Here you'll find links to downloadable extracts from material I've published, and some quotations from them that may be useful: please acknowledge the source as indicated. Please only download a single copy, for your personal use. To download, double click on the icon.
Resources are arranged in thematic sections: use the drop-down menu at RESOURCES (top right) to take you to that section.
Curriculum - an overview
Curriculum: Social studies and political education
Curriculum: Citizenship education
Curriculum: Human Rights education
Equality and social justice issues in education
Equality: in European education
Equality: in UK schools
Equality: in UK higher education
Equality in the teacher workforce
Cooperation and competition in schools
The teaching workforce in the UK
Resources that are particularly associated with my current project on Young Europeans' political identities are located on the CURRENT PROJECT page, together with some videos of lectures.
A full list of all my PUBLICATIONS is also on a separate page.
This is a frequently referenced book, still available in print (£38 new, from £9 second-hand). It combines an overall analysis of the various competing models of how the curriculum might be constructed - driven by demands of content, objectives and processes (chapters 7-9) - with observations on the political processes that lie behind the state's involvement in defining curricula (chapters 2 and 6) and a historical analysis of the development of the curriculum in England between 1896 and 1998) (chapters 3-5). This is all framed between two extended metaphors - the first of gardening (using the many references to cultivation, nursery gardens, etc) (chapter 1), the second of the construction of English/British identities through the curriculum (chapter 10).
This book is availabe to download at
"Once a policy-maker grasps that the act of defining the curriculum is a conscious selection of which culture shall be transmitted to the next generation, then it becomes possible to reverse the process: to decide what sort of culture (or society) will be desirable in future, and to ensure that it is this which is included in the curriculum.' (p 11)
"The pedagogic authority represented by the State will seek to produce structures and curricula that are designed to maintain national identity, particularly at moments when national identity might seem to be in question." (p 155)
"We are all capable of multiple identities: the problem seems to be that the State's perceptions of the exigencies of the crisis in national identity require it to use the school curriculum to create and promote one national identity above all others." (p 158)
Ross, A. (1984). Developing political concepts and skills in the primary school. Educational Review, 36 (2), pp 131–139.
An early article, which although dated, offers some analysis if what young people (7-11) can be capable of in the sphere of political learning.
“Young children are capable of holding fairly sophisticated political concepts and of developing political skills, particularly if both are derived from the direct experiences of the child.” (p. 131)
“Children need first to describe and discuss their own personal experiences: the teacher’s role is to encourage everyone that their knowledge is a valid starting point for discussion … not necessarily to introduce new vocabulary to the child, but often to use children’s own expressions to help them clarify ideas. The teacher cannot ‘teach’ concepts by defining them: they are built up slowly by the child accumulating a battery of examples and beginning to note the similarities.” (p. 134)
Ross, A. (1987). Political Education in the primary school. In Clive Harber (Ed.), Political Education in Britain, pp 9-24. Lewes: Falmer.
A wide-ranging survey of the then current literature on political socialisation in this age group, with examples drawn from isolated examples of current practice in the UK.
The chapter “move[s] from the evidence that shows the political understandings that nearly all children show, and the undoubted political competence that some children can achieve, to consider in what curricular guise political education will probably occur in schools." (p 22)
Ross, A. (1988). The Social Subjects. In M. Clarkson (Ed), Emerging Issues in Primary Education, pp 207 – 222. Lewes: Falmer.
This analysis of the social subjects’ place in the curriculum was written in the months before the National Curriculum was announced, and offers an account of the ‘state of play’ at that critical juncture. It analyses the respective roles of the Local Education Authorities, the Schools Council, the Inspectorate and the schools in developing the social subjects – or perhaps the social sciences – as ‘synthesizers’, ‘restructuralists’ and ‘particularists’, particularly in the light of the rapidly changing ethnic diversity of schools at this time.
“The initiative [of the synthesizers] provoked a series of rejoinders, both from those who sought to reassert the primacy of traditional subject divisions, and from those who wanted to redefine the social subjects as a convenient way of developing social skills. As yet, these reconstructionists are ill-coordinated and have not put forward any strongly argued and practical counter-proposals: but there would probably be a fair-sized body of primary teachers who would respond to a call to reintroduce the traditional subjects, taught in a traditional manner.” (p 217)
Others “have defined their curriculum concerns in a manner that links them to the social sciences. This approach has strengthened the social science movement.” (p. 217)
Five years later, and the social subjects had become covert fugitives from the regime of the National Curriculum. This essay was written as part of a Festschriften for Alan Blyth, a pioneer of social studies from 1945 till well after his retirement in 1985. As I note, not only had the ‘social subjects’ disappeared from the then formulations of the National Curriculum, but as had the word ‘society’ itself. A chart in this chapter (pp 139-141) shows how the primary school curriculum had been divided and labelled from 1967 to 1991.
“Most primary teachers have an intuitive, rather than a well-articulated, view of the social in the curriculum. Only a minority have the energy, the analysis, or indeed the courage, to weld a social studies curriculum out of the jigsaw of the National Curriculum’s foundation subject and the whole curriculum’s themes.” (p 153)
“Not only are the social subjects a necessary part of the whole curriculum, they are already available, in a pice-mean form, within the existing skeleton of the national and the whole curriculum. The only way of making them sufficiently explicit, and this achievable, will be to draw the disparate parts together, and offer this as something not only greater than its parts, but also simpler than its parts.” (p. 154)
A review of the curricular changes in the social studies curriculum from the 1960 to the roll-out of the 1988 National Curriculum in England, that argues that it was essential to maintain a social studies dimension. The argument focuses on the primary and middle years of education, examining UK and international trends in the 70s and early 80s, and the attack on social studies from right-wing commentators in Thatcher’s Britain in the late 80s and early 90s.
“The social elements of the curriculum … changed radically with the imposition of the National Curriculum. One view might be that they were … disposed of, [through] ‘benign neglect’, then frozen out of discussion, and finally legislated into oblivion. A counter view might be that they were translated into other disciplines … by interested professionals acting in a subversive manner to colonise the new curriculum. But alternative might be that many of the themes and concerns that were hitherto located within the social parts of the curriculum were subtly reformulated and reintroduced … in the cross-curricular themes.” (p. 77)
An analysis of the UK Government’s assertion that the ‘Whole Curriculum’ was broader and greater than the National Curriculum, and that cross-curricular themes would provide this. The documentation of these themes are analysed, and it is suggested that they largely were structured to develop a sense of individual responsibility among young people, rather than offer any broader social perspectives: the individual is made the author of their own misfortune. This is coupled to curriculum initiatives to ‘invent’ a national heritage.
“These elements do not simply offer a framework that mirrors the social experiences of our communities. They reorder the curriculum, so that children will learn more about their own individual obligations and responsibilities than about the social organizations that offer them rights. …The National Curriculum, and the Whole Curriculum that surrounds it, is an attempt to invent traditions that deny community, welfare and social action.” (p. 98)
This was the third book in the CiCe series European Issues in Children’s Identity and Citizenship (8 volumes, between 2002 and 2008: see also A European Education, under Citizenship Education, below). In the introduction we draw attention to the construct of young peoples’ political identity, as taking place from an early age, and the way that this will be set among a range of identities.
“The sequence of construction [of different identities] is contingent on the social and political circumstances in which the individual grows up. …. A political identity … will include, inter alia, aspects of identity theta relate to particular geographical localities (such as municipalities, nations and regions), as well as aspects that relate to membership of a particular social group that may act politically (a socio-economic class, a linguistic group, or a particular ethnicity. These will frequently overlap.”( p 2)
We give an example of a bilingual Turkish/German origin 13 year old girl having many reference groups for her identities: “each of these reference groups brings with it different sets of duties and obligations, and different definitions of whom she will include in the reference group, and who falls outside it. She will expect different rights from the various groups and from the individuals in those groups, and she will expect different degrees of participation in decision-making processes in each setting. She will inevitably find some of these demands are sometimes incompatible, and will have to give priority, in a particular setting, to acting one way or another: she will live contingently.” pp 4-5)
This chapter explores the development o political education in the UK curriculum, and then the citizenship education in the UK and Europe in the 1997-2003 period. This is set in a discussion about the relative merits of a concept-bases curriculum and an issues-based curriculum; a “delicate balance” (p. 29) is suggested.
“a variety of elements [must be] present: experiences, issues, concepts and structures and processes. … All of these are necessary components – not a single one can be left out- and the sequence is critical” (p 30)
“if we are to get away from safe teaching about structures and processes, about the neutral and the bland, then we need to ensure teachers re equipped with a wide conceptual understanding, with a knowledge of the issues that might illustrate these, and with the skills to manage covering the issues of participatory democracy through handling classroom political debate.” (pp 32-33)
Findings from a survey of 11-17 year olds in in Poland, Spain, Turkey and the UK that sought to explore the reality of the supposed ‘democratic deficit’ of young people. We suggest that young people behave very similarly to adults in how they define their political activities and expectations, and discuss possible educational responses to the intentions they describe.
“There is considerable political interest among young people in these four countries – though not necessarily political interest in the conventional sense of traditional party political activity.” (p. 56)
“Males seemed somewhat more inclined than females to participate in ‘conventional [political] activities’, and females to be involved in less conventional activities. Young people have always been more involved in direct, issues-focused political action that their elders.” (p.57)
The Erasmus Academic Network ‘Children’ Identity and Citizenship in Europe’ (CiCe) was established in 1998, and this is an early report of our activities and views. This article summarises some of conceptions at the moment that the European Commission was moving from the Treaty of Amsterdam to develop a common European citizenship to co-exist alongside the national identities of member states. CiCe brought together academics in teacher education, sociology, psychology and more from all the member states. A survey of their views of what European citizenship might mean, and how young people might respond to this, was carried out in 1999, and reported on here.
“the notion of a Europe of shared values dropped from the political discourses of the UK, France and Germany by the early 1960s, leaving only the nation state and the Western community models, but clearly the ‘shared values’ model survives strongly within the discourse of education” (p 14)
“what emerges … is a picture that shows in some places clarity, cohesions and a sense of purpose, and in other areas local variations that show significant lack of agreement on the nature of some of the core concepts and issues with which we are engaged.” (p 19)
This chapter sets the same survey in a wider discussion of identity, particularly in the context of developing understandings of the nature of nationalism and globalisation, that challenge the more traditional construct of The Civic Culture developed by Almond and Verba in the 1960s. The analysis compares views from different regions of Europe.
“The countries of Eastern Europe are particularly uninterested in political education, which is probably a term that still bears overtones of Soviet citizenship. They are also less interested in economic education and citizenship. Social education is a very strong interest in eastern countries.” (p 190)
The network members “are going to approach the issues of identity and citizenship with proper caution: there is no sense of any wish to create a supernationalism that will imitate the nationalisms of the past.” (p 198)
Three curricula models and contrasted: content-driven, objectives-driven and process-driven, and citizenship education is then positioned with reference to them, particularly with reference to the different forms it has taken in different European states. Objectives, concepts and processes are suggested as the means to ensure enactive and enabled citizens.
“If social identities and cultures were static, then the role of education in this would not be at issue, but this is not the case in Europe, nor in much of the rest of the world. Social mobility, migration, increased awareness of gender, environmental concerns, social exclusion and class all contribute to challenge the traditional verities.” (p 97)
“What do we tell our [teachers]? Firstly, to be cautious and analytic themselves … they need to question other intentions and other agendas, that may be covert … Secondly … to construct a curricula approach that combines a variety of elements: issues-based, but also reflective and enactive; and one that requires pupils to debate and rehearse arguments …. This is a subversive counteractivity by teachers: it needs to be. Politicians do not advocate political education without subversive intentions.” (p 98)
In the series International perspectives on Curriculum Studies, this volume focussed on citizenship. Here I elaborate on the forces behind the revival of interest in citizenship education, and suggest that concerns about identity and the ‘democratic deficit’ are driving these. The various forms of curriculum construction (content, objectives, process) determine particular pedagogies, and which dominated is contingent on local political/state traditions.
“there are three distinct approaches to constructing a curriculum. Each has a different set of aims and ambitions, and each will determine a particular pedagogic style of implementation. It is unclear to which of these traditions citizenship education belongs: it depends on who is advocating such education, and why. Only when we understand the motives does it become clear what is meant by this term, and only then can we calculate how to approach the subject.” (p 53)
Written for a Spanish-speaking audience (in English) in REICE (The Ibero-American Journal on Quality, Efficiency and Change in Education), this paper focuses on the common agenda for Human Rights found across Europe, through the Council of Europe’s European Convention, which breaks the link with the territory of the nation. It traces the relationship between this and the emerging multiplicity of identities, and examines how the concept of Human Rights has develop since 1945 (comparing Marshall in 1950 with Urry in 1995). The implications for curriculum and pedagogies are examined.
“ Identities thus become contingent. The identity or group of identities selected for presentation is a response to the group(s) that constitute the audience, to the location of the encounter, and to the history and events that preceded it.” (p 121)
“citizenship has powerful links with identity and rights, both of which have been strongly associated with territory and nation. But these two areas have become increasingly complex and contested, and now provide fertile ground for young people to explore what citizenship means in an active and participatory manner” p 128)
This chapter contrasts ‘passive citizenship’ with ‘active citizenship’, and argues that citizenship education should not focus on developing passive processes of voting, etc., but engage students in more active forms of activity. The two key areas of identities and rights are outlined with respect to citizenship, and the two strategies of whole school approaches and a radical classroom dialogic are identified.
“in some countries (perhaps particularly in Europe) there is a greater perception that citizenship and national identity may now be seen as social constructs, and that active citizenship may embrace a diverse range of relevant political scenarios in which to be a ‘politically active citizen’.” (p 495)
“four key areas for the planning and delivery of effective learning … constitute a package – they are closely related to one another, not a shopping list from which a selection might be made. They are facilitating classroom discourse an a dialogic pedagogy in the classroom; a concomitant valuing and respect for the student and their experiences as a partner in citizenship learning; a coherent and radical construction of the school as a democratic institution … and a structure to support teachers and other staff to engage in these processes.” (p 499)
This was a major research report for the English government, who were at the time concerned with community unrest and the potential role for the school National Curriculum in addressing this. They established a formal review body, chaired by Keith Ajegbo, and commissioned IPSE to research the background for them, reviewing the literature and conducting empirical research in schools about how identity issues were addresses, particularly around different ethnicities (including those of an English/British heritage). We undertook focus groups and interviews in a wide range of schools, and made recommendations, taken up by Ajegbo, that were swiftly used to amend the England Citizenship Curriculum and teacher educator standards.
“It is evident that in implementing a more diverse curriculum it will be necessary for schools and teachers to consider precisely what is meant by ‘diversity’ and how this can be achieved through the curriculum. Diversity and identities in contemporary Britain are changing and kaleidoscopic. We all have multiple identities, and one of these, for almost
all of us, is some form of ‘Britishness’ in particular circumstances and contexts. The curriculum needs to allow pupils to understand and appreciate diversity and its values, and that they have their own identities within this diversity. This is a sensitive and controversial area, in which teachers need to be given firm support to develop with their
pupils, from government, local authorities, school governors and headteachers. The citizenship curriculum appears to be the most appropriate place to locate this. Teaching in areas that are controversial and sensitive requires particular skills and courage: all teachers need to be trained and supported to deliver these effectively.” (p 112)
This paper explores multipole and nested identities, and how these relate to citizenship and rights, and implications of rights and identities for active citizenship education. The idea that identities can be contingent is explored, and then the relationship between identity, citizenship and rights. Theories of rights are elaborated more so than in earlier papers – TH Marshall in the 1950s, Karel Vasek in the late 1970s, and John Urry in the 1990s; and this is illustrated by the development of European citizenship in parallel to national identities. This is then linked to a discussion of how citizenship education now might use the exploration of new and contested rights as a way of developing practical enactive citizenship skills.
In developing active citizenship “rights-based citizenship may be of value, and particularly the developing waves of human rights described by Vasak and Urry, rights yet to be obtained. Many young people are actively concerned with and engaged in many of these issues, and the development of supra-national rights raises issues of sovereignty and of identity. … when children and young people become aware of situations in which rights which they enjoy are denied to others, they often actively engage … in lobbying and demanding rights for others.” (p 299-300)
This is my editorial introducing a special issue of this journal on Active Citizenship Education. In it I tease apart a series of four ways in which citizenship education might be constructed as ‘active’ (the conventional level of participant; volunteering and engagement with social movements, sometimes called ‘service learning’; working to change political and social policies; and individualistic ‘enterprise’ activity) – and two forms of ‘passive’ citizenship (developing national identities; and patriotic learning).
The co-edited/co-written book examined a series of global examples of how different states approach globalisation and the nation in educational terms. Eight chapters look at specific countries – and this one examines the European Union as a whole. After a brief review of the EU context, it looks at ‘educating for the nation’ across the EU, and educational practice in this, covering approaches in a range of countries. It suggests that national identity will continue, but with decreasing significance in the lives of many people.
“The concept of European citizenship will almost certainly continue to grow and develop: many younger people in particular seem eager to use the EU’s mobility programme for education … [use] the labour market mobility … and to learn additional European languages. National identity will continue … [but] have increasing less significance in the lives of many of the Union’s citizens, national identity is likely to become increasingly maintained and promoted by two particular groups: older people who … have constructed their persona in more national-oriented eras, and national political and institutional elites.” (p 169)
This paper examines three analyses of the relationship between citizenship and human rights, drawing on the work of TH Marshall, Karel Vasak and John Urry, relating these to citizenship education. The argument that citizenship can be defined around concepts of rights is related to the sequential development of civil, political and social rights. In educational terms, this is linked to Jerome Bruner’s model of enactive learning, which needs to incorporated alongside the traditional citizenship education reliance on iconic and symbolic learning.
“a more general and personal approach [to learning about rights] would be to recognising thatthere are further rights to be obtained. Returning to Karl Vasak’s ‘three generations of rights’, we are reminded that the third generation is largely yet to be won. This third generation involves fraternity and solidarity, the rights an individual may claim from society. John Urry’s list of six categories may suggest areas in which children, young pepe, and indeed adults might become actively involved in arguing for and establishing new rights.” (p 40)
This was written for a journal published in Sweden, and was the text of an address to a Nordic regional conference on citizenship and human rights education. It develops the construction of Europe as a locus for human rights, particularly with reference to the European Convention, and activities in social, economic and environmental areas – and the particular Scandinavian/Nordic contribution to this. It relates education in these areas to the model put forward by Jean Lave and Ernest Wenger of situated learning and peripheral participation.
“One way in which Europe is really distinct is in the area of human rights legislation. The application of the International Court of Justice is limited, to certain major international crimes, to countries that volunteer to accept its jurisdiction, and only in cases where the accused are surrendered to the court. Europe is different: the European Human Rights legislation applies to a very wide range of rights and privileges, is obligatory on all [European states], and has powers that over-ride national courts.” (p 106)
From 2007-09 I led a seven-country team analysing educational policies that were intended to address
social inequality, as part of the European Commission’s socrates programme. Teams from universities in
Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Spain, Sweden and the UK evaluated the policies and practices of 14 countries, and made four case studies and evaluated some 20 projects in each of these. We also made thematic reports on approaches to different kinds of inequalities.
Here you can see the overall final report, and the specific UK contributions.
The overall report attempts to weave together our various findings, analysing the various explanations offered for the persistence of inequality in the face of so many years of initiatives designed to address this; the various categories of disadvantage, and the intersectionality between them; what markers there are for detecting and measuring inequality; and how examining inequalities in outcomes would be a better measure of success than simply striving for equality of opportunities. We offered a definition of educational institutional inequality (see quotation below). We looked at how the issues were often avoided, and strategies that might be used to guide future initiatives. Finally we make recommendations at Commission, national regional and institution level.
"The term educational institutional inequality might be useful employed to identify the collective failure of an educational institution or set of institutions to provide appropriate educational services to a minority group of the population because of their social, cultural, linguistic or behavioural characteristics. This can be detected in educational policies and practices that amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and stereotyping which leads to the group as a whole to achieve a lower set of educational outcomes than the majority population." (p 4)
"Strategies for organising effective educational policies that target inequity:
Involve the communities
“So the picture in the UK is very mixed. There is no doubt that many more people benefit from educational opportunities than in the past, and that the government is attempting to ameliorate educational and social disadvantage. There are, of course, limits to the extent to which wider social inequalities can be tackled through the education system, and the legislative changes that have been enacted to challenge inequalities are very welcome. However, if the present contradictions in government education policy continue, educational inequalities and disadvantages are unlikely to be significantly reduced.” (p 19)
The second country report prepared by the UK was on the Republic of Ireland.
“the Irish construction of a policy response to educational disadvantage has much focused until now on socio-economic explanations and on groups at a socio-economic disadvantage. Gender issues, as well as issues faced by students with disabilities and Traveller students, have led to the development of a policy response, albeit to not to the same extent. However, in sharp contrast with the focus on social class, the possible educational disadvantage faced by some minority ethnic, religious and linguistic groups has been ignored in the construction of a policy response” “p 21)
The thematic reviews drew together analysis and policy responses to particular groups suffering from educational inequalities across the fourteen European Union countries of the study. The UK team’s report was on minority ethnic groups.
We began by observing “the contrasting ways that different states construct ethnic group difference, noting that conceptions of ethnic minority groups are conditioned by their history of migration, their immigration status, political influence and current and historical geo-political conditions” (p 3)
“Respect for pupils’ cultural heritage should be part of the mainstream curriculum and projects which encourage this in addition to social mixing may provide better preparation for living in a multicultural society for all young people. The need to change local communities as well as focusing on immigrant groups is an important part of reducing inequality in this area.” (p 18)
Three members of the EPSAI team produced this book that drew together the main findings of the project¸ and argued that it was not inevitable that education had to simply reproduce existing social patterns, and replicate social inequalities, but there was the potential for education to challenge inequalities and transform lives.
This is the coincluding chapter, available to download.
“In particular, educational programmes should actively recruit from disadvantaged groups. Ensuring that there are representatives of all social and cultural groups helps educational systems … fully reflect the spectrum of cultural and social traditions and systems that make up society. It will also ensure that the teaching profession as a whole can match the range of cultural and social varieties that our society contains. … Representation from diverse groups can also serve as aspirational models … helping children see that minorities can have as much power and prestige as any other citizen … just as importantly, it will convey the same message to children from the majority population.” (p 135)
The Migration Policy Group works to produce regular indices of the policies towards migrants of many European countries, and the US and Canada. Indices were used of policies towards migrants’ political participation, access to acquiring nationality; family reunion rights and labour market mobility, for example. In 2008 they sought to investigate if education policies could be added to this list, and we were commissioned to make a scoping study of this. We were asked to suggest potential indicators of policy that could be assessed for each country, based on internationally agreed standards, recommendations of international bodies such as the ILO and the OECD, etc. This is our (unpublished) report that summarises our findings. It led to the third MIPEX survey including education policy in its 2011 publication.
Carol Leathwood and I were invited to guest edit a special edition of the EJE on Early school leaving (ESL) in the European context in early 2013, when the effects of the global economic crash was impacting on employment rates across much of Europe. This article offers a critical discussion on why ESL had become a policy indicator, and the presumed linkages between education and employment. We argued that there were important equality and social inclusion perspectives that needed to be embedded in ESL strategies.
“’Early School Leaving’ is a concept that is problematic, not merely because it is imprecise, and masks a variety of potentially indirect routes to the successful completion of an education, and not simply because it is being used as a political panacea to address youth unemployment. It is … more significant in that it becomes a marker for social exclusion, a means of maintaining inequities in societies in which social divisions and extremes of wealth and poverty have become more marked in the past 15 to 20 years. All young people need to advance as far as possible through the educational system, not because this will necessarily ensure their place in the labour market, or because it will contribute to the overall prosperity of society; but because it offers one way of addressing social exclusion, division and inequalities. This should be the acid test of the success of measures to address early school leaving.” (p 415)
A major new edited collection is in preparation for publication later this year - Educational research for social justice, Springer
In 2007 we were commissioned by the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education to examine teachers in Supplementary Schools (part-time voluntary schools supported by particular linguistic and cultural minorities to provide addition educational support for young people in their community). In particular, we examined how they might move to become qualified and recognised as teachers in mainstream education, and to examine their additional training needs, given that many had considerable teaching experience and qualifications from outside the UK system. WE identified a range of types of school, with different ambitions and goals, including the preservation of the cultural identity and heritage of the these communities and the teaching of their languages. Our study was qualitative and quantitative, involving school leaders and teachers
“These teachers felt they had much to offer mainstream education. Their expertise in languages was often accompanied with Maths and Science, and some wanted to combine their knowledge of languages with their subject expertise to teach in secondary schools (e.g. Spanish and Science). Teachers were clear about their own needs. A significant proportion identified proficiency in English, developing their ICT skills and learning about the English/UK Education system as their goals before taking on [Teacher Education] courses. Our focus group discussions showed that these teachers often sought to work in schools as voluntary workers or assistants until they developed the required skills to teach in mainstream schools.” (p 42)
This research for the English Education Department was to map the provision of supplementary schools, identify the unique contribution these schools played in the education Sector, and to scope the feasibility of a quantitative study of their impact on attainment and participation rates in mainstream education. We made a survey of schools, conducted a literature review and made a series of case studies, using the information held by the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Schools. This report includes much on the development of these schools from the 1950s, and found that they reinforced group solidarity and identity, and helped children to feel part of a wider social network of learning and socialising.
“this research has shown that pupils attending supplementary schools derive immense support from attending supplementary schools. This was due to more concentrated teacher-pupil time, and the different ethos created by the supplementary schools. Case study respondents also emphasised the importance of having pupils taught by teachers from similar backgrounds, with shared culture and heritage, norms and expectations.” (p 167)
“ there is a need for better understanding at a policy level of the added value, and not just in relation to academic attainment, that supplementary schools offer to children’s learning. Ultimately, such acknowledgement would lead to greater dialogue (and understanding) between the mainstream and supplementary school sectors” (p 169)
This research for the English Education Department was to evaluate the Black Children’s Achievement project, established to target Black primary aged children across England. It began in 2005 as the African Caribbean Achievement Programme, and was expanded the following year to include all Black pupils (Black African, Black Caribbean, Mixed White and Black Caribbean, Mixed White and Black African, and Black Other). We made a small scale two year evaluation of the programme (2007-09), to identify effective practice (at school and local authority level) that could usefully be adopted by a wider range of schools and local authorities. We found that in some schools (both multiethnic and predominantly White) the strategy of targeting underachieving Black children was not well explained to schools and teachers, many of whom seemed to believe that ensuring equality can be achieved by treating everyone identically. There was a lack of awareness and understanding in the case study schools that different strategies might need to be applied to meet the needs of different groups of children. While case study schools identified the flexibility they were given in implementing the BCA Programme as a major strength, this flexibility meant that it was sometimes hard to see which children were being consistently supported over the evaluation period.
This book reports the findings of a study we made of Social Class and Widening Participation in Higher Education between 1998 and 2000. Louise Archer was the lead researcher, Bob Gilchrist and I were the project leaders. We were concerned at the way that the expansion of higher education in the UK from the late 1960s had largely benefited young people from middle-class families (the majority of whom attended universities by the late 1990s), with a far smaller proportion of young people from working class families. A large-scale national questionnaire, and a series of focus groups, examined the possible causes of this, and what might be done to address these inequalities.
There’s an on-line copy at https://epdf.pub/higher-education-and-social-class-issues-of-inclusion-and-exclusion.html
This traces the development of UK universities from 1900 to the Robbins’ Report of 1963, specifically in terms of the class and gender characteristics of the students who were recruited. The limited growth in University provision over the period, with local and variable support for student maintenance, allowed only families with some wealth to send their sons (and occasionally daughters) into higher education, but the expansion of secondary education after 1944 led to many grammar school pupils (very largely from middle class families) to have the entry qualifications for university by the late 1950s, and the post-war population bulge would peak in the mid 1960s. The Robbins committee proposed large scale expansion of Universities to meet the demand of those qualities, supplemented by proposals for standard scholarships and maintenance grants for living costs.
Robbins “laid out a challenge for expansion, to schools and universities … to redress the inequalities and imbalances in the higher education population, in terms of gender and social class. In the context of the great expansion that Robbins foresaw and planned for, these were tasks that may at the time seemed within reach.” (p 43)
This chapter analyses the impact of the post-Robbins expansion of higher education, both Universities and (from 1970) of the Polytechnics. The very rapid expansion in provision in the 1980s, largely Polytechnic-driven, enabled middle class young people to participate in higher education to the point that it because the norm. Women benefitted from this expansion (parity in admission was achieved in 1992) , but far less did working class young people, and even less those from minority ethnic groups. A major review (the Dearing Report, 1997) examined this expansion, and introduced much larger tuition fees, to be paid for by advancing loans to student to be repaid from future earnings. Dearing also recommended expansion of those entering higher education, to around 50% of the age-group, with particular measures to prioritise funding to widen participation.
By 1995 “higher education had now become the normal rite of passage of a social class I young person, and was still only the exceptional route for just an eight of those in social class V” (p 70)
“Throughout all this expansion [1963-97] there has been a persistent, consistent and continuing tendency to recruit students from the middle classes … Over the same period, it has become acknowledged that possession of higher education qualifications confers power and privileges. Graduates are differentially incorporated into civil society, and benefit materially and in status.” (p 73)
This chapter uses data from a national survey (England and Wales) of young people about attitudes to considering higher education, to explore the social characteristics of non-participants, and why some groups were less inclined to seek higher education. We focussed on 16 to 30 year olds in social classes C, D and E who has not (yet) participated in higher education, and whether they planned to go to university, might go, or had decided that they were not going. There was a correlation with social class (D and E less likely than C), and with ethnic minorities showing a greater propensity to participation. Key factors in favour of participating are enjoyment of studying, belief in one’s own ability, and the desire to better themselves. Odds ratios are calculated for the propensity to apply to university and various factors.
The analysis shows “the enduring importance of educational qualifications, parental encouragement, belief in one’s ability to completer a degree, and preparedness to postpone earning for entry to study” (p 92).
This concluding chapter draws together evidence for five groups of explanation for the of non-participation of working class young people in higher education – lack of information about higher education opportunities; feeling that higher education was of insufficient financial value; lacking the normal entry qualifications; seeing the financial commitment to study as too great, and the perception of higher education as a threat to class identity. We argue for decentred higher education learning within working class communities on their own terms: a radical power shift in the provision and control of such education., There is also a need to making widening participation projects mainstream, fully integrated into HE settings.
“The middle and upper classes will continue to dominate and defend elite routes within higher education in order to ensure the reproduction of class privileges.”
“Issues around widening participation in HE are complex and … intermeshed with identities and inequalities of gender, ethnicity and social class.” (p 201)
This report examines why some mature people (over 21) participate in higher education and others do not, comparing those who enter HE with those who do not. It makes various estimates of the potential for expanding participation in HE by mature people by examining trends in participation and attainment and the propensity of different groups to enter HE. The report primarily draws upon analyses of HESA and UCAS data (in relation to mature students) and Labour Force Survey (LFS) data in relation to mature non-participants. Additional smaller data sets are also drawn upon: the UNL MORI Survey of Attitudes to HE, the DFES MORI Survey of Potential Mature Student Recruitment to HE (headline results only); the Youth Cohort Study, and data from the Office of National Statistics on population trends. Analyses are supplemented by a review of literature relating to mature students.
“attention should not only be focussed on non-participants … who have Level 3 qualifications. … mature people with other/lower qualifications are also successfully participating in Higher Education. Indeed, regard should continue to be paid to those with no formal qualifications who, by virtue or their skills demonstrated in the workplace have the potential to benefit from higher education.”
“Mature women may face particular personal, domestic and child care problems in participating. Extra targeted resources are needed.”
“Being a mature student highlights worries about identity. Changing identity pressures bear particularly on women students, characterised by sense of loss and separation and/or high social risk.” (p 9)
In the 2000s I was involved in a number of reports that addressed inequalities in the educational system in the UK. This section contains a number of these.
In 1999-2000, Ian Menter, Merryn Hutchings and I carried out a study of the issues around teacher recruitment in London, which then constituted a major crisis (see the section on the Teaching Workforce, below). We collected a great deal of data about teachers’ careers, and their backgrounds, and a detailed analysis showed how relatively few people from ethnic minority backgrounds were being recruited for teacher education courses. This was subsequently extended to a larger study across parts of England (2000-2001). There was evidence that those minority ethnic teachers who dis work in schools found their promotion prospects were considerably less than their white counterparts. This paper examines the evidence for this, and the arguments for why the issue should be addressed. Using the definition of institutional racism put forward by the Macpherson Report (UK, 1999), we concluded that the processes were, consciously or not, operating in a racist manner.
“taken as a whole, the appointment process in a proportion of these schools works in such a way that Black and Asian teachers are significantly less likely to assume positions of authority than White teachers. This outcome arises despite the fact that all the LEAs concerned have Equal Opportunity policies that require their schools to manage appointments in a non-discriminatory manner. Although there may be no conscious policy on the part of governing bodies to operate in a discriminatory way, the outcome that can be observed by aggregating all their individual acts of appointment must suggest that we are observing institutional racism in the career development process.” (p 9)
This was a more detailed report made to the LEAs who supported the research on teacher supply and retention. While 12% of the school population was from ethnic minorities, less that 5% of teachers came from such backgrounds. This analysis examines the demographics, training, experience and career histories of teachers by ethnicity, based on a representative sample of 870 respondents in 22 LEAS that had . This report led to changes in policies, at national (England) level in collecting data on teacher ethnicity and encouraging programmes to recruit more teachers from minority groups, and at local (LEA level) to recruit, retain and support minority teachers,, and in teacher education institutions to change their recruitment policies.
“Despite the provision of equal opportunities policies and laws, it seems that the customs and practices of the educational system - whether it is at school, LEA or national level - are having racist consequences. Members of the ethnic minority communities are reluctant to enter teaching (though they will pursue other Higher Education courses). They are more reluctant than White students. Those that do enter the profession say that they are more likely to wish to leave the profession before retirement than are White teachers. There is evidence that fewer ethnic minority teachers, with the same length of experience, apply for and/or are appointed to positions of leadership in schools. Proportionally, more ethnic minority teachers left the profession for other work last year than did White teachers. Whatever the intentions of all the individuals involved - teachers, school governing bodies, LEA officials, civil servants or elected politicians - this situation can only be described as institutional racism.” (p 23)
Following the previous reports, we were commissioned by the Mayor of London to prepare a specific report on Black teachers in London Schools. This used data from the General Teaching Council for England, who made a detailed census of teachers earlier in 2003 (on which we acted as advisors). The Greater London Assembly and the Mayor were responsible for certain areas of local government in London, but not for Education, which was devolved to the Local Education Authorities: the GLA were particularly concerned at racism against the Black population of London at the time, and we were asked to focus on Black Caribbean, Black African and mixed Black and White teachers: we contrasted their experience with that of Asian, White and Other teachers, in qualitative and quantitative terms.
“There are insufficient Black teachers in London’s schools. We need more Black teachers and from other minorities, ethnic and otherwise) to achieve a teaching force that is representative of the community. The Black teachers that we do have are less likely to be in positions of authority within schools that their numbers would warrant. … Although many more Black students are entering teacher training in London’s Higher Education training institutions, the proportion entering is still less than the current population of young people would suggest is necessary. In twenty years' time there will still be proportionally too few Black teachers from whom to recruit the generation of school leaders for the 2020s. … Black teachers who do enter the profession do so particularly from a desire to give back to the community. They are particularly keen to develop their professional capacities, through both in school and out of school activities, and see such opportunities as currently being less available to them than their White colleagues. Apart from these factors, Black teachers clearly think and behave professionally in very similar ways to teachers from other ethnicities. There does not appear to be a great sense of professional distinctiveness. There is no sense that Black teachers are needed only to meet the needs of Black pupils or the Black community. Black teachers appear to see their responsibilities to be those of all teachers, serving the whole community."(p 31)
This was a more substantial report, three years later: we recommended “cultural awareness training should be mandatory for students and qualified teachers in London in order that teachers are equipped to teach a diverse pupil population”, and “London-wide guidance pertaining to the recruitment, development, progression and retention of black teachers”.
“When addressing the question of what it means to be a black teacher, what seemed to come through several narratives is this sense of ‘social responsibility’ felt by black teachers for black children. That is ‘never giving up on a black child, no matter how bad’ they are. While some teachers may relish this responsibility, it can lead to some black teachers feeling ‘guilty’ and remaining in the same school (eg 16-18 years) because the ‘need’ (ie black children) is there, rather than developing their career elsewhere.” (p 69)
“where some black teachers are promoted to senior management, they face racist assumptions that they are not as capable or as competent as their peers. There is a strong perception among black teachers that being a black teacher means having to work twice as hard, be twice as good and undergo greater surveillance than other teachers.” (p 70)
The IPPR, a major UK Think Tank, organised a conference on the perceived crisis in teacher preparation for the future of the UK. This chapter is based on a paper presented at the conference, that brings together much of research that we had undertaken on ethic minority teachers. This sets out the arguments for why the teaching profession should broadly represent the population it serves, and in this paper, particularly from an ethic perspective. The argument employed here was not that ‘Back pupils’ had to be taught by ‘Black teachers’, but that all pupils needed to be taught by a diverse workforce, so that all pupils could see Black and other minority-origin people in professional positions of authority and prestige.
“we need aspirational roles for our pupils… ethnic minorities are generally poorly represented in positions of power, authority and prestige in our society … Teachers are a particular and special category: they are the one face of civil society that every child will meet, every working day, through the whole of their formal education. It is therefore particularly critical that this ‘face’ of civil power be seen, visibly and explicitly, to represent all of society. This is where such inclusiveness is essential. The presence of teachers drawn from all the ethnic groups in our society (and equally, from all the ranges of disability, from all the sexualities, from all social classes) will mean that all pupils – white majority as much as ethnic minority – will recognise that members of the minorities have as much power and prestige as any other citizen.” (p 103)
This chapter was written for a primarily European audience, and uses both the UK research described in the previous papers and my experience running a teacher education programme in London in the late 1980s that had been successful in recruiting students from very diverse backgrounds. It describes and justifies the UK position on collecting data on ethnicity in various contexts, in that it allows the identification of inequities (impossible where all data is ‘colour blind’), allows the targeting of support to address these inequities; and makes it possible to measure the degree of success of such interventions.
It is “just as important that schools in monoethnic white parts of Europe have a representation of ethnic minority teachers as do schools in Europe’s cosmopolitan multi-ethnic inner cities. Indeed, it could be argued that, for the future health of our society, the need is greater in such areas." (p 35)
“Europe as a whole probably needs to be attracting ethnic minorities to fill [many more] places for teacher training, over a sustained period of a decade or two, to effectively address this situation. This would allow both the areas where there are ethnic minority teachers to have a teacher workforce that attempts to represent their local community, and areas were there a few ethnic minority teachers to have a teaching force that represents the national community.” (p 35)
These papers and chapters represent some of the research that colleagues and I undertook to examine how schools approached issues of competitiveness, enterprise, collaboration and cooperation. Most of these were cross-country studies, carried out between 2000 and 2010.
An article written early in this study of the tensions and overlaps between drives to promote enterprise and competitiveness at the same time as promoting civic values and cohesion. This article explores the proposed approaches to be adopted, and a discussion of these issues.
“given the complexities and ambiguities that are evident in the governments’ policies for both citizenship and enterprise, it is not immediately clear that educational reforms designed to promote these areas will lead to effective implementation. The role of all teachers is critical, but we know surprisingly little about their own beliefs and attitudes in these areas.” (p 266)
“It is hoped that this research project will shed some light on how teachers perceive enterprise and citizenship, and whether (and if so, how) they will encourage young people to learn about the ley issues in these areas. It remains to be seen whether teachers will relish what the perceive to be an integrated challenge, of it they will find it difficult to reconcile concepts that are seen to be contradictory.” (p 268)
This paper explores perceptions of these two terms in Hungary and England: while English teachers understand citizenship to be about community and being socially active, those in Hungary were less positive about state and civil society, and more patriotic. In both countries, it was teachers in provincial towns, rather than the capitals, who stressed the need to follow rules, and there was also more enthusiasm for citizenship in primary schools in both countries. In both countries, there was a wariness about forms of enterprise education that were directly related to the economy, especially so in Hungary.
“The general agreement that citizenship is concerned broadly with being human, and exercising responsibilities locally may disappoint those who felt that there would be a promotion of the need to change political cultures. The determination to see citizenship education, after initially dismissing narrow economics-based characterizations, as a form of social enterprise is a most interesting responses … We note the very positive advocacy of the use of dilemmas in teaching. Perhaps there is scope to develop this coherence by exploring further the notions of citizenship and enterprise critically, including consideration of matters that are explicitly economic, as well as social.” (pp 380 – 381)
The discourses of primary and secondary teachers in these three cities are compared in relation to the terms cooperation and citizenship, which is linked to the dominant educational policy discourses in the three counties. In London, teacher’s discussion of competition was referenced to supporting the achievement of standards, and cooperation was under-conceptualised. In Hungary, teachers’ discourse reflected the way competition is deeply embedded in the culture, and seen as ‘natural’: it is a regular part of teachers’ repertoire, and cooperation is rarely mentioned. In Slovenia there is a strong and insistent discourse of egalitarianism and inclusivity: cooperative behaviour is very explicitly encouraged, and competition discouraged.
“These differences in policies and cultural practices are reflected in the professional discourses and practices of the teachers themselves. These policies are sufficiently effective and pervasive that they will have a significant impact on classroom practice. Teachers in these counties appear to behave in very different ways, and have different values regarding cooperation and competition. … These practices would appear to have some significance for citizenship education: the rights and responsibilities the citizen owes to others are necessarily influenced by the degree to which one competes with, and cooperates with, ones fellow citizens.” (p 13)
This study tried to examine the meanings of the terms citizenship and cooperation, enterprise and competition had for teachers in these three countries, teachers being highly involved in the transmission of cultural capital to the next generation. We used the method of Associative Group Analysis, devised by Szalay (1967), where respondent quickly list the associations they make with a word they are given, such as ‘competition’. These are then collated, scored by rank, and sorted into comparable terms. We did this with 100 teachers in each country, categorising words by type of meaning, rather than precise definition, trying to accommodate not simple translation, but also nuances of meaning and culture. We suggest that there were rather different notions of the meaning of citizenship in the three countries, and some greater congruence over the meaning of enterprise – but wit scepticism about the place of this in the school curriculum.
“local and contingent demands for the development of citizenship in each country – and perhaps some deeper cultural differences – have resulted in different conceptions of what the term means” (p 146)
“The European Union and its enlargement are based on both establishing a common civic tradition and a shred regulated market economy. The evidence collected here is that the main agents of cultural transmission, the teachers, are not of a common mind concerning civic education and the meaning of citizenship, though not antagonistic to the concept. On the other hand, they do have a shared meaning of enterprise in a market economy, but in this case there is some scepticism about its place and value in the school curriculum.” ( p 146)
This book was written by the project team studying the way that teachers in the three countries construct these concepts in their professional practice and discourse. This is related to how teachers and schools contribute to pupils’ understanding, and to the different educational policies and behaviours found in the three countries. Various chapters examine these national cultures, the literature on competition and cooperation, and cross-cultural perspectives. The overall methodology is described, with particular analyses of classroom observations, teachers’ discourses, pupil discussions and teachers constructions of competition and cooperation, and of citizenship and enterprise. The whole book is available here to be downloaded. (or at https://www.academia.edu/20201443/Teachers_and_Pupils_Constructions_of_Competition_and_Cooperation_A_three-country_study_of_Slovenia_Hungary_and_England)
“Academic discourse and research results to not appear to easily permeate everyday educational practice, nor do they predominantly influence the way teachers construct their professional practice. … Research results can only be accommodated if they consider the cultural context within which the educational systems are embedded”. (p 240)
This book brings together the processes, findings and discussions of a four-country study (England, Poland, Spain and Turkey) of how young people (11, 14 and 17 years old) played the Ultimatum Game, in which one person decides how to split a small sum of money, and the other decides whether to accept the offer (both then get the share proposed by the first) or to reject it (both players get nothing). This was played between people from the same country, and with people from a different country. The results were analysed not simply on the initial decisions made (the normal basis for analysing this activity), but also on comments collected as to why each decision was made, and their feelings about the outcome. This revealed a range of often complex reasons, that illuminate our understanding of how young people understand ‘fairness’.
“Children and youth have an intense interest in being fair … there are persistent and logical ways in which they seek to understand fairness and equality. On the whole, [they] are sensitive to others and willing to cooperate and share. Such positive social behaviour should be nurtured constructively, not on the weight of ‘blame’ or ‘what is right’, but through mutual critical interrogation of social ‘ways of being’ in the world.” (pp 137-138)
We undertook a lot of research on the recruitment and supply of teachers in the late 1990s and early 2000s, because there was a particular problem in attracting and recruiting teachers, particularly in London at that time - after the years of neglect the profession had had in the Thatcher years. As a result of this work, we were asked to write a report on Teacher Recruitment and Retention in the United Kingdom for the OECD series on this in 2003.
This work developed later in the deacde to studies of ethnic diversity - or the lack of it - in the teacher workforce in the UK - examples of this are above.
This chapter is based on our initial report in London, where we identified major regional patterns in teacher recruitment and retention – which had previously been treated by planners as a national supply-and-demand model. The crisis was the consequence of having short-term teachers, early in their career, often recruited from abroad, coupled with a longer term London-career teacher, who had often been recruited twenty years earlier. As the second group aged and retired, there was a growing need for more and more recruits from the first group. We identified a wide range of reasons why this situation had arisen, and identified the characteristic of London teachers who were likely to remain in London for most of their careers – certainly London-trained, and also very likely London born or schooled. Local Authorities in London rapidly adjusted their policies in the light of this; the national Teaching Training Agency moved more slowly, but eventually followed nearly all our recommendations.
The existing model in 2000 “relies on both the regular recruitment of a large number of young teachers (whom we know will soon need to be replaced) and the recruitment and training of a more long-term force, mostly of Londoners. This balance seems to have got out of kilter at some point, probably in the early 1980s, though it would not have been apparent till at least ten years later. There were too few long-term teachers joining London’s teaching force." (p 203)
Our study of London teachers collected large amounts of demographic data about 3,000 London teachers, including much about their career histories. We selected three cohorts – thise starting teaching between 1971 and 4 (ie with 24 to 28 years’ service), those who started their teaching career between 1978 and 1984 (14 to 20 years’ service)., and those with 6 to 10 years’ service. We could then examine their demographic characteristics, gender, ethnicity, phase of teaching, birthplaces and earlier education, training, ; and compare these with their expressed intention to remain teaching in London in 2000. Career breaks, growth of their families, career progression, were all analysed to give a detailed examination of how patterns of service were changing.
“there are interesting patterns of childlessness in this data, particularly with respect to male primary teachers and the older cohort of female secondary teachers. The data also reveals the discontinuity between primary and secondary [school] teaching careers. Promotion patterns and possibilities are very different, and this impacts on the demographic and family profiles of teachers in the two sectors. The chapter has also shown the changing patterns of teachers’ lives across different generations of the profession. Younger teachers are different to older teachers in ways other than simply their age. In particular, the profession is becoming sharply femininised …” )pp 171-2)
The English government Department of Education and Skills only has responsibility for the English system: Scotland has always had an independent Education department, as has Northern Ireland. Wales had a devolved department from 1998. The OECD asked member states to draw up accounts of national trends in recruiting and retaining teachers, and the DFES were asked to do this as lead agency for the UK: we were commissioned to draw up the report. To our surprise, the DFES thought that we only needed to report on the English situation, and the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish contexts could be served with footnotes of explanation when they differed from this. We rapidly disabused them of the possibility of doing this. We were further surprised by the lack of historical memory in the Department: internal committees and working parties on teachers, operating less than a couple of decades earlier, had seemingly been erased from institutional memory. So this was a considerably larger research project than either we or the Department had envisaged. It provides a detailed explanation of the nature of UK schools and teaching at the time, that has not been replicated since.
“The school systems are diverse in their organisation and administration. There are different kinds of schools, and the diverse and changing school populations, both in terms of their size and their composition. Patterns of teacher employment reflect this, and vary between countries. The nature and pace of recent educational reforms in all four countries have led to changes in the nature and conditions of teachers’ work.” (p vii)
“There are, then a wide range of policies in place across the UK to address concerns about attracting, developing and retaining high quality teachers. However, there are some issues of teacher retention that may prove more intractable. The age structure of the profession, with a predominantly ageing workforce, is difficult to solve, because there is what amounts to a ‘missing generation’ of teachers in their thirties and early forties who will not be recruited. Retention of those who are in this cohort will be important, because they should form the principal pool from which future professional leadership and management would be drawn. This problem appears to be even more acute in Scotland than it is in England. The gender imbalances in the profession have been described, together with the strategies in place to address them. However, the high proportion of men in the older age groups suggests that women will form the majority of the workforce in the future. Retention of male teachers is thus particularly significant. It is also important to make teaching an attractive long-term career, with equal opportunities for promotion, for those from minority ethnic groups.” (p 88)
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