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Past Project Archive

With Children's University

LfL's John MacBeath completed a three-year evaluation of The Children’s University (2010). It is available to download as an executive summary and a full report.

The Children's University (CU) is a powerful exemplification of the LfL principles of a focus on learning and conditions for learning. Children’s learning is not necessarily a result of formal teaching. The evaluation demonstrates how it can be inspired in environments such as museums, art galleries, sporting venues, and community sites validated by the CU as having structured programmes to excite and sustain their desire to learn.

Opportunities to learn outside the classroom are a distinguishing aspect of the Children’s University. The 2,750 validated CU learning destinations include stately homes (such as Chatsworth House in Derbyshire), heritage and museums (such as Doncaster Minster), Arts and Science centres, urban trails, the BBC and Houses of Parliament. Passports give entry to learning destinations and merit a stamp for every validated learning hour, leading to graduations after 30, 60, 90 and 120 hours. By March 2013, a quarter of a million passports had been issued. Children's UniversityEach local Children’s University has a link with a higher education institution and is encouraged to appoint its own Chancellor. Graduations take place in universities very often presided over by the Vice Chancellor himself/herself, handing out certificates to children begowned and wearing tasseled mortar boards. St John’s College, Cambridge, hosted the first Cambridgeshire graduation event in 2013 for students and their families from Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech.

'We’re doing everything… PowerPoints, information, simplicity, basically trying to make it interesting so that others will learn… We talked about it together and now we teach it – it’s great because it was our idea and now we’re planning and running it.'

Secondary school students West London Academy on running Artyclub for younger children

John MacBeath contributed to the House of Lords reception earlier this year, whilst our publication InForm 14 (Download or read online) gives a more extended overview of the work.

With Education International

Teacher Self-Efficacy, Voice and Leadership

IELfL completed research for Education International (EI), the global association of teacher organisations and unions with 460 plus affiliates in 2013. We collected evidence that will underpin a policy framework to guide the future development of the teaching profession. This comes at a time when the teaching profession is increasingly facing pressures from society and policy makers and there is a need to reaffirm the role and potential of teachers in leading educational change.

The report 'Teachers’ self-efficacy, voice and leadership' by John Bangs & David Frost, draws data from ten countries including the USA, Bulgaria, Greece, Egypt, Turkey and Denmark. Download the pdf or read online.

An early paper on the project (January 2011) by John Bangs and David Frost for the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement can be accessed here.

Also available to download is the paper: The Concept of 'Agency' in Leadership for Learning, which is referred to in the EI magazine 'Worlds of Education'.

With CANTARNET (Canterbury Action Research Network)

CANTARNET CANTARNET was established in 1996 to support teachers' leadership of enquiry-based development work. Initially, it brought together participants on a school-based MA programme through regular conferences offering keynote speakers, workshops to support enquiry and scholarship and opportunities for teachers to share ideas and discuss issues relating to their leadership of school change. A journal, 'The Enquirer', was launched to publish teachers' accounts of their work. Download further information

With General Teaching Council

The Influence and Participation of Children and Young People in their Learning (IPiL) project

This research, commissioned by the General Teaching Council, investigated a range of areas around influencing and improving learning, assessment, behaviour for learning, curriculum and pupil voice. This paper describes the participative and discursive methodology used and goes on to summarise the findings and key messages. The paper also includes a set of key principles, which can be used to support professional development and school-based review.

With National Union of Teachers

CamNUT Learning Circles

The report evaluated the pilot of Learning Circles, a partnership continuing professional development (CPD) project between the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Leadership for Learning (LfL) network at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. It explained the origins of the project, the nature of the partnership and evaluated the extent to which the three Learning Circles supported teachers in: taking ownership of their own professional development; initiating, leading and sustaining the development of practice in their schools; engaging in building professional knowledge that is rooted in practice and evidence based and sharing and engaging critically with professional knowledge through networking. The report concluded by suggesting some next steps for the future development of the Learning Circles programme.

With Open Society Foundation Education Support Programme

Advancing Participation and Representation of Ethnic Minority Groups in Education (APREME)

OSFThis project that operated in the Western Balkans with funding from both the European Union and the Open Society Institute as part of their Education Support Programme in South-East Europe. The project is linked to a much wider project covering eastern European countries. Both projects are focused on involving parents in schooling but the APREME is particularly focused on the inclusion of ethnic minority families. The project has a number of stages; the first two were devoted to investigating parents and school principals’ perspectives and experience through large scale surveys in the 5 participating countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosova and Serbia. For the third stage, David Frost was asked to join the team as an ‘EU expert’ working alongside a research team from Romania. The task was to design a process for conducting case studies in the 5 countries to try to identify the barriers to the involvement in schools of parents of ethnic minority students and the strategies to overcome these.

Reports from each country were synthesised in the form of a single report.

With Learning to Lead

In 2008, LfL was asked to evaluate an initiative to support student leadership. This followed on very well from the IPiL project1 which had put forward a number of key principles for practice which included “Everyone, including pupils, is encouraged to exercise leadership as appropriate to task and context with opportunities for leadership to be a shared activity”. The Learning to Lead initiative began in the Blue School in Wells, Somerset as a way of enhancing student engagement.

The LtoL model involves conducting a school wide survey and discussion to identify priorities for action. Students are then invited to join project teams around those priorities. These typically include teams such as "The recycling team" or "Improving the school playgrounds team" as well as ones dedicated to caring for chickens and growing food in the school grounds. Each team is provided with induction and support to enable them to become self-leading teams able to take action to transform their schools and communities. These teams all report back to the School Forum which makes decisions about how best to support the process. The School Forum, facilitated by students themselves appoints representatives to join a committee, which includes senior leadership team members to ensure cooperation.

The evaluation makes the practice visible and identifies the benefits to the students and to their schools. It concludes that the Learning to Lead study provides grounds for claiming that student leadership has enormous potential to transform the experience of school for young people and in so doing transform the school itself. The evidence points to radical shifts in student dispositions, marked improvement in the quality of relationships and the development of participative school cultures which enable young people to flourish and achieve.

If you would like to know more you can download for free the booklet 'Learning to Lead: the Story So Far' and the full evaluation report or watch this brief video about the beneficial experience of being involved in Learning to Lead, made at our NUT/HCD conference ‘Student Leadership – Yes they can!’.

More information about Learning to Lead

LfL - the Cambridge Network