life Campaign.  I strongly support her in this ambition. But NOT if it means falsely polarising subjects of equal but different worth such as the arts and crafts versus engineering.


    As someone said at the Crafts Council launch, we need to put Arts into STEM and make STEAM.


    Engineering Habits of Mind (EHoM)

    We recently published some research for the Royal Academy of Engineering, Thinking like an Engineer: implications for the education system. In it we argue that the way that the educations system is most likely to encourage more young people, especially girls, to pursue STEM subjects is to teach them more expansively. We need to be clearer about what the desired outcomes are, what we have called EHoM. Problem-based, enquiry-led demanding assignments are called for. The engineering design process needs be at the heart of our teaching and learning.


    Here are the EHoM we suggested:



    Notice anything about the middle two rings? I do. And I reckon our friends in the maker movement would too. They are entirely appropriate to craft subjects just as they are to engineering.


    No more lazy, EBacc-inspired thinking, please. Let’s stick to a broad, rigorous and inclusive expansive educational agenda.

    Follow Bill's blog:

  • 12 Nov 2014 9:30 AM | Anonymous

    Professor Bill Lucas has been awarded a prestigious Fellowship by the Melbourne-based International Specialised Skills Institute (ISSI) to honour his achievements and innovative leadership. Professor Lucas is the founding director of the University’s innovative Centre for Real-World Learning. In the last five years his book rEvolution; how to thrive in crazy times was chosen as management book of the year, ground-breaking research into vocational education was debated in the House of Lords and a new approach to developing creativity in schools was published by the prestigious OECD.

    The ISSI Fellowship gives Professor Lucas the opportunity to talk to business, community, philanthropic and school leaders in Melbourne and Sydney on a speaking tour in the first two weeks of November. Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester said:

    ‘We are delighted that, under Professor Lucas’s leadership, the research of the Centre for Real-World Learning is making a significant impact and attracting international acclaim. We are proud to be associated with Australia’s Institute for Specialised Skills through this hour.’

    Previous recipients of this honour include:

    • Dame Julia Cleverdon,  Chief Executive of Business in the Community
    • Professor Carlo Ratti, Director of MIT, SENSEable City Lab
    • Sunit Tandon, Director General of the Indian Institute of Mass Communications.

    Commenting on his award Professor Lucas said: ‘Across a number of states in Australia there is growing interest in the work which I and my colleague Professor Guy Claxton have undertaken. It is exciting to be forging so many dynamic partnerships with our Australian colleagues.’

  • 10 Nov 2014 8:52 AM | Anonymous

    LSE study says money, success and good grades are less important

    Mick Jagger famously couldn’t get it, but now economists think they know what’s required to get some satisfaction.

    After investigating the factors in a person’s life that can best predict whether they will lead satisfied lives, a team headed by one of the UK’s foremost “happiness” experts, Professor Richard Layard, has come up with an answer that may prove controversial.

    Layard and his colleagues at the Wellbeing research programme at theLondon School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performanceconclude that a child’s emotional health is far more important to their satisfaction levels as an adult than other factors, such as if they achieve academic success when young, or wealth when older. The authors explain that evaluating the quality of a child’s emotional health is based on analysing a range of internal factors in a person’s early life, including whether they endured unhappiness, sleeplessness, eating disorders, bedwetting, fearfulness or tiredness.

    The academics claim that their study, What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-course Model of Well-being, published in the latest edition of theEconomic Journal, offers “a completely new perspective on which factors contribute most to a satisfying life”. The study claims to challenge “the basic assumption of educational policy in recent years – that academic achievement matters more than anything else”. This claim appears to be an implicit criticism of former education secretary Michael Gove, who instructed schools not to focus on “peripheral” issues such as children’s moral, social and cultural development in favour of academic excellence. Gove’s successor, Nicky Morgan, has pledged to reverse this approach.

    Layard and his team analysed data from about 9,000 people who were born over a three-week period in 1970 and then tracked by the British Cohort Survey, a study that asks them to complete an extensive questionnaire about their lives every five to seven years. They were also asked to rate their satisfaction at key periods through their lives. The team then examined factors including their income, educational achievement, employment, whether they had been in trouble with the law, whether they were single, as well as their physical and emotional health – to gauge how significant these were in determining satisfaction. In addition, a range of factors that affect a child’s development – for example, intellectual performance, family socio-economic background and emotional health were also examined.

    Read the full Guardian article here

  • 07 Oct 2014 11:46 AM | Anonymous

    Jersey Director of Education, Justin Donovan, City & Guilds Managing Director, Kirstie Donnelly and Bill Lucas and Janet Hanson from the Centre for Real-World Learning launch innovative new teacher-led journal at Highlands College. 

    More than 80 staff from Highlands College contributed to a journal with 50 separate reports exploring expansive topics such as assessment for learning, feedback, peer learning, resourcefulness, perseverance, real-world learning and flipped learning. The result of eighteen months of extraordinary hard work led by Gary Jones, Deputy Principal at Highlands College, this is the first time that an FE college has undertaken and published their action research into expansive approaches to teaching vocational education. 

    Full report and more here

  • 02 Oct 2014 2:30 PM | Anonymous
    The new centre has been initiated by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Brink, and will be jointly funded over the next three years by central strategic and HASS faculty funds. Professor Sugata Mitra has been appointed Director and he will be supported by two Assistant Directors, Professor Liz Todd and Professor David Leat. A launch event is planned for 10 November in the Courtyard, Newcastle University.

    The concept of Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) developed from Sugata Mitra’s ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiments carried out between 1999 and 2006. This research demonstrated children’s ability to learn independently using computers in groups. After joining ECLS in 2006 as Professor of Educational Technology, Sugata has worked alongside colleagues within and beyond CfLaT on a number of different projects. It is through this work that the concept of SOLE has emerged.

    More here...

  • 18 Sep 2014 9:45 AM | Anonymous
    Lucas (2014) Vocational Pedagogy Forum for UNESCO.pdf

    The 2014 Education for All Global Monitoring
    Report on teaching and learning reminded
    us that there is a global learning crisis
    and that the quality of education is at the
    centre of it. The quality of education largely
    depends on good teachers. This is particularly
    evident in technical and vocational education
    and training, where TVET teachers have a
    distinctive role to play in improving the
    quality of education. Quality TVET teachers
    are those with both expert knowledge
    in their field and who have the ability to
    transfer this knowledge to their students.
    However, we too often forget to discuss this
    important question: how to teach TVET?
    To further our understanding of vocational
    pedagogy, UNESCO-UNEVOC organized a
    virtual conference from 12 to 26 May 2014 on
    the UNEVOC e-Forum. Moderated by Professor
    Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-
    World Learning, Professor of Learning at the
    University of Winchester (United Kingdom)
    and co-creator of the Expansive Education
    Network, this virtual conference explored
    what vocational pedagogy is, why it matters
    and how teachers can put it into practice.
    The two-week virtual conference attracted
    197 participants from 65 different countries,
    representing policy makers, researchers,
    practitioners and most importantly, teachers
    and students. They came together to
    deepen their understanding of vocational
    pedagogy and comprehend its complexity.
    The contributions and experiences shared
    illustrated the importance of vocational
    pedagogy in improving learner outcomes
    in TVET, as well its role as a catalyst for
    raising the status and quality of TVET.
    This virtual conference was the ninth in
    a series of moderator-driven discussions
    introduced by UNESCO-UNEVOC in 2011.
    Held on the UNEVOC e-Forum – a global
    online community of over 3,500 members –
    and guided by an expert in the field, these
    discussions provide a platform for sharing
    of experiences, expertise and feedback and
    wish to inspire people to take further action.
    We would like to thank Professor Bill Lucas
    for sharing his expertise on vocational
    pedagogy with the wider TVET community and
    for developing this synthesis report, which
    we hope will be useful in the work of TVET
    teachers and other TVET stakeholders. We
    furthermore extend our sincere gratitude to
    all participants who took their precious time
    to share their experiences on the topic and
    contributed to the development of this report.

    Shyamal Majumdar
    Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC International





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