Schools have been positioned as the main engines of social mobility by politicians of varying shades for some years. The session illustrates how this has encouraged a wide range of external organisations and individuals to foist an ever expanding list of inappropriate roles onto schools. Crucially, it looks at what leading researchers on social mobility really say. It explains how their conclusions contrast directly with politicians, and with other influential organisations seeking to persuade schools and teachers that their purpose is to deliver social mobility. Finally, it makes a clear distinction between social mobility in individual and societal terms and argues that teachers should focus wholly on their role as educators.
Joe Nutt is an international educational consultant and columnist for the TES. He spent almost 20 years teaching, unusually in schools ranging from the highly selective, private sector to challenging, inner city state schools. The second half of his career has been in business and he has worked for Digitalbrain, RM, EDT and Teach First. He has implemented a number of major educational projects including the national intranet for Scotland, Glow, which won the Global Learning Impact Award in 2009. He is a Macmillan author and his latest book, The Point of Poetry, is due for publication in March 2019.
Educational research is only ever as good as the questions you ask
The pressure on schools to apply the findings of educational research has never been stronger, yet new technologies and other cultural changes have created a research landscape that does little to generate trust. The range of political, commercial and charitable organisations publishing material they readily describe as “research” is extensive. Yet the quality of this material varies dramatically. Even nominally high quality, peer reviewed work emanating from academic institutions often has a commercial imperative and a wide range of lobbyists and businesses see education as a key market to influence. The session will illustrate this problem with current examples and provide guidance on how schools can evaluate research insightfully before making key decisions on how to apply it in a school setting.