The Stronger the Research, the Greater Its Potential

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 29, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Stronger the Research, the Greater Its Potential


Wales has many opportunities in educational research, writes Jane Davidson Minister for Education and LIfelong Learning A FEW years ago, educational research in Wales presented a rather mixed picture with a 2001 report pointing to weaknesses in our educational capacity.

As a Minister committed to evidence-based policy, the stronger education research is in Wales, the better the opportunities for academic researchers to influence the Assembly Government's agenda.

To address the challenges raised in the report I established a Research Liaison Group to offer independent expert advice on developing and delivering a research agenda that would take forward our policies.

The group has made an extremely valuable contribution to the development of our research and development strategy. It offered advice and support in the appointment of two PhD studentships which are co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

It has also got Welsh institutions involved in teaching and learning research, with four projects ongoing: further education, teacher engagement, ICT in interactive teaching and bilingual learning.

These schemes target the general promotion of research capacity in Wales and complement the Assembly Government's Economic Research Programme.

There are many encouraging developments in educational research in Wales and there are many ways in which we are using research to enhance our policies. Here I'm going to look at a few individually.

The Foundation Phase

We have drawn upon high-quality research in moving forward early years education. We have commissioned leading researchers from the internationally regarded Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project, assisted by colleagues from Uwic, to evaluate the pilot scheme of the Foundation Phase.

Narrowing the Gap

We expect to publish the report of Phase 2 of the Narrowing the Gap study in November.

Assessment

A report by Prof Richard Daugherty, published in May 2004, has contributed towards the development of an appropriate system of assessment for learning to be introduced in Wales.

Pedagogy

Teachers in other countries - particularly Cuba, New Zealand and Australia - are strongly involved in pedagogical developments and engaged in the research process itself. I aspire to us creating the same confident and robust practise in Wales. The first National Conference on Pedagogy will be held over two days in Cardiff in November.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Our Welsh Baccalaureate is being piloted at both intermediate and advanced levels, with a foundation pilot from September 2006. From the outset, the WJEC has included representatives from the University of Bath as internal evaluators. An external evaluation will be awarded shortly.

Initial Teacher Training Review

Professor John Furlong, of Oxford University, is looking at the relationship between teacher training numbers and effective delivery and will be advising the Assembly Government. …

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