The School provides a significant focus both for the sharing of and generation of research.
We aim to increase teachers’ access to high-quality research through hosting conferences and meetings and inviting academics to lead our ‘Rush Hour Research’ event series. Subject leaders at the School have access to academic journals and are well-read and up to date. Many of our teachers already hold masters and doctoral qualifications when they join and many more then take up opportunities for further study.
Undertaking Research at the School
We receive a high level of interest in conducting research at the School and are engaged in a significant number of projects, both local and national. Research at the School takes a variety of forms, for example participation in large randomly controlled trials, co-creation of research between academic staff, pupils and teachers, and projects led by academic teams at the School of Education.
We welcome expressions of interest in research at or with the School and we would advise you discuss these at an early stage with the School. Generally, only projects which involve research with the pupils or staff as co-researchers will be accepted or the research is of benefit to the School but please email email@example.com, and we will review your submission.
Once University of Birmingham School has approved the research, the next stage in the process is to complete the full application form, sent to you on completion of the initial submission, which will be considered by the University of Birmingham School Advisory Group chaired by Professor Julie Allan from the School of Education.
Rush Hour Research from the School of Education, University of Birmingham
Upcoming Rush Hour Research from the School of Education, University of Birmingham in association with University of Birmingham School.
24 October 2023 – The teaching of religious attitudes to homosexuality in the Religious Studies classroom – an exploration of pupil reflections.
with Helena Moore – Subject Leader for Religious Studies at UoB School.
Previous Rush Hour Research Projects
20 June 2023 – Transforming Autism Education Practice in mainstream school settings using Appreciative Inquiry and Transactional Supports from the SCERTS model.
with Lilith Mackdonald – Assistant Head for Inclusion and SEND. A qualified SENCo with a Masters Degree with distinction in Understanding Autism with UoB.
Autistic learners are often viewed as hard to teach among mainstream staff and they are often at risk of becoming socially and academically excluded within mainstream settings. Increasing teacher knowledge and understanding of autism has been shown to impact positively on the experiences and inclusion of autistic learners at school. This work contributes to the debate on what can be done to enhance teacher understanding of autism. Using an Appreciative Inquiry approach, mainstream staff were guided to reflect on their current practice and they set goals to develop this, using the Transactional Supports advocated within the SCERTS model. This led to positive changes in their understanding and the strategies they used. Focusing on changing the actions of the staff rather than changing the children was an important focus for this work. As the founders of SCERTS and other practitioners maintain, this is easier, more respectful and likely to be more effective.
23 MAY 2023 – Assessing Oracy: Are We Listening to Teachers’ Voices?
with Dana Shakespeare. Led by Dr Helen Breadmore, School of Education, UCC.
This mixed methods study investigates how teachers’ perceived challenges, in terms of teaching and assessing oracy, had impacted on a school community where oracy education was most critical. By increasing the relevance of teachers’ perceptions of teaching and assessing oracy, as opposed to studying classroom interactions, this study has the potential to make a new contribution to a neglected area of educational research. The study aims to encourage conversations about what makes for good practice in this area of the curriculum; thus, providing opportunities for others involved in the teaching of oracy to develop their practice.
25 APRIL 2023 – Linking Motivation to Learning Skills & Academic Success in Secondary Biology Education.
with Annia Rhodes. Led by Professor Karl Kitching, School of Education, UoB.
Motivation provides the buoyancy learners need to engage and persist. The management of pupil motivation is important in all schools and all classrooms if pupils are to be helped to maximise their learning potential. Whilst many approaches to the linkage of motivation and learning have been undertaken, supporting pupil self-efficacy and self-regulation have been identified as major constructs in this linkage. This work offers insights into pupil feelings of self-efficacy and self-regulatory skills in relation to motivation and learning. Importantly it captures pupil voice and offers feedback for teachers so that they may reflect upon their own practice.
29 MARCH 2023 – Managed Moves: The Experiences of Children, Young People, & Caregivers.
with Michelle Longhurst. Led by Dr Kirsty Wilson, School of Education, UoB. Michelle is Inclusion Manager and Behaviour Lead – SEMH for Q3 Academy in Langley, Sandwell.
Managed moves are a strategy and intervention applied by schools within local authorities, as an alternative route to permanent exclusion. Exclusion from school can result in adverse long-term consequences. This research explores the experiences and perceptions held by Children and Young People (CYP) (some of whom in the United Kingdom would be classified as having Social, Emotional and Mental health challenges), undertaking managed moves, and their caregivers (parents/carers).
OCTOBER 2022 – The Good Doctor: Character, Virtue, & Phronesis in Medicine.
with Dr Sabena Y. Jameel FRCGP, PhD. Associate Clinical Professor in Medical Professionalism, Birmingham Medical School Quality Assurance Lead, Senior Clinical Tutor for the Personal Academic Tutor.
Surely a good doctor is wise, rather than just clever? Practical Wisdom (Phronesis) offers a conceptual framework for envisioning how cognition, reflection, and affect synergise. This should be the focus of medical education, and yet some of the predominant ethical and educational frameworks operate against this aspiration. Dr Jameel will outline her empirical PhD work which she will put in the context of her work as a medical practitioner and educator.
JUNE 2022 – Futureproof: How schools can help prepare pupils for digital futures.
with Dr Tom Harrison – Reader & Programme Director – MA Character Education. Director of Education – Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues.
Dr Karl Kitching will outline some of the race equality issues in schools in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The presentation is part of an ongoing project with Birmingham primary and secondary schools, examining their practice around supporting Black, Asian, and Minority ethnic students and taking an anti-racist stance. As such, the session will involve engaging participants in reflecting on and sharing their own practice.
Dr Karl Kitching is Reader in Education Policy and School of Education, Director of Research at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on education institutions’ responses to inequalities, and how children, young people, teachers, and communities navigate education inequalities. His recent publications include the book Childhood, Religion, and School Injustice.
JANUARY 2022 – Race Equality in Schools in the wake of COVID-19.
with Dr Karl Kitching – Reader in Education Policy & School of Education Director of Research at the University of Birmingham.
Dr Tom Harrison will talk about his new book ‘Futureproof: A comprehensive framework for teaching digital citizenship in schools.’ The book explores how schools and teachers can help pupils minimalise the risks and maximise the opportunities that come from living in the digital age. In the session, Tom will introduce a new comprehensive framework for digital citizenship education that has a particular focus on cultivating character and digital wisdom.
JULY 2021 – Cognitive Science in the Classroom.
with Dr Thomas Perry – Lecturer in Education (Research and Evidence-Informed Education) at the University of Birmingham.
Ideas from the cognitive sciences of cognitive psychology and neuroscience are increasingly prominent in professional and policy discourse about effective classroom pedagogy. New insights have the potential to displace, complement and add to complex and varied understandings of effective classroom practice.
This talk provides an overview of findings from a large, multi-strand, systematic review of cognitive science in the classroom funded by the EEF. At present, claims about the effectiveness of cognitive science informed strategies largely rest on evidence from the laboratory, rather than authentic classroom trials. So, in our review, we examined whether cognitive science techniques work in real classrooms, across the curriculum and for different pupil groups. The review offers an independent, original and authoritative account of the theory, evidence and practice of applied cognitive science and its implications for research, policy and practice.