ESCalate Bulletin No. 23 (4 October 2005)


  1. Introduction
  2. Ethical Decision-Making for Students or Recent Graduates
  3. External Examiner Database
  4. Student Award 2006
  5. ESCalate Evaluation
  6. Report on the ESCalate Initial Teacher Education Project, based at St Martin’s College
  7. Challenges and opportunities: Developing learning and teaching in ITE across the UK – A review for the St Martin’s event
  8. What a Difference a Pedagogy Makes: Researching Lifelong Learning and Teaching
  9. FACE Annual Conference July 2005
  10. BERA Conference September 2005
  11. Book reviews
  12. Education in the Media
  13. ESRC Launches New Website for Social Sciences
  14. Contributing to ESCalate


Welcome to the new academic term. We hope everyone had a relaxing break, ready to engage with the new challenges and changes that face us in the new academic year of 2005/6.

We at ESCalate have been very busy, a bumper issue of our tri-annual newsletter shall be landing on desks soon, packed full of academic writing about international students; ITE in Scotland and much more - plus read about our partner sites’ plans for the coming year.

In this issue of our bulletin, we shall be updating you on the progress of some of our projects and promoting the 2nd Student Award 2006. Flyers should be with you shortly and details are on the web.

We welcome any feedback you may have, either as a response to our publication pieces, or your thoughts on the new website, or whatever it is you may wish to tell us about. Please do get involved; see for more information or email us at

Read on to find out more….

Forthcoming ESCalate Events:

  • Widening Participation to University Study Through Flexible Delivery, hosted at Friends House, London. A joint ESCalate, FACE, Continuum event on the 21st October; see the web for details.
  • Ethical Decision Making for HoD’s – What is the right thing to do here? A two-day seminar based in Bristol. 30th November – 1st December, see the web for more details.
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Ethical Decision-Making for Students or Recent Graduates

Are you interested in developing opportunities for your students to engage in ethical decision-making in your early years and/or childhood studies programmes?

ESCalate is interested in carrying out a research study. We want to contact recent graduates who are in employment providing childcare. We are interested in their ability in taking ethical decisions and the extent to which their undergraduate course helped them develop skills in ethical decision-making.

If you are interested in taking part or would like to know more please contact

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External Examiner Database

A prototype has been made available to people who have expressed an interest in the project. We have received 29 replies to date. Many thanks to all those who gave us the helpful and positive feedback.

If you are interested in becoming an EE, or already are and would like to register on the ESCalate EE database, please click on the link below, sign-up to ESCalate membership, and when you receive your acceptation notification (and password), please log back into, where you can register your expertise on our EE database.

If you experience any difficulty, please contact us on

We anticipate having the HoD search facility up and running soon.

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Student Award 2006

Cartoon of person opening a letter After running a very successful Student Writing competition last year, we have decided to run it again this year.

The full competition title is, ‘The Higher Education Academy Subject Centre Network Student Award 2006’, but referred to as Student Award 2006 for short, reflects the fact that the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the Subject Centres are working together to raise the profile of this competition for students.

The title the students are being asked to write about is ‘How does your experience of your course compare with any expectations you may have had?’. It is designed to encourage them at whatever stage of their course to reflect on the expectation and reality of their Higher Education experience. This will not be an opportunity for a rant! Students are being asked to offer a mature critique of their learning experience so that their writing not only provides additional valuable insights into their thinking and perceptions on entering HE, but may also offer useful ways forward for development of department or course where appropriate.

We will soon be sending out A5 flyers, postcards and possibly some A3 posters to all contacts to promote the competition, if you want more, please get in touch.

The overall competition winner from all 24-Subject Centres will win a Toshiba laptop, with runners up receiving goody bags. ESCalate is also offering the top Education student entry £250, with smaller prizes for runners up.

The deadline is Friday 17th February 2006

On our website you will soon find further information, the submission form, marking criteria and general competition information.

So, do please get involved!

If you have any further queries, please address them to or to

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ESCalate Evaluation

Every year ESCalate commissions a survey designed to gather colleagues’ opinions on the service, and to get suggestions for possible future improvements.

This year was the last time University of Strathclyde Department of Psychology were external evaluating ESCalate and once again we thank them all their hard work over the years. We are delighted to welcome Dr Steve Wilkinson from UEA in Norwich to work with us in this role this year.

This past year an evaluation was carried out through a telephone survey. All contacts were asked to nominate a head of department and a course leader within their institutions to take part in a short telephone survey. The response rate was 27%, which considering how busy everyone is is an excellent response rate, and we would like to thank all those who participated.

The responses were mostly very positive with 84% of the participants having heard of ESCalate; with 41% very familiar with the services offered. The other 42% had heard but did not know what exactly how ESCalate could work with them.

Many commented that they found the service very helpful and informative:

“keep up the good work…this is an important lifeline..”… “I have found the staff to be very friendly and easily contactable…”

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Report on the ESCalate Initial Teacher Education Project, based at St Martin’s College

The 2004-5 work culminated in a successful symposium at the BERA annual conference entitled ‘Advancing Learning and Teaching in Initial Teacher Education’. The symposium comprised 4 papers outlining project developments in a range of areas, related to the enhancement of learning and teaching in teacher education. The projects vary from close investigation of teaching contexts designed to improve the links between school and university-based learning to a broad study of the influences of national policy contexts on teacher education.

St Martin's Conference 2005 - Adrian CoppingAdrian Copping and Sandra Eady described the evaluation of the use of high intensity, themed teaching practice (saturation placements) on students’ opportunity to put theory into practice. Their research concluded that the approach had many benefits such as the opportunity for students to bring their own ideas into the ‘melting pot’ alongside other stakeholders and that the process allowed all parties’ ideas to be challenged and modified in the construction of new knowledge. Whilst there were some concerns about the practicalities of such placements, greater creativity was achieved on all sides by removing the pressure of external assessment. Greater opportunity was created for less threatening, more negotiated assessment.

Dr Jane McKie et al presented the preliminary results of their comprehensive study of the impact of different UK national ITE policies on the nature of teacher education in those countries. There are significant differences in national approaches to the regulation and status of teacher education and their paper discussed the effect of these differences on features such as institutional autonomy, levels of consensus regarding practice and constraints on innovation. Various key themes are emerging from the study, which will be further developed during 2005-6.

Pete Boyd, Kim Harris, Lily Baker and Emma McVittie have investigated what processes improve the induction for teachers moving into teacher education. The nature of the subject-discipline of teacher education and the structure of partnership in teacher education in England, between higher education institutions and groups of schools, provide a significant boundary-crossing context in which new teacher educators work and learn. Their study provided insight into the social practice in relation to professional learning within a large education faculty. It suggests that there is a need to carefully consider and design the work role of new teacher educators, establish realistic requirements in relation to research, recognise the grieving process in relation to their previous role and explicitly address their changed role as they work and interact with schools. They also recommend a critical evaluation of the place of accredited programmes for new lecturers in relation to the needs of teacher educators. Further work is taking place on this project to provide a ‘toolkit’ for institutions to help them evaluate and plan their induction processes for teachers making the transition into teacher education.

Finally, Chris Kynch set out an update on the nature of e-learning in teacher education. Her presentation included an overview of the ways in which e-learning is currently being utilised and our lack of knowledge regarding the overall state of engagement with communication and information technology in the teacher education community. Further information on all these projects is available, please contact

In 2005-6 St Martins will be hosting the second annual ESCalate Conference on teaching and learning in ITE: Initial Teacher Education Futures. It will be taking place in Lancaster on May 19th 2006 with Professor Chris Day (University of Nottingham) and Dr Samantha Twiselton (St Martin’s College) as keynote speakers. Further details and a call for papers are accessible on the ESCalate website.

They are also holding four themed seminars on important issues in ITE. These will be held in different parts of the UK. The first, on ‘training students to teach in schools facing challenging circumstances’ will be held on 26th January 2006. Further details will be available soon. Other seminars will address:

  • The ‘Every Child Matters Agenda’
  • Meeting the needs of new teacher educators
  • Developments in e-learning in teacher education

Please contact to register an interest.

Below is a report by Dr Tony Brown on the first conference held in May 2005.

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Challenges and opportunities: Developing learning and teaching in ITE across the UK – A review for the St Martin’s event

St Martin's Event People shotMay 2005 saw 140 participants meeting at University College St Martins for an important ESCalate conference for teacher-educators in higher education. This one-day event was heavily over-subscribed, indicating the strong interest in the conference themes, which included:

  • Transition into work in initial teacher education;
  • Induction provision for new lecturers;
  • Desktop video conferencing and video streaming;
  • Schools and education departments as communities of practice.

During the day, participants from over 30 schools, colleges and universities packed the lecture theatre to hear the two keynote speakers. Professor Andrew Pollard, University of Cambridge and Professor Anne Edwards, University of Birmingham provided the keynote addresses and 15 workshop presenters explored many different developments relating to the work of the teacher educator.

In the morning keynote address, Professor Andrew Pollard drew on his research on teacher identity to explore the work of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) educators. According to Pollard, the professional ‘survival’ of the teacher-educator requires:

  • A collaborative approach to engaging with and understanding changing policy demands;
  • A desire to continue engaging with the professional demands of new policy initiatives;
  • The integration of personal and professional needs and ambitions.

Pollard’s research with teachers found that those who survive the challenges of change in the workplace are able to draw extensively upon a rich reservoir of experience contained in their biographical histories. Pollards’ research used the notion of the self: we might also use teacher-identity.

The accumulation of our experience and our associated emotional responses build what Professor Pollard calls a strategic biography. Survivors have dynamic access to this reservoir: they have the power to select from the contents of their individual biographies. Survivors use this creative activity to select a range of possible actions and strategies to help mediate new challenges. So, the strategic biography is more than a hard-wired record of events. In the able and engaged survivor, it has become a malleable set of potential choices for current and future action. The strategic biography is available to support the creation of new decision-making processes. Additionally of course, new strategies and decision-making skills become embedded in the strategic biography, reinforcing the ability to survive challenges and enhancing both the experiential repertoire and the current level of skills.

In her afternoon address Professor Anne Edwards drew together the threads of New Labour’s recent policy decisions for education and the community. Professor Edwards drew attention to the themes of flexible provision, service integration and the need for teachers and learners to develop resilience.

Professor Edwards compared the policy initiatives found in the children’s fund launched in 2000; Every Child Matters (2003); The 5-Year Strategy for Children and Learners, (2004); and the extended schools initiative. Publication of the green paper Every Child Matters (2003) [1] led to the creation of the web site, and to additional Change for Children initiatives.

Within the various initiatives and policy documents that have appeared in recent years it is possible to plot the government’s drive to greater integration of services and change in the way that schools function. The government's core ambitions for children appeared on pages 6-7 of the 2003 green paper. Children should:

  • Have positive self-regard;
  • Have the ability for reflection;
  • Be able to interact positively with others;
  • Have consistent and warm family relationships;
  • Receive support outside the home from friends and other adults.

According to Professor Edwards changes in government policy are shifting schools and the education service towards prevention and away from attempts at responsive protection ‘after the event’. Clearly this change of policy echoes concerns that repeated attempts to organise services have failed to overcome the ‘weak accountability and poor integration’ that have bedevilled local authority services for decades and which were identified yet again as crucial in Lord Laming’s 2003[2] inquiry. The UK has witnessed a series of high profile and tragic child abuse cases from Maria Colwell in 1975 and Kimberly Carlile in 1986, to Lauren Wright and Victoria Climbié in 2000.

Professor Edwards argued that schools and the education service must engage more fully with two equally important projects:

  • Nurturing robustness and resilience in children and learners;
  • Nurturing the same qualities in a teaching workforce that has experienced coercion and control as political objectives for well over a decade.

According to Professor Edwards the shift in policy towards education as prevention and away from responsive protection demands that all services including schools are more sensitive to children and their interests. The best way for education to play its part in prevention is to nurture resilience in children and learners. Schools can only be responsive if the teachers they employ are responsive in their interactions with children. Engaging with children demands a curriculum that is much more flexible to local needs and to individual children’s interests. A move towards responsive relationships is the best way to foster resilience; ‘resilience develops where individuals are taken seriously in responsive relationships’. This will be a challenging move for schools.

Dr Tony Brown, Director, ESCalate

  1. [1] Department for Education and Skills, (2003) Every Child Matters, DfES
  2. [2] Lord Laming (2003) The Victoria Climbié Inquiry
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What a Difference a Pedagogy Makes: Researching Lifelong Learning and Teaching

The third biennial conference of the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Stirling.

On a summer weekend of typically mixed weather, the 24th to the 26th June 2005, conference delegates gathered from around the world at the beautiful campus of the University of Stirling to discuss and celebrate a range of issues pertinent to lifelong learning at the beginning of the 21st century, some of them on perennial relevance, others more symptomatic of our times:

  • Assessing learning;
  • Learning careers and identities;
  • Literacies and learning;
  • Methodologies and methods;
  • Pedagogy and learning cultures, professional learning and development, organisational and workplace learning; and
  • Virtual pedagogy.

The Chair of Conference Planning, Richard Edwards, who kindly ensured that all delegates received a complementary umbrella in their packs on registration! The city of Stirling was once dubbed 'the brooch of Scotland'; in between the showers, conference delegates were able to explore the University campus and its environs, including dinner at historic Stirling Castle, and so were invited to judge for themselves!

Participants from:

  • Australia,
  • Botswana,
  • Canada,
  • Denmark,
  • England,
  • Estonia,
  • Finland,
  • France,
  • India,
  • Ireland,
  • Malaysia,
  • The Netherlands,
  • New Zealand,
  • Nigeria,
  • Northern Ireland,
  • Norway,
  • Portugal,
  • Russia,
  • Scotland,
  • South Africa,
  • Spain,
  • Sweden,
  • Switzerland,
  • the USA and
  • Wales

came together to discuss topics as diverse as:, literacies, dyslexia, the pedagogy of the oppressed, learning amongst the elderly in different countries and from different ethnic groups, museum education, race and gender, and educational reform in the post-Soviet era. And this is just a taste of the diversity and complexity of what was on offer. Many of the papers were compelling, and meticulously evidenced and argued.

For a judicious mixture of the academic and the social, thanks go to Mike Osborne, Jim Gallacher, Richard Edwards and the rest of the CRLL team.

This year, the CRLL biennial conference was part of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Social Science Week 2005. Papers can be accessed at

Dr Jane McKie, ESCalate Research Fellow, University of Stirling

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FACE Annual Conference July 2005

Professor John Storan and Professor David WatsonThe Annual Conference of the Forum for the Advancement of Continuing Education Was held this Year at University College Cork from 6-8th July.

The conference was extremely well attended by an international body of delegates and both the keynote speeches and seminars reflected this international perspective on education. The issues of Widening Participation and Lifelong learning remained key threads running through the conference with Professor Sir David Watson giving an enlightening speech "Telling the truth about widening participation in Higher Education: an international perspective".

ESCalate supported the conference by hosting a drinks reception which allowed delegates an informal setting to network and discuss current issues, whilst acknowledging ESCalate's commitment to international and national perspectives in Education.

Teresa Nurser, ESCalate Bristol, Projects and Publicity

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BERA Conference September 2005

Jane Davidson (Welsh Minister of Education and Life Long Learning) and John Furlong (retiring President of BERA)British Educational Research Association annual conference September 14th-17th at The University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, Wales

ESCalate was well represented both in terms of our funded projects presenting their mid and final project findings as well as in terms of Centre and Partnership Personnel promoting and disseminating ideas amongst the education community.

The Conference Keynote speakers, Jane Davidson, the Welsh Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning gave an extremely positive speech and reflected on how current educational research had lead directly to changes in government policy in Wales. Ian Diamond from the ESRC followed by speaking about how ESRC funding for educational research was set to continue, funding diligent and relevant research.

Teresa Nurser, ESCalate Bristol, Projects and Publicity

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Book reviews

Interested in reviewing a book? Check out the book review section of the website to find out all the books that are available; this is updated regularly.

Once you have registered as an ESCalate member, you can request two books to review at any one time, through the members’ section on the web.

Do keep an eye on this section of the website:

If you would like to know more about the book reviews, please email

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Education in the Media

Steiner schools 'could help all' (By Branwen Jeffreys BBC News education correspondent)

3 new teachers heading for the classroom

Possible legal action in Wales as the Welsh don’t have to pay fees

School extends into childcare – feature article

Universities denounce visa move

Review of part-time student fees

Minister urges action on campus extremism,9830,1532416,00.html

BBC plans soap to teach English

Students 'to spend £9bn in year'

Error-free exam system is 'myth'

Exam results dominate student complaints to watchdog,9860,1513096,00.html

Graduate pay keeping up with debt

Survey reveals students' debt fears Polly Curtis, education correspondent Tuesday August 9, 2005,12728,1545658,00.html

Government admits 15-year pay back on degrees. Polly Curtis, education correspondent Thursday August 4, 2005,12728,1542356,00.html

Degree grades overhaul proposed

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ESRC Launches New Website for Social Sciences

The UK' largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training on social and economic issues - the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - has launched a brand new online initiative for social sciences research.

ESRC Society Today offers academics, students and researchers unrivalled, free access to high quality social and economic research available, planned and in progress.

As well as bringing together all ESRC-funded research, the website provides a gateway to other key online resources from the UK such as Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG), the UK Data Archive and the Office of National Statistics – as well as international coverage from services such as Europa and Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

It includes early findings, full texts and original data sets and allows users establish online discussion fora, track down researchers in their key subject fields or find details on ESRC funding and training opportunities. There is also the facility to register for regular news bulletins and email alerts on areas of interest and stay abreast of the latest research efficiently and effectively.

ESRC Society Today - – replaces the current and sites.

You can register for further information by emailing

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Contributing to ESCalate

Thank you for reading until the end, please do let us have news of developments and activity in your department. Or look out for the next bulletin.

Next Bulletin: December 2005.

Deadline for Copy: 18th November, emails to
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