ESCalate Bulletin No. 17 (1 October 2003)


  1. Tackling Educational Complexity across the UK
  2. VLE conference 3rd February 2004
  3. Induction: NATE conference
  4. External Examiners
  5. Small Grant Holders' Conference
  6. New Resources
  7. Book Reviews
  8. Goodbye and thank you..

Tackling Educational Complexity across the UK

Regents College Conference Centre, 13 November 2003

This will be the second of a series of four conferences to be held across the nations of the United Kingdom looking at educational policy framework following devolution.

The purpose of the seminars is to give those who teach or who organise the teaching of educational policy to gain a wider appreciation of the differences that exist across the four home nations. A further purpose is to identify how ESCalate can help university and other HEI education departments to deal with policy difference.

The London event will bring together colleagues working on Educational Policy across England. Speakers include Professor John Fitz from Cardiff University; Penny McKeown, from Queen's University Belfast; Professor Ian Menter form the University of Paisley; and Professor Geoff Whitty, Director of the Institute of Education, University of London.

Further information regarding this event can be found at the web link below or contact

Forthcoming Events

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VLE conference 3rd February 2004

Dearing Building, Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham
Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are an increasingly significant element in course delivery within the Higher Education sector across the UK. A VLE such as that provided by Blackboard or WebCT might provide a framework for delivering a distance learning module or course in its entirety, but equally many institutions are now developing a blended learning approach to course delivery with an increasing emphasis on the provision of resources information and online or offline communication as part of a module or course which is primarily face to face and campus based. Although there have been a number of interesting innovations in course delivery, a number of which have been thoroughly researched, there is also a strong feeling in the sector that the use of VLEs in Education departments is sometimes ad hoc, under-theorised and poorly connected to effective models of teaching and learning. ESCalate is therefore convening a conference on VLEs in Education, with the aim of sharing models of good practice and enabling those who are developing their practice to meet with other providers in the field. This one day conference will therefore offer a mixture of presentations, demonstrations and small group workshops in order to enable participants to leave with a richer sense of how VLES might be used more effectively.
Application form at:

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Induction: NATE conference

Last month we published a short article from the TTA. If you would like to know more about new approaches to the induction of new lecturers in teacher education, then the seminar offered by NATE looks interesting, but note that it is for colleagues working in the area of English teaching. Viv Ellis from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford writes:
"The TTA has agreed to fund an element of subject induction for new entrants to initial teacher education in English as lecturers or teaching fellows. This is part of an ongoing, TTA funded project looking at the induction of new teacher educators. The induction will take place around the NATE annual conference in Swanwick, Derbyshire 16-18 January 2004 and will cover issues such as working with students and mentors, the QTS Standards, and developing research activities. A full programme will be provided to applicants.

Are you new to teacher education yourself? Do you work with colleagues who have recently joined your department? For the purposes of this project, 'new' means having joined a department or scheme since April 2003.

If so, and you or your colleagues would like to take advantage of this offer, please contact Lyn Fairfax at NATE Office, 50 Broadfield Road, Sheffield, S8 OXJ, tel: 0114 255 5419, email: by 12 December 2003. Please provide the following information:

· your name or that of your new colleague;
· job title and responsibilities
· institutional address or affiliation
· the date you were appointed

NATE will provide conference registration and accommodation free-of-charge as part of this scheme in addition to the induction sessions. Places are very limited, however, and early application is recommended.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like further information.
Yours faithfully
Viv Ellis ( )
NATE ( )

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External Examiners

Sheffield Hallam University require a new external examiner for their BA (Hons) Education Studies. Paul Garland writes: "We urgently need an external examiner to work with us on this well-established course, which encourages students to think about educational processes and issues across all sectors of the education system. Please contact me, the course leader, at to discuss. Many thanks, Paul" Full contact details for Paul are: Dr Paul Garland, School of Education, Sheffield Hallam University,
Collegiate Crescent, SHEFFIELD S10 2BP, 0114 2252360
On the same topic, the LTSN is consulting about External Examiners within the new Academy of HE. The main issues seem to be:
· Induction (what are departments and institutions doing about this?
· Have you received induction or been part of delivering it? What was your impression of the processes?
· How do you view the proposal to make external examiners' reports public documents? (e.g. what effect is this likely to have on staff, students, examiners or potential examiners, the processes themselves and the frankness with which peer external examination can be conducted, etc)
· The extent to which programme specifications, benchmarking statements etc are used?
· What is the role of the external examiners in ITE where there is also a regular system of external inspection?
We would welcome your views about the issues raised in the white paper on external examining. Please send your comments to Your views will be collated and published (anonymously) in a future edition of the Newsletter.

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Small Grant Holders' Conference

Currently, there are 31 ESCalate funded projects, in varying stages of completion. Some are just beginning, some are at the writing up stage, and 17 are completed.

The Small Grant scheme is a key activity in encouraging the exchange and dissemination of good practices within the Education and Continuing Education communities. As well as helping to promote the dissemination and development of effective learning and teaching, the grants are intended to raise awareness of the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of teaching and learning methods, and to provide funds to enable networking between institutions.

All past and present Small Grant holders were invited to The Women's Library, London, to share experiences and contribute to on-going dissemination and evaluation.

The Day:
The day provided a great opportunity for Frances, our Projects Officer, to meet and talk to many of the people with whom she has been corresponding, in a 'virtual' fashion, over the last nine months. Similarly it was a golden opportunity for some of the project teams from collaborating institutions themselves to get together when they might ordinarily have had difficulty scheduling project meetings.

It was an excellent day, which generated very good feedback from delegates who attended.

- After a warm welcome and introduction from Arlene Gilpin, ESCalate Manager, the morning session opened with a hearty discussion around Peter John's propositional, personal, practical and proprietal model to explain the nature of professional knowledge. Many thanks to Peter for a spirited start to the day

- This was followed by smaller group discussion focussing on small grant projects themselves, asking are they worth the money? Feedback following these small discussion highlighted the positive perception from all about the value of small grants and the independence they give in terms of freeing people to pursue innovative ideas. They also give a contact for the cross-fertilisation of ideas, particularly across institutions, but also across and within departments themselves.

- A well deserved lunch was spent mingling and chatting about the possibilities of further project development, of further funding and looking around the impressive venue of the Women's Library and its current exhibition - 'Art for Votes' Sake: Visual Culture and the Women's Suffrage Campaign'.

- The afternoon began with a group discussion led by Anita Pincas, from The Institute of Education, University of London, which brainstormed ideas for the evaluation of the Small Grant funded projects. After some interesting debate the criteria for evaluating the grants fell into 4 relevant categories relating to: Individuals, Home Institution/Departments, Other Institutions/Community and Students. These categories will be taken forward and explored further within the context of an Evaluation Study being run by Anita Pincas and Arlene Gilpin, which will investigate the effectiveness of the LTSN-ESCalate Small Grant scheme.

This session got people thinking about evaluation and what a Small Grant project can bring to a project group's professional, departmental and institutional development.

- This was followed by an afternoon plenary by Professor David Gosling, Co-Director of the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund National Co-ordination Team at the Open University. David's talk on FDTL5 proved invaluable and generated much interest. Discussion about aspects of eligibility and the bidding process created enthusiasm about the potential for FDTL funding, and got the group thinking and talking about project possibilities.

Many thanks to all those involved in presenting and running what proved to be a very worthwhile and interesting conference.

If anyone wishes to discuss ESCalate's small grants scheme, do get in touch with Frances Hammond, ESCalate Projects Officer, on

Reminder: FDTL 5
Reminder: For further information regarding FDTL5 please contact Dr Brian Marshall at Oxford Brookes University, at You may also look at the HEFCE website at

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New Resources

Widening Participation Resource Base
During 2003-4 the Continuing Education team at the University of Nottingham used an LTSN grant to develop resources to support widening participation in HE. The teaching material has been developed from interviews with academic staff in a number of institutions in the UK and thus represents snapshots of current practice based on real situations. There are four exercises and/or case studies, all based in an imaginary university, the titles of which are listed below. You may download all the case study materials here and use them as you wish, although we have provided some guidance in the teachers' notes for each exercise. In addition, there is a widening participation database that is managed by the British Education Index. This provides easy access to a range of data, documentation and other materials about widening participation. Materials now available at

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Book Reviews

During 2003 -4 you have been active contributors to our book reviews section. We have published over 90 reviews during the year, and would like to thank the many colleagues who have participated in this useful activity. The reviews are located at on our website. Sue Battin is the member of the administrative team who holds this important section of work together for us all, and I would like to say a public thank you to her for all the care she takes. Please continue to send in for books that might be of interest to you, and keep the reviews coming. It would also be of interest to hear how colleagues use these reviews. For example:

-Do you read them regularly?
-Would it be helpful to have a listing that showed, e.g. 'new reviews in October' etc.?
-Has a review helped you to decide whether to read a book or buy one or recommend it for teaching?
-Does a good reviews page actually save you time in reviewing the huge range of literature that emerges annually?
-Would it be helpful to publish the latest list of what is available to review in this monthly Newsletter? (We used to do this, and then stopped doing it when the system seemed to be working well.
-Maybe we could publish the list every quarter or similar?) If you would like to send your comments on the usefulness of the reviews to we shall use them to improve the way we manage the book reviews section. We have a fairly long list of books still available; the most recent ones received are:

Bowl M., 2003 Non-Traditional Entrants To Higher Education: 'They talk about people like me' Stoke-on-Trent, Trentham Books
Brundrett M. & Terrell I., 2004 Learning To Lead In The Secondary School: Becoming An Effective Head Of Department London, Routledge Falmer
Bull J. & McKenna C., 2004 Blueprint For Computer-Assisted Assessment London, Routledge Falmer
Bush T., 2003 Third Edition, Theories of Educational Leadership And Management London, Sage Publications Ltd
Chappell C., Rhodes C., Solomon N., Tennant M. & Yates L., 2003 Reconstructing the Lifelong Learner: Pedagogy And Identity In Individual, Organisational And Social Change, London, Routledge Falmer,
Cutting J., 2002 Pragmatics And Discourse: A Resource Book For Students, London, Routledge
Gott R. & Duggan S., 2003 Understanding and Using Scientific Evidence: How to Critically Evaluate Data, London, Sage Publications
Jenkins J., 2000 World Englishes: A Resource Book For Students, London, Routledge
Laker A., 2003 The Future Of Physical Education: Building A New Pedagogy London, Routledge
Perraton H. & Lentell H., 2004 Policy For Open And Distance Learning: World view of distance education and open learning Volume 4, London , Routledge Falmer
Poulson L. & Wallace M., 2004 Learning To Read Critically In Teaching And Learning London, Sage Publications Ltd
Scott W. & Gough S., 2003 Sustainable Development And Learning: Framing The Issues, London, Routledge Falmer
Wellington J., 2003 Getting Published: A Guide For Lecturers And Researchers, London, Routledge Falmer

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Goodbye and thank you..

Finally, this is my last day of work for Escalate. I would like to say how much I have enjoyed working with you during the past four years, and thank all who have shared good fellowship with me. I would also like to acknowledge with grateful thanks the work of the administrative and support team at Bristol and Nottingham (Liz Hankinson, Sue Battin, Teresa Nurser and Helen Ireson, and also Julie Anderson our researcher and Frances Hammond, our Projects Officer) who are the people who make sure everything happens when it should. I know that my successor has an exciting and interesting job to follow me in.

Contacts until the new manager takes up the post.
Please send academic enquiries to the Director,
Queries about small grants to
Any comments or suggestions about the web should be sent to, and Helen will forward these to Professor Colin Harrison, web manager, if appropriate
Queries about book reviews to
Queries about FDTL5 to
Queries about Continuing Education to or Mike Osborne
All other enquiries should be sent to who will forward them to the appropriate person.

Arlene Gilpin
Manager, ESCalate

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