Category Archives: educational transformation

Seminar Series: Learning to learn from a Confucian perspective – Insight from China – 9/10/2014

Our next seminar will be presented by Dr Kai Ren on the topic of “Learning to learn from a Confucian perspective”. This will offer an insight from China and will be of interest to people who are doing international comparative research, research about learning to learn, and those who have teaching or supervision relationships with learners with a Confucian culture background.

When: Thursday 9th October 2014 @ 12:00 – 13:15
Place: Room 2.26, the Graduate School of Education, 35 Berkley Sq, Bristol. BS8 1JA

Seminar abstract:

Confucian ideas on learning have impacted generations of learners in China and the Far East for over 2000 years.  However, there is scant literature both internationally and domestically that investigates the connections between Confucian learning theory and learning to learn and how these connections can enlighten policy and practice. The seminar presents a critical review of Confucian thinking about learning to learn and how it has influenced the way the Chinese learn from past to present, as well as of its implications for educational policy and practice. It draws on a literature review and qualitative data from interviews with learners. It aims to explain how the Confucian conceptualization of learning to learn as ‘learning to conduct oneself, to think and do, and to enjoy learning for life’ has contributed to the lifelong learning culture in China, and discuss its implications for promoting learning to learn worldwide.

Biography of the presenter:

Kai _RenKai Ren is a post-doctoral researcher and Senior Lecturer at School of Education, China Shaanxi Normal University. He is also a member of the learning power research team at Graduate School of Education, Bristol University. Kai’s research focuses on learning to learn and how it relates to people’s identities and stories.

This is a public event and everyone is welcome to join us. For further information please contact

Prof Tony Bryk – Master Class and Public Lecture – 21st May 2014

Tony Bryk masterclassProf Tony Bryk (President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching).  He will be providing a one day masterclass, followed by a public lecture on the Design-Educational Engineering and Development (DEED) approach to school improvement.

Masterclass Details:


Where:  Systems Centre, Knowledge Exchange Suite, Merchant Venturers Building, BS8 1UB

When: Wednesday 21st May 2014 09:30 – 16:00

Flyer:  Tony Bryk masterclass

Tony Bryk masterclass
Professor Anthony Bryk will be facilitating a Master class for leading practitioners in the Design-Educational Engineering and Development (DEED) approach to school improvement. This improvement research allows systems to address shared complex problems with all stakeholders, rapidly prototyping improvements and harnessing the emerging collective intelligence to facilitate organisational learning. The Master class will communicate the key ideas of DEED as an improvement science and will provide opportunities for participants to explore its application to particular complex issues drawn from education.

To book:

Public Lecture Details:


Where:  Systems Centre, Knowledge Exchange Suite, Merchant Venturers Building, BS8 1UB

When: Wednesday 21st May 2014 17:00 – 19:00

Flyer:  Tony Bryk final

Tony Bryk finalProfessor Anthony Bryk (President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) will be presenting the Design-Educational Engineering and Development (DEED) approach to school improvement. This powerful organisational process allows the whole system to address shared complex problems with all stakeholders, rapidly prototyping improvements and harnessing collective intelligence to facilitate organisational learning and sustainable improvement.

Flyer:  Tony Bryk final

To book:

Seminar Series: The End of Leadership? The Changing landscape of School Leadership in England – 11/03/2014

Our next seminar will presented by Prof. John West-Burnham and Prof. Howard Green on

Tuesday 11th March 2014 @ 17:00 – 18:15 in Room 4.10 @ the Graduate School of Education, Berkley Sq. Bristol. BS8 1JA

Seminar abstract:

This interactive seminar will consider the changing context and expectations of school leaders in England over the last 30 years and raise issues for the future focusing on these underlying questions:

  1.  Why do schools need leadership? What is the purpose of leadership?
  2. How should school leadership be exercised? Who leads?
  3. What is the significance of the current policy changes in education for school leadership development? What are the challenges for the future?

Howard Green will explore the first two questions by contrasting the experience of school leadership in the 1980’s with the changes of the last 20 years and, particularly, the impact of a target driven culture in schools. Case studies will include a comparison of the National Standards for Headteachers in England with the new Framework for Principal Development in China.

John West-Burnham will then offer a critique of the fundamental assumptions underpinning much of the prevailing discourse about leadership in particular the presumption of hierarchy and the nature of power and authority in school leadership.

The seminar will be interactive with opportunities for participants to share their own experiences and reflect on the issues and implications surrounding the development of effective leaders. An area of particular significance will be the implications of the emergence of multi-academy groups and Teaching School Alliances, the relatively new roles of Executive Headteacher and Chief Executive, the emergence of the concept of the self-improving school system and the changing role of the National College for Teaching and Learning.

Download the flyer for this event:

March 2014 Seminar CSLL: The End of Leadership?

SLL Seminar Richard Clutterbuck Headteacher of the Bristol Free School

Date: 20th November 2013 at 1700hrs at the GSoE, Bristol.

Our next SLL Seminar will be led by Richard Clutterbuck who is the headteacher of the Bristol Free School, one of the first wave of free schools which opened in 2011.

The conclusion to the schools first OFSTED report stated that:

“The school’s groundbreaking development has been handled with exceptional skill and confidence by the trustees, governors and Headteacher. In a short time they have established a school with a strong reputation in the local community. The founding parents’ aim of stopping the wide dispersal of pupils around and beyond the city at the end of their primary years is being achieved, as a high percentage of Year 6 pupils from feeder primaries now put this school as a first choice”.

Richard, will give a potted history of the reasons for the Creation of Bristol Free School.  He will also provide an overview of the both the challenges and the successes he and his team have faced in the last two years.

This promises to be a lively and stimulating discussion.

2013 SCLL Seminar Series: Richard Clutterbuck – Bristol Free School

A date to put in your diary:

As part of the SCLL seminar series we will be joined by Richard Clutterbuck, Head of the Bristol Free School, joining us to deliver a seminar on his experiences, achievements and challenges in setting up the free school.

Where: GSoE Bristol

When 20th November 2013

Time 1700 – 1830

More details to follow.

2013 SCLL Seminar Series: Leadership, Learning and Social Justice

We are kicking off the new seminar series in style with two Visiting Professors, John West-Burnham and Howard Green both associated with the SCLL

Where:  GSoE Bristol

When: 30th October 2013

Time 1700-1830

The seminar is in connection with the wider Theme of Learning Societies within the GSoE.

This seminar will explore the issues and implications of seeing education, and leadership in education, as key protagonists in the search for social justice and equity as essential elements of democratic society.

The central question might be phrased on the lines of “To what extent is it the role of educators to become socially active in addressing issues of social disadvantage and working to ameliorate the negative influence of a divided and divisive society?”

The seminar will start with the exchange of ideas relating to the nature of social justice, equity in society and the moral and professional duty of leaders. The facilitators will then offer perspectives on social justice in practice at local, national and international levels.

One of the emerging themes to be explored is the model of leadership that emerges from seeing schools as agents of social change and a means of securing equity and extending democracy.

This is the first in the series which will also include:

March 2013 (date TBA) – The End of Leadership? The changing landscape of school leadership in England

W/c May 19th – Tony Bryk – details to be confirmed

June  2013 (date TBA) – Leadership to create learning communities; tackling complex issues; evidence-informed innovation to raise standards

More information on the later talks as details become finalised.

SLL Seminar: Design, Educational Engineering and Development: Professional Learning and School Improvement

The SCLL Centre will be finishing the year on a high note with its final seminar for the year:


Design, Educational Engineering and Development:  Professional Learning and School Improvement

When:  Monday 15th July 2013 @ 17:00-18:30

Where: Room 2.10 Graduate School of Education, Berkley Sq. Bristol. BS8 1JA


oasis kids oasis academyOasis Academy John Williams identified student engagement in learning as a key target for system wide improvement. However student engagement is a complex problem to which there is no single, easy solution.

This seminar reports on an exciting experiment to engage a cohort of middle and senior teachers in their own accredited professional enquiries into student engagement through rapid prototyping: test fast – fail fast and early – learn and improve. The findings suggest meaningful, accredited professional learning aligned to local organisational leadership imperatives for change could be a powerful model of joint practice development. The school is harnessing the collective intelligence from their first prototype using the Evidence Hub for Systems Learning and Leadership ( and plan to continue next year in six month cycles.

Students, Teachers, the Principal and Executive Principal will present their experiences of the project, demonstrating what they have learned and how they are learning it, including their use of the Evidence Hub. There will be contributions from Dr Ruth Deakin Crick, Graduate School of Education and Professor Simon Buckingham Shum, Open University.

Contact damian.stoupe (usual @ sign) for more information and/or download the seminar flyer:  Professional Learning and School Improvement

To register your interest in the event and book a place click here

CSLL Seminar Series: Modelling Learning Dynamics – Shaofu Huang

Click below to see the seminar  given by Shaofu on in April

Modelling Learning Dynamics in an Authentic Pedagogic Setting


CSLL Seminar:John Scott – Transforming Tertiary Education in Bahrain

Speaker:  John Scott

Date: 16th May 2013

Where:  Room 2.26, GSoE

John Scott will talk about the bold initiative led by the Crown Prince, Prince Salman and the Economic Development Board (EDB) to transform tertiary education in Bahrain. In the four years prior to the uprisings in 2010 Bahrain Polytechnic was mandated to provide education built on world-class models.

A concept of a universal curriculum built on problem-based learning was developed to provide students and employers with three transcripts from

• Academic Performance and skill,

• Profile as determined by the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory [ELLI] and

• Graduate profile in terms of Employability Skills

The seminar will explore the educational rationale and the development work that led to the introduction of the Employability Skills Graduate Profile in Bahrain and will outline the model that was implemented.

John Scott was appointed the founding CEO of Bahrain Polytechnic  from its inception in 2008 until his resignation in March 2012. He was responsible for the New Zealand led proposal, which won the contract in late 2006, and developed the educational pedagogy that underpinned the design of the polytechnic both educationally and physically.  He began his career as a primary school teacher before moving into the secondary school system as a counsellor in 1976. In 1978 he became a tutor and counsellor in the Community College System in New Zealand before being appointed the founding Director/CEO of Wanganui Community Polytechnic in 1983 and then CEO of Christchurch Polytechnic (CPIT) in 1993, a position he held until “retiring” in 2006 and moving to his position in Bahrain. After 27 years leading tertiary educational institutions, he currently works as an educational consultant.

Transforming tertiary education in Bahrain – John Scott – 16 May 2013

SCLL Seminar Series: Practical Wisdom and the good RE Teacher

When:  12th June 2013

Time:  17:00 – 18:15

Where:  Rm 2.17, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol

Who:  Dr Janet Orchard and Dr Hugo Whatley


Practical wisdom and the good RE teacher: possibilities for change to ITT in RE in England


This study argues for a new approach to Secondary ITT/E in RE in England, drawing on evidence compiled from a combination of empirical and philosophical research methods.  The study describes and analyses the double bind currently facing providers of ITT in RE. The status of RE is being down graded, while the established place of ITT in the university is being challenged by reforms to the sector as a whole. Overall, allocated places have been reduced radically and several courses have already closed.

We agree that radical change is needed but question the particular direction current proposals for change are taking. We argue that the account of the good teacher assumed in policy documents, which justify those changes, is unrealistically and unhelpfully ‘thin’. We find the notion of the good subject teacher which ITT in RE providers offer (constructed from their answers to questionnaires and semi-structured interviews and checked against the perceptions of a subject-specific focus group), to be much ‘thicker’ and more helpful. We note the additional demands these higher expectations place, not only on initial teacher training but ongoing subject specific professional development, and agree with the assessment of the RE Council for England and Wales in 2011 that longstanding shortages in high quality CPD in RE have affected standards in the subject.

However, even the richer account of the good RE teacher from providers seems relatively “thin” when held against conceptions of the good teacher being articulated in an emerging literature in teacher education and the philosophy of education. Rooted in the Aristotelian tradition, this model assumes that it is “practical wisdom” which distinguishes the very best teachers from others; we sketch the good RE teacher who combines high levels of technical competence, theoretical and academic rigor, as well as the capacity to make sound moral decisions to their regular classroom practice. We conclude by outlining the kind of ITT and CPD that practically wise RE teachers need, thus demonstrating why current policy changes and even established notions of best professional practice fall short of the genuinely ‘world class’ education system English young people need.