ESCalate Bulletin No. 43 (24 September 2009)


  1. The year ahead
  2. New funding opportunities for 2009/10
  3. Advance notice of the 2nd ESCalate Student Conference - 16th April 2010, Glamorgan University
  4. HE in FE - an event in the planning
  5. Internationalisation event with BAICE and University of Bristol
  6. An offer of help for your events/workshops/seminars
  7. Some reflections on recent events we have been to.
  8. New resources on our website
  9. Recent press release about our joint publication with the HELP CETL
  10. Initial Teacher Education, Mental Wellbeing and Ill-health - some resources
  11. The National Student Survey: how have you been using this data?
  12. Have you used ESCalate's External Examiner database?
  13. Informing Policy and Improving Practice: The Work of JISC TechDis in Higher Education
  14. Teacher Support Direct
  15. Events and resources on our website

The year ahead

Welcome back after the summer break. The new academic year is well underway and like others the ESCalate team of staff are moving forward with workplans for 2009/10 that originated much earlier in the year.  We would like to provide you with a flavour of our work which includes the following themes:

  • Sharing Effective Practice

The 2nd ESCalate Student Conference - 16th April 2010, Glamorgan University.  Further details are available below.

To include E-Learning workshops looking at how e-portfolios can be used in Teacher Education.  These regional events will take place in the Spring of 2010 and further details will be available shortly.

  • Raising the status of teaching

Workshop events aimed at supporting and promoting the activity of scholarly writing.  These events will be of interest to HE staff working in FE as well as FE teacher educators who are looking to develop their writing.  Email us at for more information.

  • Inclusion

To include a research project led by Dr Suanne Gibson (University of Plymouth) and Lynn Kendall (Liverpool John Moores), entitled "Exploring transitions to Higher Education for students with identified disabilities". It is intended that research findings will be disseminated at national and international conferences and resources will be available on the ESCalate website.

  • Evidence Informed Practice

How are Education Departments using the National Student Survey (NSS) data?  Read below for more information.

In this bulletin we have also included many items and resources that might be of use to you or your colleagues. Please do send this bulletin to anyone who you think might be inetrested and if you have anything for our next bulletin, coming out in December please send it to

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New funding opportunities for 2009/10

We are launching a raft of new funding opportuniites via our website and invite you all to look and see if you would like to submit a bid yourselves or indeed pass it on to a colleague who might.

If a potential applicant hasn't already you need to register with ESCalate first, register and then after that the online submission system is aimed at making things easy both for you to monitor the progress of your bid and for us to contact you.

We have three new major areas of funding

Developing Pedagogy and Practice

Themed funding: Teacher Educators for the 21st Century

Themed funding: Student Well-being

and then two new smaller areas

Hot Topics

Sharing Ideas

and we are continuing to support students through our

Student grants

To find out more about eligibility to register your bid please go to

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Advance notice of the 2nd ESCalate Student Conference - 16th April 2010, Glamorgan University

Following the success of last year’s Student Conference (see we will be holding a second, in what we hope will become an annual event. We are asking for contributions from students at all stages of their education from first year of a Foundation Degree to PhD level on the theme of the ‘Student Voice’ in education. The Conference will be held at the Business Centre, Glamorgan University on Friday 16th April 2010. The final title of the event has yet to be decided but we will be exploring the notion of Students as Educators, fully involved in the process of their own eduaction. Online registration will be avaialable very soon together with more detailed information.

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HE in FE - an event in the planning

Another event still in the very early planning stages is an event which will offer HE practitioners working in FE environments the chance to get together and compare notes. This event will focus on practical ways to share best practice, to inspire and to support practitioners. Again we will be in touch with more information as soon as we have it.

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Internationalisation event with BAICE and University of Bristol

Developing Intercultural Competencies in International Higher Education Communities: Initiating European Conversations

We are starting the year with this event held on 22nd September in partnership with BAICE (British Association for International and Comparative Education) and the University of Bristol at the Graduate School of Education in Bristol. There will be a full report and resources from the event in due course on the website at

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An offer of help for your events/workshops/seminars

Our  ‘big’ events will be taking place alongside other workshops, seminars and meetings over the year: we are especially concerned to make sure the results of research carried out with our support, are available to as wide a public as possible, so if you are planning an event, however large or small, get in touch and we will be very happy to discuss your plans. We can offer a wide range of ‘support packages’ ranging from running registration and everything else, to simply publicising it for you. Just email for more information.

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Some reflections on recent events we have been to.

FACE Annual Conference 2009Towards a New Agenda for Lifelong Learning: Access, Diversity and Participation 1st – 3rd July 2009 StaffordshireUniversity

ESCalate was one of 13 exhibitors at this event which also included representatives from the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Lifelong Learning Network National Forum and Action on Access. ESCalate also had a presence within the Conference programme publicising the Subject Centre’s work and giving details of funding awards. ESCalate and FACE also provided funding to enable a small number of staff and students to attend the conference who did not have sufficient funds of their own. To access the sponsorship applicants were asked to submit a small-scale research project concerned with the widening participation agenda. The overall winner was Charlotte Young of
Bournemouth University who produced a paper which asked ‘How key is Commitment’ and sought to measure and assess the impact of (Aim Higher) summer school activity on commitment towards Higher Education. Charlotte believes that such research could assist practitioners in understanding the relevance of commitment in education and how this relates to increasing attainment and aspirations.

Staffordshire University (who hosted the FACE conference) is involved in a major strategic alliance project to develop a ‘University quarter’ – a flagship education-led regeneration scheme that will attract £250 million-worth of investment. The University Quarter will include Stoke on Trent (FE) College. There are also developments involving the creation of a ‘Children’s’ University’ operated by Staffordshire University (who also provide a Chancellor – presently the university’s VC Professor Christine King) aimed at young people between 7 – 14 with the aim of raising their expectations and aspirations. Local children take part in a number of activities and schemes which bring them into contact with the university with the hope that they will aspire to extended participation in education.

‘Students as Agents for Change in Learning and Teaching’ at the University of Exeter

‘Students as Agents for Change’ is an innovative student-led action research model which brings students and staff together as partners in the shaping and delivery of the curriculum at the University of Exeter. A series of research projects which considered a broad range of topics and areas of concern as articulated via the Student Voice / NSS were presented at a student-organised conference at the university on 17th June 2009 before an audience of fellow students and academics, including Janice Kay, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Exeter who has responsibility for Education and the Student Experience. The initiative is a powerful means of engaging and including students in the development of the curriculum and how it is delivered at the core of the student experience and there are parallels with similar ESCalate-funded research concerned with this very topical issue – ‘Hearing the student voice: Promoting and encouraging the effective use of the student voice to enhance professional development in learning, teaching and assessment within higher education’ which involved Napier University, Leeds Metropolitan University, UCE Birmingham and the University of Westminster. (

Academy/JISC 24 Hour Strategic Planning Event HEA York 15th-16th July 2009

The 24 hour event considered progress made on the HEA/JISC Collaboration to date and considered the observations and recommendations produced in a recently published Glenaffric consultancy report.

‘The Collaboration Initiative was established in support of the implementation of the 2005 HEFCE Strategy for e-Learning. Its main aim was to set up and implement a programme of work to achieve effective inter-working and communication between the Higher Education Academy and the JISC.

The work of the Initiative included a series of Collaboration Events involving representatives from JISC services, Academy Subject Centres and JISC Regional Support Centres as well as Academy York and the JISC Executive (the Collaboration Network). Four Collaboration Campaigns focusing on the use of technology to support key areas of interest for the sector were organised, and a series of resources were produced and disseminated.

An evaluation of the Initiative was commissioned in November 2008, aiming to provide a rich picture of the scope and perceived impact of the Initiative.

The evaluation makes a number of recommendations relating to two principal areas of concern: maintaining the momentum of the Collaboration Initiative, and making the most of the resources that were developed’.

The group, which included representatives from ESCalate, discussed possible scenarios which might unfold over the next 12 months and beyond and attempted to identify implications for the Collaboration. The event also included an input by an external consultant who facilitated a scenario planning activity. These activities aim to inform the development and production of a strategy for continuing the collaboration between the two organisations.

The Higher Education Academy and engagement with 14-19 Diplomas: A meeting to share experiences

Friday 12th June 2009, Higher Education Academy, York

The Diploma is part of a major reform of education for 14 to 19-year-olds. Introducing the Diploma alongside A levels and Apprenticeships means that all young people can choose a course that suits their interests and learning style which, in turn, means they are more likely to stay on in education for longer and achieve more.

‘ The 14-19 Education and Skills white Paper set out a 10-year reform programme for the education system, including important changes to the qualifications and curriculum that all students will study in the future. The reforms are designed to encourage more young people to continue learning for longer and gain the qualifications they need to progress into further and higher education or skilled employment. Many of the reforms will have a direct impact on HE institutions, in areas such as entry requirements, curriculum and assessment methods, and the patterns of demand for different and new HE courses. Changes to A-levels and the introduction of the new Diplomas mean that from 2010, almost all students entering HE straight from full-time education will have studied something different and been assessed in a different way from current entrants’

(Department for children, schools and families)

The implications for teaching and learning are wide-reaching and this meeting usefully shared thoughts about a range of issues. The group felt that universities might be more pro-active in developing the curriculum of their potential students whilst at they are at school –addressing the issue of ‘transition’ which if not made successfully is often cited as a reason for students dropping out of university courses.

The new Diplomas are likely to produce students with a very different learning experience in the last 2 years of school to one they might currently be expected to receive at university.

The project component of the new awards which are intended as major pieces of work might well involve the use of skills ‘not known to teachers’ as they will hopefully be conveying enthusiasms and skills developed by students from outside of their formal learning experiences.

The Diplomas also aim to address ‘personal learning and thinking skills’ (PLTs) associated with the independent enquirer and reflective learner and which are often considered to be lacking in students entering university.

The HEA and ESCalate will be keen to develop appropriate responses to the needs of teaching communities as they get to grips with this major reform of Education for 14-19 year olds and particularly in respect of those learners making the transition to Higher Education via the Diploma award.

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New resources on our website

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Recent press release about our joint publication with the HELP CETL

Since 1997 there has been rapid expansion in the provision of HE courses in FE colleges.  This expansion resulted in considerable changes taking place in college lecturers’ working practices as they adapted to a new qualification (foundation degrees), an increasingly diverse student body and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them to engage in scholarly activity.  Since 2005 the Higher Education Learning Partnerships (HELP) Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) has been working with the University’s partner college faculty to recognise and reward the contributions of partner college staff to learning and teaching through the provision of opportunities to further their professional development and engage with scholarly activity.  In October 2008 in conjunction with the Higher Education Academy’s Education Subject Centre (ESCalate) the HELP CETL brought together 11 partner college staff into a writing group to reflect on their experiences of working in HE in FE and carrying out scholarly activity.  These narratives were brought together in a publication entitled “Putting the I into identity and other stories” which was officially launched on the 17th of July 2009.  The narratives written by the partner college staff capture the rich and varied nature of being an HE in FE professional.  They consider the impact of past life experiences, collaborations with employers, their FE colleagues and the University on their identity as HE in FE lecturers.  They also demonstrate a clear commitment to ensuring their students succeed.  The focus of HE in FE policy on quality assurance and funding means that these narratives represent an unheard voice within an emerging sector.  The stories told by these practitioners will resonate with those working to deliver HE in FE, and provide a valuable insight to others of the realities of working in this challenging sector.  

This publication can be downloaded from: for further details contact

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Initial Teacher Education, Mental Wellbeing and Ill-health - some resources

There have been a plethora of recent policy documents and reports relating to the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people; and to the role of schools in promoting and supporting mental health.  In parallel, there has been an increasing focus on the mental health of students within higher education and on that of teachers.  See for further details. 

Developing an understanding of emotional wellbeing and mental health is an essential component of initial teacher education – if learners are to be equipped both to support and nurture the mental health of pupils, and to enhance their own wellbeing and that of colleagues.  With space in the curriculum at a premium, there is a need to consider how best this area of learning can be addressed. 

A number of initiatives have been developed to promote dialogue and support learning in this area:

Tier 1 training resource: Everybody’s Business

Teachers are classified as tier one Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) workers, at whom this online resource is aimed.  It consists of four half-day sessions:  What is mental health, mental health problems and disorders, roles and responsibilities/how CAMHS is structured; what helps.  A DVD is also available containing trainer’s notes, participant handouts and training activities.

Education Not Discrimination (END)

ENDis the element of Time To Change anti-stigma campaign that targets key audiences who have a significant impact on the lives of people with mental health.  Mental health awareness training has been offered to trainee teachers, focusing on: facts and figures; signs and symptoms; pathways to care; discussion around diagnosis and the medical model; boundaries and limitations of the teacher and the school and looking after your own mental health.

Mental Health in Higher Education (mhhe)

mhhe aims to enhance learning and teaching about mental health through increasing networking and the sharing of approaches, across the disciplines in UK higher education.  Over the past year – in partnership with ESCalate - we have run workshops aimed at teacher educators and developed resource pages on Initial Teacher Education: and student mental health:


We are interested to explore how networking and discussion in this area can be supported through the work of ESCalate and mhhe.  A current ESCalate funding call has a focus on student wellbeing:

Please do get in touch if you have ideas about links between mental wellbeing and education, or would like further information:

Jill Anderson Tel 01524 592836

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The National Student Survey: how have you been using this data?

Over the course of this year we would like to find out how Education Departments have been using the National Student Survey (NSS) data. 

The NSS is intended to provide institutions with an insight into students' perceptions of their higher education experiences. In order to work out how best we could support institutions to interpret and use this data effectively, we would like to gauge what impact the NSS has had on your practice. If you are able to offer your experiences then we would be very pleased to hear from you. The ESCalate contact for this work is Fiona and she can contacted at

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Have you used ESCalate's External Examiner database?

For a number of years ESCalate has provided an External Examiner (EE) database which provides a list of potential examiners for institutions as well as an opportunity for individuals seeking examining work.

Fiona Hyland of ESCalate would like to assess this service to see what impact it has had and whether any improvements could be made. If you are able to offer your views then please do send us an email or call! tel: 0117 3314323

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Informing Policy and Improving Practice: The Work of JISC TechDis in Higher Education

A new resource leaflet from JISC

The increasing diversity of the higher education student body means that staff involved in teaching and supporting learning are having to develop a growing repertoire of techniques to ensure their practice is as inclusive as possible. JISC TechDis provides advice and guidance for teaching practitioners, library staff, staff developers and more, to raise the level of inclusivity in mainstream practice, as well as working with senior managers and policy makers to ensure that national and institutional systems support inclusive approaches. This leaflet introduces some of the resources currently provided by JISC TechDis in pursuit of these aims.

Supporting Staff in Teaching Inclusively Using Technology

Inclusive Practice in Action

Evaluating Web 2.0 Technologies for Accessibility

Get the Basics Right

Getting Started in Inclusive Mobile Learning

How do Assistive Technologies Fit into Mainstream Activities

Guidance for Senior Managers: 12 steps towards embedding inclusive use of technology as a whole institution culture

No cost solutions: making the most of free and Open Source software

Supporting students who need alternative formats of texts

Creating accessible learning objects with free software

Enabling the learner voice on accessibility

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Teacher Support Direct

The Teacher Support Network offer a regular e-newsletter, updating you on the latest developments affecting the profession, with ideas and information to help boost your health and wellbeing.

If you would like to sign up to receive their e-newsletter, please visit their website

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Events and resources on our website

If you would like to see the complete listing of events please click here

If you would like to see the full listing of resources please click here

If you like to see the current and completed projects we ahve funded please click here

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