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 download this form and email to Ann Evans, School University Relationship Officer, University of Birmingham School. and we will review your application.
Once the University of Birmingham School has approved the research, the next stage in the process is to complete the full application form, available from Ann Evans, which will be sent for approval by the University of Birmingham School Advisory Group chaired by Professor Julie Allan from the School of Education.
Recent Research Projects
Exploring Newness – Students at UoBSchool, Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill, Professor Peter Kraftl, University of Birmingham
The research is student-led and has been supported by two colleagues from the School of Education at the University of Birmingham who specialise in Children’s Geography, Sophie Hadfield-Hill and Peter Kraftl.
They have focused on four broad themes:
· Young people’s experiences of settling in within the first months of arriving in a new school and importantly a new building
· Young people’s everyday experiences of transition (from a diversity of primary and secondary schools)
· Spaces of settling-in and transition – exploring the relationship between settling-in and the building.
· Journeys to school and what impacts that has on the school day Ruth Till presented this research at the Researching with and for Children Conference at the University of Edinburgh (8-9 May 2017). For more information about the research please contact Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill.
ICCAMS Mathematics – Mr R Jhalli, Mr D Clark, UoBSchool
On 1 March 2018, Ravi Jhalli and Dave Clark from UoBS Maths Department attended the final training day for the Increasing Confidence and Competence in Algebra and Multiplicative Structures (ICCAMS) project. As Project Leaders, they are currently delivering the sixteenth and seventeenth pairs of ICCAMS lessons to their three Year 8 Sets. That then leaves another five pairs to be taught before the nationwide assessments run by the University of Manchester at the end of this year (the UoBS assessment is booked for June).
Schools of Virtue – Emily Burn, University of Birmingham
The Schools of Virtue project was launched on 19th October 2017 at the University of Birmingham School by Gary Lewis, Chair of the Association for Character Education. The project focussed on three schools in Birmingham that place the development of their pupils’ character at the heart of their educational vision. This report demonstrates how a neo-Aristotelian conception of character education can be brought to life in different types of schools with the aim of providing evidence for policymakers, and inspiration for educators and other interested parties, who are progressing their own approaches to developing pupils’ character in the interest of human flourishing.
Summary of key findings
- Staff outwardly ‘bought into’ and supported the school’s vision for character education and this consistency between vision and action reinforced pupils’ engagement in character education. Staff recognised that they are character ‘educators’ and ‘role models’.
- The vision of character education was implemented in each school through intentional and careful planning. The teaching of character education was intended to develop pupil’s virtue literacy and was embedded within the curriculum and within discrete lessons.
- Pupils in all three schools prioritised moral over performance virtues and pupils in the secondary schools scored higher on moral functioning tests than the national average.
Summary of Recommendations
- Character education should seek to develop the intellectual virtue of critical thinking, and this can be facilitated through embedding pupil reflection within character education.
Schools should consider the self-evaluation of their character education provision, with reference to the Jubilee Centre’s Character Education: Evaluation Handbook for Schools.
- The contribution that character education makes to school outcomes, such as increased employability, increased positive behaviour, and improved attainment, should be investigated further.
* The findings of the study have been used to revise the Jubilee Centre’s A Framework for Character Education in Schools
Our School: Our Space – Inclusion and Special Educational Needs – Professor Julie Allan, University of Birmingham
Researchers (Julie Allan and Clara Joergensen) from the University of Birmingham are undertaking a project ‘Our School: Our Space’ which aims to learn about the school as it grows and aspires to be an inclusive school. Interviews have been carried out with parents, teachers, governors, staff and students at the school and the team is currently conducting some observations of social spaces and classrooms. Findings from the project will be analysed and presented at workshops and conferences over the spring and summer of 2018. For more information please contact Professor Julie Allan.
Motivation, physical activity and health – Professor Joan Duda, University of Birmingham
Between March and July 2016, 18 pupils participated in a study to examine how environment created in Physical Education and Youth Sport (eg by the PE teacher and coaches), may influence the reasons why young people chose to take part in PE, sport and physical activity, and how this might impact on levels of physical activity engagement.
One paper based on this particular data collection is still in the review process. For more information please contact Professor Joan Duda, University of Birmingham.
Making wiser choices online – Professor Lee Rogerson, University of Birmingham, Adam Hamflett, UoB School
The Jubilee Centre is running some research with a number of schools, including The University of Birmingham School, relating to moral choices online.
The project has involved students from certain classes receiving a short four session programme of study exploring moral dilemmas, virtue reasoning and virtue literacy associated with using the internet and online activity. For more information please contact Lee Rogerson, University of Birmingham.
How does collaborative artist teacher practice impact communities of learning in school? – Carol Wild, Birmingham City University and Jessica Quinn UoB School
The pilot study was conducted in 2017 and was firstly to test the possibility and validity of delivering Artist Teacher CPD in a school setting rather than in an external context such as a University or Gallery and secondly to test the effectiveness of an arts led methodology in collecting and recording data. The pilot was very successful in addressing both aims. The key points from the pilot study are:
- Building the research around a distinct task in the form of a workshop was effective and enabled those involved to have a clear idea of timescale. This will be developed for the main research study to include 4 tasks (one per half term).
- The involvement of an artist in running the workshop was positive and the four proposed tasks will also be developed around the work of an artist who can share their practice with the teachers involved.
- Carol took part in the pilot study workshop as a practitioner and this also worked well. In discussion with Jess Quinn they have agreed that this will be an effective way of completing the four tasks in your school – with Carol completing the tasks and Jess supporting, she will effectively play the role of Artist in Residence and will aim to be represent in the Art Department one day a week (in agreement with Jess) for the duration of the study.
- For more information about this study please contact Carol Wild.
Investigation into Teachers’ Understanding of Challenges facing Year 12 students regarding Fractions and Indices – Dr Ian Davison, University of Birmingham, Iain Taylor, UoB School
‘Silly mistakes’ are common at all levels of attainment in mathematics; so it is important to learn more about these mistakes, which often aren’t silly at all. This collaborative research involves teachers distilling their thoughts and observations regarding the challenges facing students. The Y12 mathematics teachers collated common errors in Autumn 2017; the next phase is to explore the Y12 students’ understanding of these issues, before asking the teachers to reflect upon the students’ perspectives.
For more information about the research please contact Ian Davison.
Parent-Teacher Partnerships – Jubillee Centre 2018
The Parent-Teacher Partnerships and Character Education project will examine parent-teacher partnerships in the context of character education. At the centre of this research is the idea: If parents/guardians and teachers forge successful partnerships on character education, it will increase the likelihood of children and young people developing positive virtues constitutive of individual and societal flourishing. The project will build on and strengthen work the Jubilee Centre has undertaken over the last five years; extending the reach of the centre’s research into a new and increasingly important area.
For more information please contact Dr Katy Dineen