ESCalate at UCET: Looking back, seeing forward?

The session, introduced by Professor Andrew Pollard centred around breakout discussion workshops addressing many of the HEA focal themes that ESCalate has previously worked to. These were followed by an extended plenary to allow feedback from each workshop to be brought to the main body of the UCET conference to prepare delegates for the post-ESCalate landscape in education. It concluded with a presentation by Kathy Wright on the new HEA services to be provided for the education community.

ESCalate's mission is to promote and support learning and teaching for staff and students in education studies, continuing and adult education, teacher education and lifelong learning. As the subject centres will no longer be funded by the HEA after 2011 this session took the opportunity to reflect on ESCalate’s work over the past ten years and discuss ways in which the education community can build on ESCalate’s legacy for the future.

When asked "... discuss ways in which the education community can build on ESCalate’s legacy for the future?" the workshop responses included:

Julie Anderson, University of Plymouth "Involving students and promoting student voice"

  • How important it is for students to see themselves as professionals not as consumers.
  • The value of student conferences.

Jean Murray, University of East London "Teacher educators learning from research"

  • The value of stepping stone moves - developing research(ers) and disseminating in an accessible way.
  • Challenges ahead - opportunities for coordination of grants through learning societies

Uvanney Maylor, BERA and Steve Ward, BESA "The role of subject associations"

  • ESCalate strong at forging links between Universities, Schools and Subject Associations (SAs).
  • SAs developing CPD in a particular area need to be aware of the importance of dialogue.

Alison Jackson, University of Cumbria "Partnerships in teacher education"

  • Partnerships are de-stabilising at present and there is a need to engage with the multi-layered nature of partnership. The cultivation of partnership is complex. It needs to be based upon a knowledge of the big picture and a true commitment from all participants - which is not easy to achieve. We need to realise that the core business of teacher education cannot be done in isolation, it has to outreach and relationships must be nurtured.

Pete Boyd, University of Cumbria "Becoming a teacher educator"

  • The ESCalate role of building workshops into publications, supporting practitioner relationships and informing development is important.
  • Teacher education is complex, we need shared understanding nationally and internationally -  HEA needs to help pedagogy.

Jocelyn Wishart, University of Bristol "New and emerging technologies in teacher education"

  • Excitement, exploration and the value of collaboration with particular reference to new mobile learning opportunities and social networking
  • Pioneering spirit
  • The importance of keeping pedagogy up to date with available tools.
  • ESCalate funding enabled time, space and opportunities for sharing.

Ian Menter, University of Glasgow "Learning from initiatives in other nations of the UK"

  • Importance of learning through comparison across the four nations.
  • Need to encourage policy makers to gain from experience elsewhere

John Lea, Canterbury Christ Church University "HE in FE: education for teaching and allied professions"


Peter Hick, Manchester Metropolitan University "Teaching development projects and capacity building"

  • Teacher development grants as being the heart of ESCalate’s work as it provided the opportunity for colleagues to grow and engage in self development.
  • Also encouraged serendipitous as well as deliberate collaborations.

Kay Sambell, University of Northumbria "Enhancing dialogue about assessment in HE"

  • How important it is for students to own assessment.
  • Focus on achieving success especially at transitions e.g. school-first year; undergrad-masters)
  • The value of staff collaboration via small-scale funded work to improve student learning.

Elisabeth Lazarus, University of Bristol "The internationalisation of teaching and learning in HE"

  • Value of thinking ahead and considering the international world - students as valuable resource not just income
  • Nordic countries, China and Malaysia setting up master’s courses in English – cheaper way of studying?
  • In the light of the Bologna process, how to provide parity over ITE bursaries linked to degree classifications?

In the concluding presentation Kathy Wright acknowledged the work of ESCalate, particularly noting the commitment of the core office team who have managed the succession of a series of directors and the current 'shifting sands' affecting the entire education community. She drew the conference's attention to a raft of teaching development awards and opportunities the HEA is offering. Please see her slides opposite for details.