Summer 2018 – England’s Mathematics Curriculum Reform: Lessons from East Asia
In 2014, the Department for Education (DfE) published the ‘new’ National Curriculum ‘Programmes of Study’, to be taught in maintained schools across England. Discourse around the new curriculum reform between politicians and other stakeholders in education attracted much media attention. This paper explores why the reform was implemented (arguing that the starting point of this reform corresponds with the economic crisis of 2008, and the results of Programme for International School Assessment (PISA) results from 2006). I discuss the implementation process and ideas surrounding East Asia as holding the ‘silver bullet’ for mathematics education, as exemplified by Nick Gibb’s quote: “The maths teachers of Shanghai have the perfect formula” (2015a). I argue more longitudinal and independent studies and reviews are needed across a wider range of sample settings to understand the impact of the reform, and discuss the issues surrounding trying to empirically isolate and measure the impact of any curriculum reform on children’s attainment. This is particularly pertinent during times of much change within the UK’s education system. I conclude the research by drawing together my analyses and offering recommendations for the reform’s future and sustained success.
Specific themes: curriculum reform, mathematics, curriculum, PISA tests, East Asia, Singapore, Shanghai, maths mastery, policy-borrowing,
Summer 2017 – Increasing the Capabilities of ‘New Arrival’ Mothers within UK Education Contexts
This research paper focuses on the experiences of ‘New Arrival’ families into the UK and their involvement and interaction with educational institutions. I am looking at the role of the child, the school and the society in increasing the capabilities and confidence of ‘New Arrival’ mothers and the impact this would have on the child’s educational outcomes and on wider society.
Specific themes: gender, mothers, women, new arrivals, migrant populations, capability approach, EAL learners, ethnic-minority achievement.
Spring 2017 – Using Culturally Responsive Research Methodologies to Analyse Ethnic-Minority Achievement in English Schools
This research paper critically analysed research into ethnic-minority achievement in schools in the UK and looked to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches commonly used within this field. I particularly focused on the use of national end-of-Key-Stage test-score data using statistical analysis techniques, and the use of local-level small sample case studies. I argued that a mixed-method approach could draw on the strengths of both of these research designs, and advocate for national data to be analysed as a whole, but to be supplemented with cross-sectional, qualitative, case-studies to be completed for a sample of the subjects, to ensure conclusions drawn are representative of different demographics.
Specific themes: research methods, statistical analysis, ethnic-minority achievement, EAL learners, migrant populations.
Autumn 2016 – The Global Identity vs The National Identity: To What Extent Does our Education System Prepare Learners For Our Globalised World?
State schools in England are currently expected to deliver to children a programme of ‘British Values’ education as part of their SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) learning. This paper looks further at other areas of the primary (Key Stage 1 and 2) curriculum to explore how what we are currently teaching in primary schools focuses heavily on the history, geography, culture and literature of ‘these islands’ and ‘our nation’. With our urban populations becoming increasing more diverse, and the demographics of our schools becoming increasingly more multi-cultural, I argue that this drive towards promoting a ‘national identity’ can be damaging to those within our communities who attribute to non-British or mixed heritages, and can alienate these young people through ignoring their own heritages contribution to a global identity and global knowledge.
Specific themes: migrant populations, ethnic-minority achievement, British values, curriculum, global vs national identity.