Posted by & filed under Author blogs.

by Geoff Whitty

In 2005 it was my turn to deliver the British Educational Research Association (BERA) presidential address, typically a ‘state of the nation’ review for education research. I considered many topics, but an overwhelming issue for the education research community at the time was the ‘what works’ agenda and its implications for the kinds of research that would continue to command funding. After consultation with colleagues, that is what I chose to focus on. Our concern was that this agenda would narrow the discipline of education, on a false prospectus of determining policy. Actually, in our political system research evidence is just one factor among many in policy decisions – and often a relatively insignificant one at that.

At the time, the address received a mixed reception: many welcomed my defence of the breadth of our discipline, but some colleagues working in the ‘what works’ mould rejected what they saw as its premise that researchers and policymakers were necessarily on ‘different sides’. But that reading was not my intention. I simply wanted to highlight the messy and often indirect relationship between research and policy and the way in which all kinds of research could usefully input to public and policy debate about our education system – and the need for this to be reflected in research funding policy.

Ten years on, my UCL Institute of Education colleague Emma Wisby and I have revisited the BERA address as part of my new publication, Research and Policy in Education: Evidence, ideology and impact. In policy circles the cause – certainly the rhetoric – of ‘evidence-based policy’ and the corollary of ‘research for use’ has risen in prominence over the past decade. In higher education the mantra is now that of ‘research impact’. Together, they have generated a lot of noise – as well as the ‘assessment driven hyperactivity’ that Alis Oancea has written of, not least in the form of the REF impact case studies and the related industries they have spawned. Yet, many of the issues I discussed in 2005 remain unresolved. Indeed, over-claiming about the potential for evidence-based policy seems more pronounced than ever, supported by the growth of ‘what works’ advocacy.

The contribution of the Alliance for Useful Evidence and its constituent organisations has been considerable in removing the obvious barriers to bringing research, policy and practice communities closer together – including in terms of how research agendas are set and how the findings are presented. Such advocacy, however, has not typically engaged with the limitations of the research-policy relationship, other than to decry examples of ‘policy-based evidence’. As a result we have no idea of what success would look like for them; in the meantime, this shapes a particular environment for research funding policy.

To take another very practical and symbolic example of how this debate has evolved: our education system certainly needs the Education Endowment Foundation, and I welcome the part it is playing in strengthening quantitative research in education. Yet it has sometimes given the impression that all policy and practice in education needs is findings from randomised controlled trials (RCTs). It is important for education research to be able to ask other questions as well as ‘what works’, including (as is increasingly being recognised) why something works and why it works in some contexts and not in others. But it is also entirely appropriate that policy and practice should be informed by the sort of research that asks more fundamental questions or questions prevailing assumptions, including those about what a ‘just’ education involves. It seems that the argument still needs to be made for a broad church of education research and research funding that reflects this.

Research and Policy in Education examines these debates using case studies of a range of policy areas in education – initial teacher education, closing the attainment gap, widening participation and fair access in higher education, and the growing phenomenon of international policy borrowing. They show the complex ways in which evidence and ideology have interacted in English education policymaking over the past 30 years, as well as what research can tell us about the impact of some of the most important education policies of that period.

I conclude the book with a renewed plea for maintaining a broad conception of education research, including discipline-based research on education. And in the final chapter I reassert the importance of my own discipline, the sociology of education, as an essential resource for making sense of contemporary education policy and informing the public mind on education. We need a more sophisticated debate about the relationship between research and policy and I hope this book provides a catalyst for just that.

Research and Policy in Education: Evidence, ideology and impact, by Geoff Whitty with Jake Anders, Annette Hayton, Sarah Tang and Emma Wisby, is published by UCL IOE Press.

We held a successful book launch with Blackwell’s at the IOE Bookshop on Monday 7th March, 2016 along with the launch of Equity, Trust and the Self-improving Schools System by Richard Riddell, published by Trentham Books at UCL IOE Press. We were delighted that Professor Becky Francis, Director Designate of the UCL Institute of Education and Professor Tim Brighouse, former Commissioner for London Schools, both spoke warmly about our books at this event. This blog was first published on the 24th February 2016 on the IOE London blog.

Posted by & filed under Events.


Geoff Whitty and Richard Riddell cordially invite you to their joint book launch of:

Research and Policy in Education: Evidence, ideology and impact


Equity, Trust and the Self-improving Schools System

Speakers: Tim Brighouse and Becky Francis

 5.00 pm, Monday, 7 March 2016

Blackwell’s Bookshop, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Drinks and nibbles provided

Please rsvp by Monday, 29 February 2016 to

Download invitation and book flyer

Posted by & filed under Advice columns.

As an editor for an academic publisher, I spend a lot of time working with authors to ensure all of their references and bibliographies in their publications are correct, complete and consistent. Even the most experienced academics find that they’ve spelled an author’s name inconsistently or that they’ve forgotten to add a page reference for a direct quotation.

There was a time when missing one of these tiny details involved a dispiriting trip to a library to dig out a book or article and check one little thing. But times have changed. These days, you can find almost any bibliographic detail without ever leaving your desk. Here I’ve compiled a list of common problems with referencing and how to solve them using the Internet.

Problem: I’ve spelled an author’s name two different ways and I don’t know which is correct.

Solution: This is usually as simple as googling the title of the book or article. Type the entire name of the publication into your search box and enclose it in double quotation marks. Use a colon between titles and subtitles. Your first search results will probably be from Amazon or, for a journal article, that journal publisher’s website. These will usually be reliable sources for the information you need.

Problem: I’m missing key bibliographic details from a book, such as the publication year, place of publication or publisher.

Solution: Go to the British Library’s website at Search their main catalogue for your book. All of these details will be on the book’s catalogue record.

Problem: I have a direct quotation and I have no idea where I got it from!

Solution: Take one sentence from the direct quotation and copy it into your Google search box, being sure to enclose it in double quotation marks. Your search results will show you anywhere else on the Internet that that sentence has been written. If it’s been quoted by someone else in an online article, you can check their bibliography to find your reference. Or sometimes, actual excerpts from a book will be available on Google Scholar, and the book’s bibliographic details will be available there.

Problem: I’m not sure if I’ve quoted this source correctly or I don’t know the page number.

Solution: Use the method above, but also add the title of the source to your search in a separate set of quotation marks. If the quote is from a journal, you will usually be able to access the full text of the article online if you’re logged on to your university’s network.

Problem: I’ve quoted from an online source, but now the URL (web address) I got it from no longer works!

Solution: Once again, googling a unique sentence from your quote, or the title of the page or article you are citing, in double quote marks, should help you find the source if it still remains anywhere on the Internet. You can also try using the Wayback Machine, an internet archive which aims to save all web pages ever, at Always record your access date for webpages. That way, if the source is really gone for good, it is acceptable to affirm that the source was there when you used it.

To find out more about publishing with us, visit our Information for Authors page.


Nicole Edmondson is Managing Editor at IOE Press. She has worked in academic publishing for 8 years and has a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Posted by & filed under News.

Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses has been reviewed in the prestigious Journal of Vocational Education & Training

John Field writes

‘… this book presents a radical alternative agenda for the further education (FE) sector in Britain. The sector’s budget in England was reduced by 14% under the coalition, with further cuts already planned. The Scottish Government and Welsh Government have similarly treated FE as an ideal way of making savings. All this in a sector that has been steadily nudged towards the market, and whose functions and purposes have altered steadily, since the 1980s. … To describe FE as a ‘Cinderella sector’ has become a cliché, and it is one that the contributors to this book refuse to share. Informed by a shared background in FE teaching, and often active in trade unions and other movements, their goal is to prompt a debate about resistance and freedom in education, subverting what they see as neo-liberal managerialism in the governance and administration of FE, and expanding their and their students’ autonomy in learning and teaching. … In a sense, the contributions set out a series of arguments for a shared democratic professionalism. Some stay on the terrain of critique of what is rather than venturing too far down the path of an alternative future. … For me, though, the best chapters look less at what is and more at what might be. …This is a cracking book, and anyone who loves what FE at its best can be and do will find it both inspirational and useful. … its main purpose is to intervene and breathe fire into the current debate over FE in England, and in this it succeeds admirably.’

Edited by Maire Daley, Kevin Orr and Joel Petrie with a preface by Frank Coffield, this collection challenges the deficit ‘Cinderella’ metaphor and replaces it with another of the Brothers Grimm’s tales, the ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’. The twelve princesses escape from the room they are locked in to dance all through each night. As a metaphor for teaching in FE, this tale suggests the possibility of subversion, of autonomy in teaching and learning, and a collective rather than individualist notion of professionalism, even within repressive contexts. A Trentham Book at IOE Press.

Buy Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the IOE Press website.

You can read the full review and subscribe to the journal on the publisher’s website.


Posted by & filed under News.

Children’s Literature in Multilingual Classrooms has been reviewed in the prestigious Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education.

Angelpreet Singh and Diane Dagenais from Simon Fraser University write:

‘This book provides a wealth of information on a range of projects, including exemplary collaborative action research projects, where more than one language is used and plurilingual repertoires are seen as a resource for reading and writing. The fascinating descriptions of pedagogical innovations offer an expanded view of language choice in literacy instruction and provide concrete details that can guide future research and educational practice … This is an important book aimed primarily at teachers, teacher educators, and graduate students, but it is also an inspiring resource for anyone interested in minority language learners’ use of their first language in educational contexts … [It] compels us to move forward by thinking deeply about concrete ways of fostering relationships among learners, their languages and the languages of their communities. We highly recommend this book to all readers who are seeking new possibilities for literacy work in multilingual settings.’

Edited by Christine Hélot, Raymonde Sneddon and Nicola Daly, this collection explores new forms of pedagogy and presents inspiring examples, such as the ‘Little Books’, that teachers can adapt to the circumstances and interests of all the children in their classrooms.

Buy Children’s Literature in Multilingual Classrooms from the IOE Press website.

The full review article is available for purchase on the journal publisher’s website.


Posted by & filed under News.


PRESS RELEASE: Wednesday 16 September 2015

IOE Press, UCL Institute of Education


The potential benefits of the Pupil Premium for children from low-income families were counterbalanced by other policies, says a new analysis published in the London Review of Education’s wide-ranging investigation of the Coalition Government’s impact on education policy and practice

In their paper, Professor Ruth Lupton and Dr Stephanie Thomson of the University of Manchester demonstrate that the Pupil Premium, championed by the former Coalition Government as their ‘most important lever’ in reducing the impact of inequalities on educational outcomes has, overall, distributed more money to schools with poorer intakes.

The Pupil Premium was a key programme for the 2010–15 Coalition Government, and was championed by then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as a ‘flagship’ policy. But Lupton and Thomson’s research, published in a special issue of the London Review of Education examining the impact of Coalition policies on the sector, shows its potential benefits have been counterbalanced by a wider set of policies. These include cuts to welfare benefits and services which have disadvantaged low-income families and children.

The authors also argue that broader education policies including changes to GCSE assessment and cuts to school building plans for poorer areas may also act against children from low-income families.

‘Aspiring future governments with intentions to reduce inequalities in school outcomes surely need to see the problem “in the round”,’ say Lupton and Thomson, ‘taking into account family poverty and the mainstream activities of schools as well as additional interventions funded through supplementary funding streams.’ The paper complements a previous review of the Coalition’s schools policies published by the London School of Economics.

This special issue of the London Review of Education contains 14 articles of critical analysis and reflection by key academics and professionals on the impact of the 2010–2015 Coalition Government’s radical, reforming approach to education policy. It is introduced by Professor Chris Husbands, Director of the UCL Institute of Education.

Themes in Lupton and Thomson’s paper are picked up elsewhere. Professor Toby Greany (UCL Institute of Education) notes that ‘the Coalition’s conflicting policy narratives’ have undermined ‘the development of a self-improving, school-led system in which local authorities should become “champions for children”’, while Professor Eva Lloyd (University of East London) sees a similar disconnect between early years policy and social welfare strategies. Continuing inequality of access to qualifications and subjects at Key Stage 4 is identified by Meenakshi Parameshwaran and Dave Thomson (Education Datalab) despite the introduction of new performance tables.

The other articles investigate:

  • governance frameworks in England, with an increase shown in central government’s influence on schools and decline of local authorities (Professor Anne West, LSE)
  • the impact of the Coalition Government’s policies for: initial teacher training (Dr Jennie Golding, UCL Institute of Education); primary education (Professor Mark Brundrett, Liverpool John Moores University); education and training (Professor Patrick Ainley, University of Greenwich); higher education (Dr Paul Temple, UCL Institute of Education); and careers education (Dr Charlotte Chadderton, University of East London)
  • ‘fairness’ or otherwise of the fees for university students (Dr Helen Carasso, University of Oxford and Andrew Gunn, University of Leeds)
  • the impact of the Coalition’s approach to ‘Fundamental British Values’ and recommendations for the future (Robin Richardson, Insted Consultancy)
  • the difficult evolution of a dual role for Jobcentre Plus work coaches as both careers advisers and benefit enforcers, with recommendations for change (Dr Gabriella Cagliese, University of Greenwich and Dr Denise Hawkes, UCL Institute of Education)
  • the character of a campaigning Education Secretary: Anthony Crosland and Michael Gove in historical perspective (Dr Mike Finn, Liverpool John Moores University).

Notes for editors

  • The London Review of Education is an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal based at the UCL Institute of Education and edited by Professor Hugh Starkey. It is published three times a year by IOE Press and available on the ingentaconnect journals platform
  • The special Coalition issue, titled ‘Education policy under the 2010–15 UK Coalition Government: Critical perspectives’ (vol. 13, no. 2), will be published on 18 September 2015.
  • Professor Ruth Lupton has made a short video introducing the research. It is available on the journal website.
  • Previews of articles contained in the issue are available on request.
  • The Lupton and Thomson work builds on the Social Policy in a Cold Climate reports published by the London School of Economics in 2013 and 2015, which were funded by the Nuffield Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Trust for London.

For more information, contact: Pat Gordon-Smith, Managing Editor Journals, IOE Press; Nicky Platt, Publisher, IOE Press 07771 356255

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

 Here are some of the recent press and review for our books this year. Don’t forget to check out the IOE Press Media page for all the latest news and reviews about our books, events and authors, and follow us on Twitter: @IOE_Press






Posted by & filed under Author blogs, Events.

by Dr Philip Stevens

Malcolm Williams changed his life. In his late 20s, he was working in a sheet metal factory on the North Circular Road. Within a few years he was Head of Department at one of the largest Further Education (FE) colleges in London. His intellectual interests developed alongside his career and a PhD followed, as did a fine appreciation of the intricacies of modern jazz. Evening classes at East London College sparked the transformation of this young Londoner.

Shanti Skeggs, a young Londoner who has a learning disability, wrote,

“My confidence still dips but it is a work in progress … I just get on with it to get where I would like to be. My education has changed me as a person in so many ways. It is the chance to do my very best and never give up no matter how hard it gets. I hated school it was very disheartening and I thought I had no future!”

Fully recovered from her harrowing school experience, Shanti now works at the Mary Ward Centre in London, and continues to follow her passions of photography and music.

The notion of transformation lies at the heart of adult education and is one of its principal aims. The life stories of 150 adult learners from six major adult colleges – the basis of the research of my latest book, Rita and Gerald: Adult learning in Britain today confirm this claim. With the research completed and book published, I have begun to think further about the students’ assertion that their lives have been transformed by their late educational experience. Almost all the students at every level from English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to higher degree study state this claim.

The students are encouraged to change by the providing institutions. One of the six institutions, Ruskin College, specifically states that its aim is to:

“Provide educational opportunities to adults who are excluded and disadvantaged, and to transform the individuals concerned along with the communities, groups and societies from which they come.”

Ruskin has succeeded in its ambitious aim and the transformational element is key to the college’s mission. Ambitious it might be but is clearly justified on the basis of the evidence – student testimony. Almost all adult students in the research for Rita and Gerald say their new educational experience has changed the way they look at the world and altered their lives in the most radical way. This is the case regardless of gender, class, or social background. If we accept all of this is true; that adult education transforms lives, it raises some important questions I am keen to explore. For example, just what is it that is being transformed? How does adult education assist in achieving the transformation? Lastly, what is it to say that someone’s life has been transformed?

To accept that adult learning is capable of transforming lives, is surely to admit that things are not quite right in a student’s life, that all is not right with their world. That person may feel a degree of alienation, frustration, a desire to be understood in a world of misunderstanding, or a lack of fulfillment. Some students even expressed a sense of anger as the driving force behind their decision to begin a course of study – anger at their school experience or, as in the case of many women students, being forced to accept outmoded views of a woman’s right to education.

Philosophers down the centuries have explored the idea that we can become alienated from what Marx called our ‘species being’, an over-complex term for realizing our full potential, or being as good as we can be. In this argument many of us feel alienated and are fully conscious that this is the case. Adult learning can provide a space in which students can begin to flourish and become fully conscious of themselves. Our research confirms this is how many adult students view their new study experience.

One of the ways adult colleges approach teaching students to become more self-aware is by providing creative opportunities for students to think. Image-based rather than text-based subjects offer a path to learning when students have language difficulties or have been put off by text-based learning at school – of course this does not preclude students making progress through more traditional learning methods. The artist, Mohammed Ali, argues that self-expression through creative activity enables people to claim a space for themselves to think and reflect on their experience. This is what adult learning can do by helping students to find a language through which they can express themselves in ways previously denied to them.

The outcomes of adult learning are habitually framed in terms of economic benefit or as some kind of generalised, community interest. Nor does the idea of transforming lives rest on claims for political education or social advancement, although it might involve both of these things. Transformation is about how adult education helped people like Malcolm Williams and Shanti Skeggs and thousands of others to change their lives by reconnecting with the world in the most dramatic fashion. We need to understand the process which underpins their achievements.


Dr Philip Stevens was a firefighter before returning to education as a mature student in the 1970s. Since then he has had a long career in adult education, where over many years he gathered the stories of learning that form the backbone of this book. Read more and order Rita and Gerald: Adult learning in Britain today out now from Trentham Books@IOE Press.

Posted by & filed under Author blogs, Author Q & A, Events, News.

Following the recent success of Nick Hammond’s Forum Theatre workshops at the IOE, he told us more about the concept of FT and why the workshops are so important.

Q1. Please tell us a little about your background in working with Forum Theatre and what motivated you to write this book.

Nick: My background before studying for my first degree in psychology was in multimedia arts, including film making and radio broadcasting. During my psychology studies I became interested in combining the science of psychology with a range of art forms, and thought about how this process could be transformative for adults and children seeking psychological support. So I began apprenticeship-type training and paid work with various exciting theatre makers such as the Wolf and Water Arts Company. I had the privilege to work with some incredible drama practitioners and psychologists, such as dramatherapist Penny McFarlane and psychologist Peter Jones. These experiences introduced me to a variety of art forms, but it was Forum Theatre which captured my imagination the most. I continued to study Augusto Boal’s work and the links between his ideas and psychology, pedagogy, sociology and politics during my master’s degree and then for my doctorate. This accumulated to shape an enriched, hybrid form of Forum Theatre which I present in my book Forum Theatre for Children. In the book I build upon and vastly expand Boal’s suggestions for the psychological processes underpinning Forum Theatre. I propose evidence-based frameworks that explain the psychological processes that make Forum Theatre for Children safe, efficient and potentially transformative. But I also thoroughly explain the Forum Theatre process – how this can be facilitated, points for consideration and even potential future research questions.

Q2. Why Forum Theatre for Children?

Nick: There are a number of reasons. Firstly, if we consider Forum Theatre as inherently political – it aims to magnify challenges and help individuals and communities overcome these through a range of conventions – but children may be considered as having limited political agency. There is, then, a clear disparity between FT’s aims and this specialist sub-group and this raises a questions, such as: how do we reduce or – better still – overcome this disparity? How do we engage parents and communities which are important to children? How can we empower children to have voice, explore issues that matter deeply to them and contribute constructively to decisions which affect their lives? I think these are all very important questions – yet there hardly any literature on the use of ‘theatre of the oppressed’ models such as Forum Theatre specifically with children. And much of the generic drama literature, including that by authorities on forum theatre leave out the really important considerations for young people, such as de-role and aftercare. I devote a whole chapter in my book to de-role and aftercare, not just to reflect their great importance but because working with children requires special care and attention. This is where I use psychological theory to show how such work can be safe and accessible for children. But the book goes even further, because it explores how Forum Theatre can be used to support children to develop social skills, emotional well-being and creative problem-solving skills – all highly relevant to education and society as a whole.

Although Forum Theatre has long been claimed to be a therapeutic approach (and potentially a form of therapy), this is the first book that presents psychological frameworks within which the work can be used safely. The book makes psychology and drama accessible to those who are unfamiliar with either or both disciplines.

Q3. You’ve just finished some Forum Theatre for Children workshops at the IOE. How did you find the experience?

Nick: Exhilarating! The participants were genuinely fabulous. The book has been five years in the making from starting the research to seeing the finished product, so at last meeting readers, hearing their questions, discussing the work and how it can be adapted into their own practice has been amazing. I’ve really enjoyed meeting everyone who attended. To see people buying my book and even signing a few copies on request has been a great privilege and quite humbling. I feel blessed to have met some incredible people who have been willing to share this experience with me.

Q4. The workshops were very popular. What did you hope to achieve in them?

Nick: I hoped to provide the participants with two key experiences: an overview of the FT process and a training session on some of the drama activities used and the psychological theory that underpinned the use of such approaches. This was a tall order in many respects as I was essentially condensing 20 hours’ work or more down to a day, or even half a day. So, my aim really was to provide a summary introduction so the participants would be able to discover more in the book. I also wanted the opportunity to discuss the work and answer questions from real readers and drama workers. This was really important for me as the work is experiential and I wanted to offer another level of interactivity for the potential readers. For those who couldn’t attend, I was delighted to have a film crew capture the workshops for a short online video which will be released soon.

Q5. What are your plans for the future? Will you run more Forum Theatre workshops at IOE?

Nick:Yes, I’m hoping to arrange more workshops at the IOE in the Autumn, as they were such a success. Forum Theatre for Children has set the foundations for future research in the area. I would certainly hope to remain a part of that ongoing exploration. I have Forum Theatre for Children workshops scheduled in for Yorkshire, Humberside and Devon – so I am looking forward to running those and meeting more people later this year. I’ve met some great people through the IOE workshops and have already started discussing the possibility of developing a network of multi-disciplinary practitioners to continue developing practice and research in this area. I hope that some time in the future another book might emerge which will extend the work further – whatever shape that might take. For now, I’m enjoying the moment, giving interviews like this one, meeting new people and, in between, taking a well deserved rest!

Dr Nick Hammond is an educational and child psychologist, and author of Forum Theatre for Children: Enhancing social, emotional and creative development which is out now from Trentham Books@IOE Press.

Follow Nick on Twitter @indigomaverick