Posted by & filed under Author blogs, New books.

by Dr Aminul Hoque

In the summer of 2004 my family went to our motherland of Bangladesh in search of self-discovery. One moment sticks in my mind. I saw that my aunts and uncles all looked worried and were muttering amongst themselves. They decided that one of my uncles make the trip from our remote village to town to purchase knives and forks, so that my siblings and I could eat the staple diet of rice and curry. My father quickly reminded my relatives that his kids were Bengali, and perfectly able to eat with their hands! One of my aunts started to laugh and replied [in Bengali], ‘You are not Bengali anymore baisaab (brother), now you are Londonis’.

This is the migrant story of non-belonging, the eternal search for a place we can call ‘home’. The East London Bangladeshi community have been in the UK for over sixty years. We are a hard-working, vibrant, law abiding and honest bunch of people. One of the key issues facing our community is the identity riddle. This is especially pertinent for the British-born generations. Who are they? Bangladeshi? British? Muslim? Londoners? East Londoners? None of these? Or a fusion of them all? Where do they get a sense of belonging and acceptance? Crucially, they were born here. They think, eat, live and breathe British (whatever that means?). They, we, are British.

The issue of non-belonging is crucial. Marginalized by some sections of mainstream British society due to ethno-cultural and religious differences, many are also excluded from the Bangladeshi community because they’ve adopted a seemingly western lifestyle. And we, as my story shows, are dismissed as British or ‘Londonis’ by fellow kin when we visit Bangladesh. So the question is: where do we go? Where is home? One 15 year old girl who speaks in my book, British-Islamic Identity: Third Generation Bangladeshis from East London, echoes this feeling – it’s like being an eternal tourist not fully belonging anywhere: ‘they keep on telling me to go back to where I came from. I was born here. I am 100 per cent British. Where is it exactly that I am supposed to go back to?’ This is the identity conundrum that weighs them down and is so intensely complex to negotiate.

The peaceful religion of Islam can help fill the identity void. Amidst the daily reality of non-belonging, poverty, Islamophobia and alienation, Islam, offers many of us a sense of peace, humanity, belonging, family and spirituality. And it offers some of us a platform for a political search for identity revolving around equality, voice, recognition and a commitment to social justice. Importantly, it helps manage the ‘who am I?’ riddle. However, for a tiny fringe minority, this sense of persecution and anger turns into something more sinister and dark.

The recent news about the three British school girls, Amira Abase, Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana – two of them Bangladeshi – going to Syria to join Isis has baffled, shocked and rocked the British nation and in particular, the community of East London. They have left behind a trail of devastation especially on their families, who are utterly traumatized. So how do we make sense of this mess? Many unanswered questions arise, chiefly, why have three of our ‘own’ gone? (When I say ‘our own’, I mean us, the British nation). The truth of the matter is that we may never know. What they have done is wrong and cannot end well. There seems to be no answer, no solution. Perhaps they have been caught up in the conundrum of non-belonging and view the violent and extreme ideology of Isis as a way out?

And let’s not forget an important factor in all of this – the girls’ ages. These are vulnerable and impressionable children, grade A students or not. They are teenagers, subject to all the uncertainty and angst that characterizes adolescence. They are also, perhaps, driven by a sense of adventure, fuelled with the bravado and exuberance of youth, and searching for a sense of belonging, purpose and excitement, and have become caught in the web of Isis propaganda of resistance and rebellion.

I don’t know. I don’t have any answers. I am as perplexed as anyone. This debate must continue.

Dr Aminul Hoque,MBE,is a lecturer in Educational Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a visiting lecturer at London Metropolitan University. British-Islamic Identity: Third Generation Bangladeshis from East London is published by Trentham Books at IOE Press and is out now. Follow Aminul on Twitter @BrIslam2015.

A version of this blog was published on the Goldsmiths, University of London website on 2nd March 2015.

Posted by & filed under Author blogs, New books.

by Dr Kate Hatton

To make arts education inclusive is a work in progress. But Is it not an area in which creative practice is encouraged and where all such variety of creative expression is allowed? Accessing art education is easy, surely, as long as you are ‘creative’?

It doesn’t always work that way.

The long-held assumptions about what constitutes art, and whose art is worthy of study, are already being widely scrutinized. And there are questions of identity in relation to higher arts education that necessitate a focus on equality and diversity: on race, gender, class, dis/ability, class, and the inter sectional nature of identity. All this got collaborative dialogue going in various arts education institutions – bringing people together to work on inclusion ideas in different fields of art.

For art education to work successfully for its diverse cohorts, students’ creative and social identities need to be understood and addressed within the curriculum. We involved students in the process of researching inclusion, as some of the chapters relate. Their research led students into journeys of discovery at London galleries as well as in the studio/lecture hall, so making art education research both inclusive and fun.

The staff in these art education settings researched ways to promote themes around the psychological and philosophical contexts of arts based learning. They engaged with key matters of exclusion and sought curriculum solutions, such as counterstorytelling, post colonial encounters, and workshop-based teaching practices. And they applied theories drawn from other disciplines, such as critical race theory and critical disability studies.

The result marks a stage in a long and essential transformation of the ways to teach art and a signposts the direction forward. Towards an Inclusive Arts Education questions the fundamental assumptions we make about the arts, about art and design education, and about students and the institutions they attend. And it postulates some answers, shaping a new approach to arts education and an exciting and original setting for new forms of creative practice to emerge, benefiting all students, the staff and the reputation of the institutions.

Dr Kate Hatton is Head of Inclusive Education Programmes at University of the Arts, London. Her book,Towards an Inclusive Arts Education, published by Trentham Books at IOE Press is out now.

Posted by & filed under Author blogs, New books.

by Dr Philip Stevens

Beware of stereotyping.

In the early 1990s my college established a new Access to Higher Education programme in Plymouth, where precious little adult learning existed. At the Open Evening we were astonished to see a queue of people stretching around the block. One of the interviewees, a heavily tattooed merchant seaman in his early 40s, spoke knowledgeably and with passion about 19th century Russian literature. His school memories were of bitter failure.

Hazel was learning to read and write at the Working Men’s College in Camden. The College diagnosed dyslexia (missed at school) and with sympathetic tutoring her improvement was so dramatic that she was able to write her own story, ‘From 2 to 2,000 Words’. You can read her story in my new book. Hazel spoke about her school with tears in her eyes.

Despite dramatic improvements in teaching in our state schools, school, for whatever reason, just doesn’t work for everyone. Most people in the UK don’t go to university and never will. The true figure for those who do remains stubbornly below 40%. Today many children are held back not by poor teaching but by poverty and disadvantage.

The Principal of an adult college outlined to me recently what she saw as a fundamental difference between schooling and ‘true education’ – and it was clear where her sympathies lay. Rita and Gerald examines some of the differences between schooling and adult learning that still persist. Over 70 students contributed an educational biography as part of the research. The results were clear – there is little correlation between achievement at school and intellectual ability.

As part of the research for the book I looked at the work of two adult providers at the heart of one of the most diverse and challenging communities in London: the Mary Ward Centre and the Working Men’s College. Both have put creativity at the heart of their adult curriculum and with tremendous success in terms of participation, retention rates and academic achievement. This visual approach to teaching and learning in Camden offers adult students, often with little English, a way into learning. Traditional text-based programmes often form a barrier. Innovations such as ‘teacher silence’, differentiated learning, and outreach work have led to students feeling safe and secure in their leaning environment.

Adults sign up to join ‘Rabble Choruses’ and to learn to make stained glass windows. Others for reasons of personal fulfilment, escape from poverty, release from mind-numbing employment, and recovery from dependency and addiction.

I leave the last words to one of the participants in the research for the book, not heavily tattooed or wearing exotic earrings but, like our merchant seaman, his school experience is best forgotten:

I am pleased to say that I will have an MSc in Forensic Psychology & Criminology conferred on me on 31 December 2013 – the highest academic award of my life. I feel privileged to have had a university education. Although I did it for myself, I also did it on behalf of all the other young people who were in my class at school who had the ability to do what I did; some would have achieved much more but sadly they did not have the opportunity.

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, New books.

by Dr Nick Hammond

November 2014. I have been invited to deliver a session on forum theatre (FT) at the British Psychological Society’s Community Psychology Festival. As I sit in the church cafeteria – that’s doubling up as an auditorium for the day – a young couple approach the stage carrying a banner which reads ‘Social Housing, not Social Cleansing’. The couple are from London’s Focus E15 Mothers, a group of campaigners who fought to save their homes after Newham Council earmarked the area for regeneration.

As the couple share their problem, one can’t help but be moved by their extraordinary endeavours. Their point was clear – ‘affordable housing is not affordable’. The solution offered? Alternative accommodation, not in their own communities but in cities as far afield as Manchester. For Focus E15 Mothers the austerity measures mean facing social segregation and community fragmentation: losing the familiarity, community cohesion and support networks of friends and family. For many children across the UK, austerity has subjected them to inadequate housing, poor food, and greater inequality of opportunity.

Children who face difficult times can often find solace and stability in school. However, many arrive unprepared for learning – some would have had insufficient sleep or food and inappropriate shelter, or be preoccupied with worry for their parents and siblings. So they might need preparation for learning before the curriculum can be effectively taught.FT_Hammond-Blog_Feb_15

While political rhetoric identifies a range of factors relevant to children’s achievement, such as school leadership and quality teachers, it fails to acknowledge the profound impact of austerity on some of society’s most vulnerable children and families. Politicians are missing the elephant in the room.

In 2013, 15.2 million work days were lost due to stress and anxiety, one of the largest causes of sickness in the UK (ONS, 2014). These are adults who have found levels of emotional distress too overwhelming for them to function effectively at work. Children too experience context-related emotional distress – yet this can often go unrecognized or be seen as an ‘excuse’ for underachievement and poor behaviour. Failing to provide a platform for children’s voices to be heard and solutions to be discussed merely contributes to the inequality and inequity children endure.

FT starts with the child: their context, views, experiences, concerns, dreams, ambitions and learning. A vehicle for the child to look inward at themselves, as well as outwards, to share their views and ideas for solutions with those who can make a difference: their teachers, families, politicians, service managers, peers and others in their community. FT allows one to get closer to the child’s lived experience, to explore issues such as austerity and the various impacts this will have on different families. Combining psychological principles, play, and a mindful facilitator, FT is a safe, collaborative and transformative method of empowering children and their communities to explore real issues to find sustainable grassroots solutions. It is an approach that doesn’t just notice the elephant in the room, but welcomes her in without fear or judgement.

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

Picture credit: Cindy Tatum, 2015.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

We’re delighted to see so many of our Trentham Books and IOE Press authors feature heavily in the Winter 2014 edition of the IOE’s ‘Alumni Life’ magazine including:

Our recent and forthcoming publications are also featured (pp.22-24):

Also featured are IOE London Blog posts by Dr Andrea Creech. One of Andrea’s co-authors of ‘Active Ageing with Music‘, Professor Sue Hallam is also featured.

Don’t forget to check out the IOE Alumni page, to find out more about Alumni events and benefits.


Posted by & filed under Events, New books, News.

Conflict Transformation through School by Dr Jeremy Cunningham was launched at University of Oxford, as well as at the UCL Institute of Education, London, where Jeremy also led a seminar about the book. Among the speakers were Dr David Johnson in Oxford and Professor Hugh Starkey and Dr Gillian Klein in London.

To order a copy, please visit the book’s webpage



Jeremy with Dr David Johnson at the book launch at the University of Oxford

Jeremy discusses his book at the book launch at the University of Oxford


Hugh Starkey introduces ‘Conflict Transformation through School’ to the UCL IOE audience


Jeremy leads the seminar about his book at the UCL IOE


Posted by & filed under Author blogs, New books.

by Steven Cowan and Tinghe Jin

The days when studying Chinese Education amounted to sifting through official pronouncements and fighting through impenetrable ideological statements are over. Education across China is definitely on the move as the government seeks to use radical changes within the schooling and university system in order to move China up to the next level, both economically and culturally.

The world is now looking at China so New Directions for Education in China will hopefully serve as a gentle introduction for anyone wishing to see what is taking place in the world’s second largest economy and as a bridge for cross-cultural intellectual, and academic interactions linking China to the rest of the world.

Readers may be surprised to learn that the country where most students learn English at school is not the USA or Nigeria but China. Lin Pan and Zimeng Pan show the reader how this explosion of learning English affects the Chinese education system and wider society.

Much is made of the isolation of China from the internet but Shuang Zeng and Ke Lin take the reader into the private worlds of internet users adapting to changing ways of accessing and using the web for educational purposes. They explore virtual civic and intellectual spaces and speculate on what such developments may hold for the future.

Readers are also offered a selected bibliography drawn mostly from books and research papers written since 2010. This will act as a useful resource for anyone seeking to expand their knowledge of contemporary trends within Chinese education. The chapter also provides links to online sources of information. English language readers may be surprised by the extent to which sources, from the ministry right down to individual schools, now publish in English.

The book grew initially from the network of the Chinese Educational Research Association (CERA), which has been led by Tinghe Jin, Ke Lin and Zimeng Pan. The hope is that the present volume will be the first in a series which keeps pace with this expanding field of research that is vastly enriched by the participation of growing numbers of Chinese post-graduate students studying in English language universities. Several papers often arise from collaborations between Chinese and British academics, working to cross national and cultural boundaries, and giving way to a stronger reality of shared study and mutual learning. Our hope is that this volume encourages others to pursue such a path.

If you would like to find out more about the next activities of CERA please contact Steven Cowan and Tinghe Jin.

Read more and order New Directions for Education in China edited by Steven Cowan, Tinghe Jin, Lucia Johnstone- Cowan and Zimeng Pan, out now.

Posted by & filed under Book of the month.


Higher Education for the Public Good

Our first featured ‘Book of the month’ is ‘Higher Education for the Public Good – Views from the South’ edited by Brenda Leibowitz.

by Dr Gillian Klein

‘The time has come for universities to take sides ­– and that side should be the public good’. These words from the Rector of Stellenbosch University, Professor Russell Botman, apply as much to western universities, including our own, as they do to his.

This book is very relevant at a time when education in the developing world is being increasingly targeted at higher rather than primary level, in pursuit of optimal public good. When the ultimate aim is the public good, the rewards can be great, benefiting the whole country and not just the graduates. But the challenges are immense.

Higher Education for the Public Good is a key text for every country that follows a programme of widening participation. This Trentham Book is published in association with SUN MeDIA in South Africa. Here, the perspective from the South gives it added value.

Editor Brenda Leibowitz and many of the contributors teach at Stellenbosch – less than 30 years ago a university for whites only. Now it is resolved to deliver first-rate education to non-standard entrants whose early schooling was hijacked by apartheid. The insights its academics offer are not easily obtainable in the North and we can learn from them. They give us an evaluative framework for a socially just institution, they explore the role of curriculum in advancing public-good education, and they identify the attributes of graduates for the public good.

Academics from four other South African universities add their views, along with others from Brunel and Anglia Ruskin universities, and from Ohio, USA and Valencia, Spain. These authors identify a pedagogy of hope in the social and allied health sciences, look at decolonizing pedagogies, and seek to cultivate global citizenship in engineering courses – all of which are conducive to education for the public good.

This feast of original, authoritative, and inspirational ideas, theories, and reflective accounts of good practice is seasoned by Mala Singh’s overview of the primacy of the public good in transforming higher education. But as she observes, such transformation ‘requires not only tenacious commitment but also clarity of conception about what is required, and the mobilization of a range of role-players around it’. This book shows the way.

Posted by & filed under Events, New books, News.

We were pleased to see so many of our authors, colleagues and friends at this lovely event.

Chris Husbands, Director of the UCL Institute of Education, along with Nicky Platt and Gillian Klein, launched seven new titles from IOE Press and Trentham Books including:

Hugh Starkey also introduced the IOE’s flagship fully Open Access journal London Review of Education.


Gillian Klein talks about the new Trentham Books publications.



Posted by & filed under Race Equality Teaching.

Chris Husbands observed in an IOE London blogpost that Michael Gove’s rhetoric was of “a failing school system with some bright lights”, while Ofsted’s evidence is “of a largely effective school system in which the great majority of schools are at least good”. Such tensions are frequently the meat of the Blog and other education commentary.

Policy-makers face a number of tough long-term challenges. Key among them are the role of schools in building community and social cohesion in an increasingly unequal society, and how to secure high levels of both excellence and equity.

Meanwhile, the new school year brings immediate challenges. These include the accountability of free schools and academies, relationships between academies and local authorities and the role of middle-tier agencies, the Department for Education’s tenuous hold on teacher supply, the morale and professional self-respect of teachers, and the reliability and independence of Ofsted.

If the new education secretary, Nicky Morgan, and other policy-makers, are to meet these challenges, they must take their legal and moral responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 seriously. These responsibilities are, emphatically, not an add-on ­– policy-makers cannot deal effectively with the challenges facing schools unless they begin with the Equality Act, and keep it at the very heart of all they do.

This argument is the basis for the special issue of the journal Race Equality Teaching published this month by IOE Press. The journal has focused for 30 years on racial inequality in educational provision but this issue, compiled by a specially convened editorial team led by Robin Richardson and Berenice Miles, also considers disability, gender, religion and belief, sexual identity and transgender issues. The articles are arranged under headings which correspond to the three needs named in Section 149 of the Equality Act: to eliminate discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity, to foster good relations. Put simply, these needs are about treating everyone the same, treating everyone differently if their differences are relevant, and helping people get on with each other.

The journal leads with an article by Sameena Choudry decrying the DFE’s failure to collect and publish relevant information as required by the Equality Act’s specific duties. She calls for the DFE to make available the data about differential outcomes relating to children’s achievement at school and thus their life-chances. Such data needs to be precise; vague categories such as ‘ethnic minority’, or ‘Asian’, or ‘Black African’, or ‘special educational needs’ are unhelpful and therefore unacceptable. Also unacceptable is the failure to reflect the significant differences between different English regions, the intersectionality of inequalities, and the impact of family income.

Choudry’s challenge to the DFE sets the context for the remaining articles, which offer informed critique of the current provision for children in education who have protected characteristics – and some inspirational examples of good practice. They include definitions of disability and special needs, a case-study of one school’s response to a student’s gender reassignment, the aspirations and needs of Pakistani Muslim children, the impact of gender stereotyping, and the long arm of Section 28 homophobia.

The introduction takes the form of an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. It makes the point at the core of this blog post: start with the Equality Act, and put it at the heart of all you do.

Gillian Klein, publisher of Trentham Books at the IOE Press, is the founding editor of Race Equality Teaching, formerly Multicultural Teaching.