Education systems: research and change

Two new publications from Policy Scotland’s Director Chris Chapman focus on the role of research and researchers in changing education systems to improve equity and opportunity for learners.

Two children - a boy, and a girl with her back to the camera - doing homework with pens and paper at a dining room table.

Using research to promote equity within education systems

The freely available research article Using research to promote equity within education systems: Possibilities and barriers is the result of collaboration between Professor Chris Chapman and Emeritus Professor Mel Ainscrow from the Manchester Institute of Education.

The article considers how research and researchers can contribute to system change by using research evidence to influence policymakers and practitioners at all levels of the system.

It provides an evaluative account of its authors’ involvement in three major national improvement initiatives in the UK, which were focused on the promotion of educational equity. The analysis compares evidence collected from an insider perspective with data generated through independent evaluations, and argues that this requires the coming together of different perspectives in a process of social learning and knowledge creation within particular settings.

The authors argue that this means that researchers have to overcome a number of barriers related to social, cultural and political factors and have to develop skills in creating collaborative partnerships that span boundaries between actors who have different types of professional experience. Researchers also need to mobilise support in dealing with the pressures that this involves.

The conclusion presents a strategic framework that can be used to think about how school systems can be helped to make better use of research knowledge.

Read the article in the British Educational Research Journal

Changing Education Systems

Changing Education Systems: A Research-based Approach is written by Mel Ainscow, University of Manchester; Christopher Chapman, University of Glasgow; and Mark Hadfield, Cardiff University.

The book draws on the authors’ extensive experiences as researchers, policy advisors and influencers, and offers key insights on how to promote equity within education systems.

Exploring three large-scale national reform programmes, the book:

  • Presents a series of propositions that are the basis of a research-based approach to system change
  • Explains the creation of relationships in which academic researchers collaborate in the process of development
  • Considers smaller place-based projects that are set within policy contexts dominated by the idea of market forces as a strategy for improvement
  • Explores the steps needed to overcome locally specific barriers

The book is intended to be useful for policymakers and practitioners involved in educational reforms, as well as to researchers wishing to contribute to and learn from such developments.

The book will be published in November 2019 and can be pre-ordered from the Routledge website. For a 20% discount use the code FLR40.

Changing Education Systems: a Research-based Approach

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