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LfL hosts a wide range of seminars and events for practitioners, academics and policymakers to meet and debate key topical issues. Join the LfL network to receive regular communications about events. See our home page for current events.

Cambridge Seminars in partnership with OSF, OECD & EI

These seminars are invitation only and organized in partnership with Open Society Foundations (OSF), Education International (EI), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and brought together practitioners, researchers and policymakers committed to enhancing the development of the teaching profession.

More details of current and past Cambridge Seminars

Past Seminars at the Faculty of Education

Webinar: Leadership for learning in a context of oppression: a case from Palestine, with Rabab Tamish

This talk shed light on the process of adopting progressive pedagogies, mainly from Freire’s work, in the Palestinian school culture. Rabab’s main argument was that the process is challenging especially when it is conducted in a context that has witnessed seven decades of political and social oppression. As a result, the dialectic relationship between theory and practice plays a major role in shaping the type of educational leadership that the field calls for. Rabab outlined some issues she believes both academics and educators anywhere should consider as they integrate critical pedagogies within their respective settings. Rabab Tamish is an assistant professor at Faculty of Education- Bethlehem University (Palestine). 

You can see further information about this event.

Webinar: Self-Policing or Self-Improving?: Analysing Peer Reviews Between Schools in England Through the Lens of Isomorphism, with Professor Toby Greany

Peer reviews have become increasingly common in recent years. They generally involve staff from at least one other school in reviewing practice in a host school and feeding back their findings. Drawing on two recent studies (Greany and Higham; 2018; Greany, 2018) Toby analysed examples and explored how far these reflect the three forms of isomorphism (coercive, mimetic and normative) identified by DiMaggio and Powell (1983). Overall his evidence supports DiMaggio and Powell’s conclusion that organisational homogenisation is not necessarily associated with improved performance except where it is combined with wider processes of professional learning for all staff. Toby discussed these findings in relation to recent developments in the English school system as well as wider debates on quality, accountability, homogenisation, improvement and innovation in contemporary school systems.

You can see further information about this past event, and download the presentation.

Leading improvement in a complex urban school through continuous, collaborative professional learning, with headteacher Kathy Bannon

For the past 19 years Kathy has been headteacher at Richard Cobden Primary School in Camden, London. Around 95% of the children are bilingual and over 50% are from low income households. When Kathy became headteacher the expectation of these children’s attainment was low and their outcomes at age 11 were well below average. Under Kathy’s leadership this has changed dramatically. Pupil progress is in the top 10% nationally and outcomes at 11 are well above national and London averages. She has achieved this through her high expectations, passion and systematic implementation of her own ‘Leadership for Learning’ recipe founded upon critical teacher agency and collaborative, enquiry-led improvement. The school was recently judged as outstanding by Ofsted, having previously been rated outstanding under both the new and old inspection frameworks. In this webinar, Kathy talked about how she led improvement in a complex urban school through continuous, collaborative professional learning.

Download the presentation.

The World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) and Leadership for Learning network joint event, with Professor John Elliott

John is Emeritus Professor of Education and Lifelong Learning at the Centre for Action Research in Education at the University of East Anglia which he founded. He is well-known internationally for his role in developing the theory and practice of educational action research in the contexts of curriculum and teacher development, and has directed a number of funded collaborative classroom research projects with teachers and schools. He also founded and edited in chief the International Journal of Action Research and the International Journal of Lesson and Learning Studies. Both are still going strong. This webinar provided an inspirational reading list, and an opportunity to hear a distinguished colleague reflect on his career in education.

Download the presentation

Download John Elliott's list of good educational reads

Myths, bears, monsters and muddles – leading and learning with stories, with Louise Johns-Shepherd

Louise is the inspiring and tireless leader of Britain's Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CPLE) whose belief that every child can learn and succeed is equalled by her determination that we should all help ensure they do succeed. Louise talked about the values, beliefs and knowledge that have guided her in the varied and challenging roles she has held, including her current role as a champion of literacy and learning. She also reflected on how her approach to leadership, leading and inspiring learning has evolved through her career as well as on the key influences that have shaped her as a leader.

Leading rapid yet deep and sustainable improvement: the Foxfield Story, with Rob Carpenter

Rob reflected deeply on the processes of relational, professional and pupil learning that were woven together by his leadership teams in order to bring about the sustained changes at Foxfield and also on the changes that were affected within the communities of the schools. He reflected on the dilemmas, competing priorities, complexities and moments of critical judgement-forming that he and his team experienced. Rob describe the processes of decision-making - juggling the urgent, the vital and the strategic - that they evolved and undertook along the journey and the sources of information and strength they drew on in order to sustain these changes. Rob concluded with a reflection on the challenges of their next steps.

Strengths Approaches to Education linking to the LfL Framework with Dr Angela Fenton

Angela introduced the use of a socially-just approach to bringing about change, known as the Strengths Approach (McCashen, 2005), and examined how it aligns with the five key principles of the LfL framework. Angela used photos and examples from her strengths research with Charles Sturt University and local schools/services to present a portrait of how she is examining leadership for learning in a unique Australian cultural context.

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Case Study and Strengths Approaches Research with Dr Angela Fenton

An informal roundtable presentation based on research methodology using a strengths approach framework. Angela outlined strengths methods designed for her doctoral research including an EView (electronic informal strengths-based interview) and an embedded multi-case study design that she is using for current research with local teachers, university educators and students.

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Chutes and Ladders: Supports and Challenges to Teacher Leadership Development with Philip E. Poekert, Ph.D.

The development and practice of teacher leadership is directly aided and inhibited by the conditions for learning that exist within a school setting and the policy context in which it operates. The seminar draws on the creation of the Teacher Leadership for School Improvement graduate degree program at the University of Florida and the subsequent theoretical model for teacher leadership development that emerged from its implementation in contexts across the State. Noting that external support from a university and philanthropy were key facilitators, the presentation entertains the question: if external support seems necessary, what hope do we have of institutionalizing teacher leadership within schools?
External evaluation reports for 2016 and 2017 on the Florida Teacher Leader Fellowship are available here: 2016 Report, 2017 Report.

Philip Poekert, Alex Alexandrou and Darbianne Shannon's 2016 article 'How teachers become leaders: an internationally validated theoretical model of teacher leadership development' was published in the journal 'Research in Post-Compulsory Education' Vol 20, issue 4, pages 307-329

Enabling community participation through teacher leadership with Gisela Redondo and David Frost

Community participation in schools is still a challenge for many teachers around the world, although research has demonstrated its positive impact for children’s learning and school improvement. How do teachers develop ways to strengthen the relationship with the community? What facilitates a dialogic school-home relationship? This seminar addressed these questions by exploring teacher leadership practices for community participation. Drawing on teachers´ accounts, its discussed the common trends that enable teachers to develop strategies that achieve impact beyond the school. Taking advantage of the existence of the HertsCam network and the International Teacher Leadership initiative, David Frost and Gisela Redondo reflected on how teacher leadership enables social transformation through the work with families and the community.

Hospital Wood Library: Three projects with children in different places with Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination

This seminar reflected on what happens when children are invited to be experts in familiar spaces and explore with others some big questions - how can we lead more active futures? What can happen outside the classroom? How can a library garden be a friendly space for others? It explored the challenge of co-creation with children and what that looks like in practice for everyone involved; children, teachers, other educators, families, other artists and experts. Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination artists Sally Todd and Deb Wilenski shared insights from recent work with Addenbrooke'€™s Hospital, Spinney Wild Woods and Rock Road Library. Colleagues from the projects also joined our discussion.

Students as agents in pedagogical change

In January 2016, we welcomed students from Passmores Academy and engaged in dialogue surrounding effective and meaningful teaching and learning strategies and initiatives, within lessons, and within the wider context of education. The students discussed their experiences of working towards completing a Higher Project (mini research thesis) in an area of their choice. Many of these students have also been involved in driving pedagogical change by teaching and observing lessons, engaging in regular dialogue with teaching and non-teaching staff, and delivering CPD sessions, within their school and at conferences across the country.

A Good Educational Read

LfL has been hosting a series of Good Educational Read Seminars, where we invite distinguished colleagues to look back on their careers in education and select books and articles they would recommend.

These seminars provide an inspirational reading list and an opportunity to discuss what makes a good educational read.

Values-driven educational leadership

Dr. hab Grzegorz Mazurkiewicz and Dr. Roman Dorczak from the Department of Educational Management, Institute of Public Affairs of the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland, were our guests at the LfL seminar in March 2015, which featured a report on their project: ‘The design and implementation of a new model of headteacher’s training, induction and continual development’ commissioned by the Polish Ministry of Education.

It also included a discussion about leadership for learning, development and co-operation. Leadership which is characterised as a practice that enables maximum participation in the decision-making process. Among the audience were people who study leadership, practitioners and those involved in studying developments in the post-Soviet space and post-socialist Europe.

Download the presentation

Learn to Lead: taking engagement to a new level in primary and secondary schools and the wider community

Learn to Lead (LtoL) is an inclusive approach that enables children and young people to play an active role in their school community. It has been developed over a ten-year period by teachers and students, and offers imaginative, yet simple, tools and structures that inspire teams to work together to bring about positive change. The programme is applicable to all ages and abilities and has also been adapted for use in a wide variety of other settings.

In 2010, LfL carried out an evaluation of the Learn to Lead programme which was directed by David Frost with Sally Stenton as part of the evaluation team. The seminar, which took place in March 2015 and was led by Annie Emery (LtoL director) and Sally Stenton (evaluator), explored the benefits and challenges of the Learn to Lead approach and shared some insights through a range of activities and film material.

How Paulo Freire became an international curriculum author

Visiting Professor Maria Inês Marcondes, from the Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, was our guest in February 2015. The seminar mapped out the international trajectory of Brazil’s most important educator, Paulo Freire, the leading advocate of critical pedagogy, and author of the foundational text Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This was a unique opportunity to explore and discuss the development of his thinking, which was informed by his international connections and, in turn, has had a lasting influence on educators worldwide.

Regional School Commissioners and England’s school system: state-funded but developed and managed in private?

Education journalist, Warwick Mansell, was our guest at the LfL Supper Seminar in October 2014, which considered what seems to have been the Department for Education’s central concern since the coalition came to power in 2010: the drive to get as many schools as possible to become academies. Specifically, it focused on the recent, hardly discussed, development of a new form of school organisation - the Regional Schools Commissioner system, which oversee all academies and free schools since September - to ask questions about transparency and public accountability.

Warwick Mansell's presentation and text.

2011 - 2014

  • The Expert Learner: An LfL Seminar with Gordon Stobart, July 2014.
  • Reflective Teaching in Schools by Andrew Pollard & colleagues, March 2014.
  • A ‘silent revolution’: the growth of co-operative schools in the UK, February 2014.
  • Emeritus Professor Neil Dempster and Professor Greer Johnson (Griffith University, Brisbane), Principals as Literacy Leaders in Primary and Secondary School Contexts, October 2013.
  • Rob Campbell (Headteacher, Impington Village College, Cambridgeshire) and Tom Sherrington (Headteacher, King Edward's Grammar School, Chelmsford) from The Headteachers' Roundtable, June 2013.
  • Professor Mary James, University of Cambridge and Peter Barnes, Headteacher, Oakgrove School, The National Curriculum Review: What is going on?, January 2013.
  • John Bangs and David Frost, Faculty of Education, Teacher Self-Efficacy, Voice and Leadership, December 2012.
  • Melissa Benn, parent, campaigner and writer, What is Michael Gove really up to? Dissecting the new school wars, March 2012.
  • Ros McLellan, Richard Byers, David Frost, Carol Holliday, Sue Swaffield, Faculty of Education, and Lonnie Rowell, University of San Diego, Improving practice through partnerships between universities and practitioners: Experiences in the UK and USA, November 2012.
  • David Frost, Faculty of Education, The International Teacher Leadership project, November 2011.
  • Ger Graus, Chief Executive of the Children's University, A University for Children, June 2011.
  • Nina Bascia, Chair of the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE), Can the Teaching Profession be an Equal Partner with Governments and Employers in Developing and Implementing Education Policies?, February 2011.

List of past Supper Seminars (2002 to 2010)

LfL - the Cambridge Network