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'Research Unlocked' symposium looks at ways to make research more accessible

The symposium panel, left to right: Geraldine O'Grady - Director of Whitefield R&D Centre; Iain Burnside, Head of Margaret Brearley School; Andrew Read - Head of Subject, Cass School of Education & Communities, University of East London; Daryl Maisey - Director of Studies, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University; Elaine Colquhoun, Executive Principal - Whitefield Academy Trust; Philip Sams, symposium chair and Director, Whitefield Academy Trust.


The power of practitioner research took centre stage at the formal unveiling of Whitefield’s refurbished Research and Development Centre this term.

Over thirty students, teachers, lecturers and educationalists from schools and universities attended an exhibition and symposium that explored the value of research generated by undergraduate and postgraduate courses and discussed the practical steps needed to ensure that these nuggets of best practice are made accessible to the widest audience.

Whitefield runs a range of education-focussed postgraduate certificate, diploma and masters programmes as well as foundation degrees in conjunction with Kingston University.   Practical research forms an important part of these courses, with students creating studies to improve children and young people's progress and enable positive outcomes in different areas of the curriculum.  The practitioner usually focusses his or her research on a specific small group of pupils, or even an individual pupil in the setting. 

The research frequently has a profound impact both on the practitioner and on the educational experience of the specific children and young people. However the symposium addressed the issue of making the information available to a wider audience.

“We know that the research often produces extremely useful insights” said Geraldine O’Grady, director of Whitefield Academy Trust’s Research and Development Centre, “however, these insights tend to remain locked away in individual theses, depriving pupils, educational professionals and carers of valuable insights. The question is, what is needed to make the information more widely available?”

A lively symposium, chaired by Philip Sams, Whitefield Academy Trust director took the first steps towards identifying ways in which the information could be collected, curated and published.

The panel comprised:

  • Geraldine O'Grady - Director of Whitefield Research & Development Centre
  • Iain Burnside, Head of Margaret Brearley School and M.A. tutor
  • Andrew Read - Head of Subject, Cass School of Education & Communities, University of East London
  • Daryl Maisey - Director of Studies, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University;
  • Elaine Colquhoun, Executive Principal - Whitefield Academy Trust

The symposium is just the first step, with further meetings set for early next year that will carry the plans forward.

Anyone interested in contributing to the development of this new research hub should contact Geraldine O’Grady, g.ogrady@whitefield.waltham.sch.uk

 

The Power of practitioner research - video

Geraldine O'Grady

Symposium Chair - Philip Sams