In February 2015, the Scottish Government launched the Scottish Attainment Challenge to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap in Scotland and improve achievement in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing for pupils living in areas of high deprivation. As part of this effort, the Scottish Council of Deans of Education were invited to develop a research agenda in the field of teacher education. In early 2018, funding was secured from the Scottish Government for a three year research programme involving representatives of eight of the institutions providing initial teacher education (ITE) across Scotland at that time.
The broad aim informing the suite of projects is to research how the sector might better prepare early career teachers (understood as final year ITE and probationer year) to work more effectively to improve literacy and numeracy attainment and health and wellbeing outcomes in schools serving pupils from SIMD 1-40 backgrounds. Under this common purpose, the research programme has three strands of activity.
Firstly, a collaborative project aimed to resource a conversation across the national sector. The project is designed as four sequential phases:
- Audit: What do we in teacher education institutions collectively do currently to support early career practitioners to work effectively with pupils from SIMD 1-40 backgrounds?
- Evaluation: Of our current practice, what do we do well and what could we do better?
- Resource: What other practice or research might assist us in our purpose?
- Reform: How can we improve teacher education so our early career teachers are more effective in improving the engagement and attainment of pupils?
Secondly, each of the eight participating schools of education are conducting a research project reflecting their particular context and priorities.
Thirdly, two PhD studentships have been funded, to be hosted by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
- In what ways could (does) your establishment encourage and support early career teachers to build capacity to improve outcomes for learners living in disadvantaged communities through engaging in practitioner enquiry?
- How does (could) your establishment collaborate with ITE partners to equip early career teachers with the tools, confidence and dispositions to engage effectively in the use of ‘educationally/ context relevant’ data to inform practice?
- What are the enablers and barriers in your establishment to early career teachers use of inclusive pedagogies which can contribute to better and more equitable outcomes for learners living in disadvantaged communities, particularly in regard to literacy and numeracy attainment and health and wellbeing?
Collaborative projects/Research questions
Progress report and response to Research Question 1: What do we in teacher education institutions collectively do currently to support early career practitioners to work effectively with pupils from SIMD 1-40 backgrounds? (December 2018)
Exploring Final Year Initial Teacher Education Students and Probationary Teachers’ Ways of Knowing and Meaning-Making through Professional Reflective Practice – University of the West of Scotland (June 2020)
The Scottish Council of Deans of Education is the body which represents Schools of Education in the universities in Scotland who contribute to initial teacher education accredited by the General Teaching Council of Scotland. The Council contributes to teaching and research in educational leadership and offers career long professional learning for teachers and other education professionals. The Council also engages in education and related research. It aims to represent these varied areas of interest and to inform education policy and practice. Schools of Education form part of Higher Education Institutions and receive their funding through a variety of sources ranging from government, industry, research councils, voluntary and non-governmental organisations, as well as from bequests and alumni. Collectively their portfolio offers programmes covering undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications up to doctoral level and a range of continuous professional learning courses and knowledge exchange opportunities.