Paper Sessions

Paper Session ScheduleAbstracts

Thursday 27th June

9.45 - 11.15 Paper Session 1
Y Fforwm 003 Heike Griffiths & Cindy Hunt
Marginalised Communities and Higher Education – a matter of Choice and Identity

Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler
How to promote real equality in higher education.

Emma Chivers
What factors influence the retention and progression of Foundation Year Students within Higher Education in Wales?

Y Fforwm 004 University of Wolverhampton symposium

Professor Michael Jopling, Dr Zeta Brown, Dr Matt Smith
Childhood resilience and wellbeing: implications from the Headstart evaluation for schools and communities

Y Fforwm 005 Sarah Stewart
Supporting Opportunity in Schools: Promoting Educational Equity - A Report on the Second and Final Year of Project Outcomes

Sarah Yearsley
The almost 'Dropouts', exploring the journey of the 'saved' students, those who considered leaving their degree programme but chose to continue.

Dr Steve Dixon
“We want to see the cat!”: a case study of webinar-based learning and student experience

12.45 - 14.15 Paper Session 2
Y Fforwm 003 Dr Joe Gazdula, Fozia Uddin
The Global Neoliberal Political Economy of Education

Dr Thomas Altfelix
Education beyond planability, knowability and certainty

Lorraine Loveland-ArmourTravelling without a Compass: Exploring the Diverse Life Worlds of University Students with Dyslexia

Marie Clifford
Working with Non-Traditional students to determine what value they gain (and bring) through study at Higher Education

Y Fforwm 004 Dr Gurpinder Lalli
Free School Meals (FSM) and extending forms of Capital: A small scale case study in one Academy school.

Dylan Adams, Professor Gary Beauchamp
Being immersive and subversive in nature. A study of the experiences of children from four different primary schools taking part in mindful approaches in local nature reserves

Dr Cathal O’Siochru
Should we still offer a right to withdraw from Religious Education in UK schools?

Thomas Breeze, Emma Thayer
Cross-Curricular Pedagogies in Music and Drama: a Systematic Literature Review and its Impact on Practice

Friday 28th June

10.30 - 12.00 Paper Session 3
Y Fforwm 003 UWTSD symposium

Heike Griffiths, Hyder Mobasher, Carys Richards
Intercultural Competence: Learning to Live in Diversity

Y Fforwm 004 Dr Chrysoula Magafa
Enable- ASD: Enabling Collaboration in the Classroom with the Use of Touchscreen Devices with Young Children with Autism

Stephen Pritchard
The Controversy will continue

Rebecca Snape
Creative Writing in GCSE English Language: Exploring English Teachers' Philosophies, Pedagogies and Practices

Y Fforwm 005 Ruth Groff
Tapestry: A conversation about embedding mental wellbeing in higher education

Dr Judith Kneen
Perfect harmony? Primary and secondary teachers’ views on working collaboratively to create the foundation for the new curriculum for Expressive Arts in Wales

Jahari Jainal
Teachers’ Conceptions and Practices of Formative Assessment in Science in Malaysian Primary School

12.45 - 14.15 Paper Session 4
Y Fforwm 003 Dr Victoria Blinkhorn
Personal Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance: From Values to Virtues

Joanne Lewis
What encourages and impedes engagement and success in non-traditional students studying Higher Education in a Further Education setting?

Bethany Shepherd, Rebecca Jackson
Parsing Pedagogies: An examination of pedagogical practices in Liverpool schools

Y Fforwm 004 Mohamad Adning
The impact of the mobile phone to improve teacher competence through teacher working group to be a professional teacher In Indonesia

Dylan Adams, Nick Young
Students’ well-being, wild-ness and freedom from the ‘magic capture’ of assessments.

Maria Marin
Education for Integration: Supporting Refugee and Asylum Seeker Children and Young People

Y Fforwm 005 Workshop

Dr Pete King
Adults Understanding of the Play Cycle

Marginalised Communities and Higher Education – a matter of Choice and Identity.
Heike Griffiths & Cindy Hunt (University of Wales Trinity St David)

Families and pupils from a GRT (Gypsy, Romany Traveller) background often lack knowledge about university and the cultural capital needed to access Higher Education. Additionally, due to historic and ongoing exclusion and discrimination in all forms of formal education, individuals from a GRT background often choose to hide this part of their identity when engaging with ‘education’. This practice is known as ‘passing’ (Harding, 2014). Another problematic area of ‘GRT identity’ is the grouping of these diverse subgroups into the one GRT category. This brings the risk of stereotyping individuals and the risk of overlooking complexity and intersectionality due to an overemphasis on ethnicity. This paper explores these complex identities and how the concept of a ‘safe space’ (Gsir, 2014) can help to cater for individuals who would historically have been excluded from HE. The paper discusses the safe space, which needs to be created in order to allow marginalised communities to engage in HE on ‘their’ terms using Monkton Priory Primary School in Pembrokeshire’s multi-level partnership working and collaboration which has multigenerational increase in educational attainment and improved employment outcomes.

Not only has Monkton a high level of poverty and deprivation, but it has also a substantial amount of individuals from a GRT background. Members of all parts of this community and surrounding areas have successfully engaged in HE. This has promoted inclusion in HE of even those traditionally considered to be very reluctant to engage. In turn, this has led to employment, higher wages and inclusion. Practitioners seeking to engage these groups and provide information, advice and guidance about HE must build trust with young people and families and provide ongoing support in navigating the system (Mulcahy, 2017). The authors find that the school has generated an extraordinary amount of multi-level community engagement ranging from Basic Skills courses and vocational training to parents engaging in a degree programme, upskilling many of the school’s LSAs and establishing pupils’ parents as positive role examples, re-engaging in education opportunities.

How to promote real equality in higher education
Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler (University of Derby)

We need to reclaim a forgotten sense of what ‘equality’ means. This is equality as the right to be the same rather than the right to be different. Equality as difference is what many students, academics and manager in higher education accept and promote (Mieschbuehler 2017, 2018). Treating people as equal to them means merely accepting and respecting differences. What was once a universal concept emphasising a common humanity has been replaced by a particular concept emphasising the respect that must be given to what are divisive elements of people’s given identities (Malik 1996; Fukuyama 2018; Mieschbuehler 2019). This is not a simple semantic change but a political change that undermines the universalising project of higher education, of the ‘university’.

The impact of this politicised, particularised view of equality is manifest throughout higher education. In policy terms it means the creation of initiatives in institutions and classrooms to celebrate and even promote diversity. In terms of assessment it is expressed in the adoption of relational comparisons of student attainment that are used that compare relative attainment levels between groups (Mieschbuehler 2018). Instead of seeing students who desire and deserve the best a university education can offer they are presented in policies and practice as being easily differentiated into racial, cultural, class or gender-based groups. As the research discussed in this talk reveals the consequences of equality as diversity are often unwelcome to students.

This divisive thinking may seem to empower various groups but it ultimately denies all students the possibility of accessing the best university education, the education that embodies what Matthew Arnold called ‘the best that has been thought and said’ (Arnold [1864] 2003: 50; Boghossian 2007). Instead education is rebuilt around fixed, particular identities (Malik 1996; Barry 2001).

Recapturing real equality means restoring the forgotten ‘absolute’ sense of human equality and defending it along with ‘absolute’ standards which offer all students the ability to reach their human potential through access to a universal liberal education.


Arnold, M. ([1864] 2003) ‘The function of criticism at the present time’, in Collini, S. (ed.) Culture and Anarchy and Other Writings, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Barry, B. (2001) Culture and Equality, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Boghossian, P. (2007) Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fukayama, F. (2018) Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition, London: Profile Books Ltd.

Malik, K (1996) The Meaning of Race: Race, History and Culture in Western Society, New York: New York University Press.

Mieschbuehler, R. (2017) Beyond ‘student experience’, in Hayes, D. (Ed.) Beyond McDonaldization: Visions of Higher Education, London and New York: Routledge.

Mieschbuehler, R. (2018) The Minoritisation of Higher Education Students: An Examination of Contemporary Policies and Practice, London and New York: Routledge.

Mieschbuehler, R. (2019) The Racialisation of Campus Relations, HEPI Occasional Paper, Oxford: HEPI. (Forthcoming)

What factors influence the retention and progression of Foundation Year Students within Higher Education in Wales?
Emma Chivers (University of South Wales)

Researching Education Studies: critical issues

The main aim and purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and rationale for conducting my research, designed to conduct a critical analysis of key factors that contribute to the retention, and progression of students attending Foundation Year provision.

Within Wales the number of Foundation Year students within Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) appears to be increasing, utilised as a key aspect of their widening access strategies (HEFCW, 2016). However, parallel to the expansion of this provision, concerns are being raised in relation to retention and progression, associated costs and progressively increasing numbers (Welsh Government 2016). Provision has grown in Welsh HEI’s from 400 students in 2011/12 to 800 students in 2013/14 to 1,051 students registered by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) as Year Zero students (Foundation Year) in 2014/15 (WG, 2013, WG, 2016, pp3-4 and HESA, 2016, p.2).

Issues emerging from an analysis of policy and practice contributes to the development of an overarching question:

What factors influence the retention and progression of Foundation Year Students within HE in Wales? In addition to this, other subsidiary research questions have emerged:

  1. In what ways does social class influence the development of Foundation Students’ social and cultural capital? To what extent, if at all, does background shape the educational trajectory of students’ Foundation Year?
  2. What issues and concerns do students bring to their Foundation Year of study?
  3. What are the enablers and barriers to Foundation year students’ retention and progression?
  4. What actions can Welsh Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) take to increase the retention and progression of Foundation Year students?

The focus is on Foundation year provision within a single HEI, as a single case study, an embedded design with a number of different units of analysis (Gray, 2018, Yin 2014). The geographical location for this study is a post 92 university, situated within a semi-urban setting in Wales. The selected design is a case study, as epistemologically, it aligns with an interpretivist approach situated within a phenomenological paradigm.

The paper will provide an overview of the study, that comprise s of a single case, which focuses upon one HEI, with an embedded case study design, with three subunits of analysis (which consist of three Foundation Years, situated within three different Faculties). It will include details of the proposed research strategy, selected methodology and proposed research methods.


Symposium | Childhood resilience and wellbeing: implications from the Headstart evaluation for schools and communities
Professor Michael Jopling, Dr Zeta Brown, Dr Matt Smith

University of Wolverhampton Symposium

The Office of National Statistics Survey of the Mental Health of Children and Young People indicated as long ago as 2004 that about 1 in 10 children in Great Britain experiences mental health problems (Children’s Commissioner, 2017). Although the Government has pledged to improve access to mental health provision in schools and colleges, recent research has shown that while school and college leaders were committed to improving mental health and resilience in children and young people, commissioning issues, lack of funding and limited expertise in schools and colleges remain significant barriers (NatCen, 2017).

Headstart is a long term programme funded by the Big Lottery trialling a broad range of initiatives for improving resilience and emotional wellbeing in 10-16 year olds in six locations in England.  In Wolverhampton, this includes implementing include the SUMO- based resilience programme in schools and a range of activities in the community. Headstart Wolverhampton commissioned the University of Wolverhampton to evaluate aspects of the programme not covered by the WMF in 2017.  The theoretical framework for the research reflects the programme’s emphasis on co-production, adopting a strengths-based approach (Boyle et al, 2010; O’Neill, 2003) to exploring issues relating to resilience and mental health and, as well as outlining the overall methodology, this symposium reports findings from three strands of the research.

Paper one: Professor Michael Jopling, University of Wolverhampton

This paper reports the outcomes of the local evaluation measure (LEM) strand, which brings together pupil-level surveys of resilience and wellbeing using validated rating scales (Ravens-Sieberer & Cieza, 2000; Ungar & Liebenberg, 2011; Theron et al, 2015) in all 30 primary, secondary and special schools involved in the programme.  This strand was designed primarily to contribute to addressing one of the study’s central research questions: What effect have interventions had on the mental health and wellbeing of individual children and young people? The paper outlines findings from the first two annual surveys and some of the challenges of maintaining schools’ engagement in such research.

Paper two: Dr Zeta Brown, University of Wolverhampton

In order to understand the perspectives of schools participating in the HeadStart programme better, the Education Observatory undertook qualitative research with the member of senior management with overall responsibility for PSHE, SUMO and/or the integration of HeadStart in a focused sample group of four primary schools. Using a common semi-structured interview schedule based on our created theoretical framework, four researchers each went in to one primary school to interview the lead teacher. Their responses were then analysed by the research team and collated to identify key themes. Schools stated programmes which were embedded in school practice had greater impact. In these cases HeadStart activities are seen as complementary rather than an add-on; that children were involved in learning essential skills for life, coupled with developing greater self-esteem and resilience; and that teachers have also become more conscious of their own mental health and wellbeing as a result of their engagement with HeadStart. The development of a shared language through SUMO was highlighted as positive, but schools were clear about the need for high quality training for all members of staff, which needs to be maintained as staff move key stages or new staff join the school.

Paper three: Dr Matt Smith, University of Wolverhampton

The education and community Q-sort research strand investigated children’s perspectives on their resilience and the relationships with friends, family and others that supported them.  We also investigated whether Headstart had supported their understanding of resilience.  Q-methodology was used as a means of gathering quantifiable data from highly subjective viewpoints (Brown, 1997).  In total, 55 children completed a Q-methodology card sort in education and community settings.  This paper will focus on the key findings from this evaluation project.  For instance, the factor analysis process generated three groups of children that held commonalities in their perspectives.  Some of these commonalities focused on their available support groups and whether they enjoyed life.  The findings indicated that the degree of family support consistently influenced the child’s perception of themselves and their resilience.


Boyle, D., Slay, J., and Stephens, L. (2010) Public services inside out: Putting co-production into practice. London:NESTA
Brown, S. (1997) The history and principles of Q methodology in psychology and the social sciences. Kent,OH:Kent State University.
Children’s Commissioner for England (2017) Report on measuring the number of vulnerable children. London: Children’s Commissioner for England.
NatCen Social Research & the National Children’s Bureau Research and Policy Team (2017) Supporting Mental Health in Schools and Colleges Summary report. London: Department for Education.
O’Neil, D. (2003) Clients as researchers: The benefits of strengths-based research, in Munford, R. and Sanders, J. (eds.) Making a Difference in Families: Research that Creates Change. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 113-129.
Ravens-Sieberer, U., and Cieza, A. (eds.) (2000) Lebensqualität und Gesundheits-ökonomie in der Medizin – Konzepte, Methoden, Anwendung. München: Ecomed-Verlag.
Theron, L.C., Liebenberg, L. and Ungar, M. (eds.) (2015) Youth Resilience and Culture. Commonalities and Complexities. Heidelberg: Springer Dordrecht.
Ungar, M., and Liebenberg, L. (2011). Assessing resilience across cultures using mixed methods: Construction of the child and youth resilience measure, Journal of Multiple Methods in Research, 5,2 126-149.

Supporting Opportunity in Schools: Promoting Educational Equity - A Report on the Second and Final Year of Project Outcomes
Sarah Stewart (University of Wales Trinity St David)

Educational policy in Wales is much focused on the concept of equity within education, yet despite this policy commitment, much remains to be done within the Welsh education system to translate such policy into effective, meaningful practice. Whilst Welsh Government’s (2017) Our National Mission commits to one of four enabling objectives which seeks “strong and inclusive schools, committed to excellence, equity and wellbeing” (Welsh Government, 2017, p.23), organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD, 2017) note that there is still a job at hand in fulfilling this realisation. It is within such a context that the University of Wales Trinity St David took part in an Erasmus+ project focused on developing school equity. Working in collaboration with nine institutions across five countries and coordinated by the Inspectorate of Education of Catalonia, the project’s aim is to empower schools to enhance and to assess school equity. The team is comprised of institutions from Catalonia (Inspectorate and School group), Wales (UWTSD and Pembroke Dock Community School), Romania (Inspectorate and University of Sibiu), Belgium (Go! School Group) and Italy (School group).

The Erasmus+ project Supporting Opportunity in Schools: Promoting Educational Equity is now in its second and final year. This paper will report on the final outcomes of the project, including the development of the concept of school equity and the construction of a framework to assess the equity conditions at the school level. Aimed at use by school leaders, the project has culminated in a series of intellectual outputs which include a methodological guide, a school leaders’ training portal, an annotated bibliography, a series of best practice videos and the publication of peer-reviewed academic journals which outline the project’s approach. This paper will provide an overview of the key aims and purpose of the project, and to detail the action research methodology used in developing the project’s theoretical concept of equity, which underpins the creation of a quantitative measurement tool to assess school equity conditions. The paper will report on the main project activities which led to the creation of a series of outcomes for use by education practitioners. It will also critically reflect on the dual nature of the project in working towards a shared conceptualisation of school equity whilst simultaneously meeting wider Erasmus aims of developing collaborative practice.

The almost 'Dropouts', exploring the journey of the 'saved' students, those who considered leaving their degree programme but chose to continue.
Sarah Yearsley (Liverpool John Moores University)

Retention in Higher Education is a central concern within the academic world (Aljohani, 2016); continuing to be a policy priority throughout the UK for moral, legal and economic reasons. Attrition can have a significant and detrimental impact on the individual student; not only negatively effecting prospects in terms of employment, but also on the enhancement of social and cultural capital, a greater level of health and a commensurate standard of living. Current research, suggests the decision to leave university can be difficult, long and often anguished; with lasting impact on the life of the ‘dropout’ (Thomas et al, 2017). There is little or no data on why students may choose to stay, despite a serious intention to leave (Bradley, 2017); As a result many interventions are based on addressing the reasons for leaving, This paper aims to address this by examining the experience of students who make an active decision NOT to leave university. Hence, it will contribute to the understanding of student retention as opposed to attrition.

Adopting a mixed methods approach, utilising pre-existing statistical data, observations and semi structured interviews. A key element of the research is the biographical journeys of the ‘Saved’ student, those formerly at risk of leaving university, who overturned that decision and stayed. The sequential design allowed grounded informing of later phases, providing flexibility and emergent design possibilities. The quantitative data provided institutional context regarding attrition patterns, whilst the observational phase used both statistical and ethnographical data to provide context to the culture of support. The biographical interviews then complete the picture by providing insight into the process of retention through perceptions of the ‘saved’.

This paper argues the philosophy that ‘leaving is not the mirror image of staying’ (Tinto, 2008); exploring how this notion is disjointed from the existing culture of retention interventions. With a significant gap in the data involving ‘almost dropouts’, it is these individuals (‘the saved’) my research will explore. The literature presents dropping out as a process and this paper will interrogate this from the perspective of the ‘saved student’ who, despite a serious intention to leave, ultimately decides to stay. Going on to explore the creation of a holistic theory of retention, rather than the existing deficit models, focusing on the recovery process of staying at university. By exploring these experiences and the process of recovery, we may produce a model based on retention not attrition.

“We want to see the cat!”: a case study of webinar-based learning and student experience
Dr Stephen Dixon (Newman University)

HEIs have now used VLEs for a number of years, and for a variety of reasons. They may provide a platform for access to teaching materials, support and information for students, links to wider web-based resources, upload mechanisms for assignments and feedback, integrated assessment tools and discussion fora, for example. This paper focuses on a small-scale intervention undertaken with both undergraduate Education Studies students and postgraduate MA Education students, utilising a lesser-used tool, webinar software, to deliver live distance learning sessions in what are otherwise traditional face-to-face delivered modules.

Three live teaching sessions were conducted using BigBlueButton, the webinar software integrated into the Moodle VLE: two with undergraduate Education Studies students and one with postgraduate students studying for on the MA Education programme. For each of the cohorts, their respective module context was an investigation into the impact of technology on education, and as such the use of webinar software provided a focus for both a practical and theoretical exploration of its adoption. Student views were elicited both during the session, via the chatroom facility of the webinar software, and afterwards utilising Moodle discussion boards. Whilst the clear benefits of both convenience and efficiency were highlighted by all cohorts, with particularly regard given to time-saving, wider issues of student identity, peer relationships, digital divides, learning preferences and staff-student interaction were identified as potentially problematic to the use of such online technologies. Such issues were discussed in the context of students’ own understanding of the study of Education as an academic discipline, and their wider undergraduate and postgraduate experience.

The Global Neoliberal Political Economy of Education
Dr Joe Gazdula, Fozia Uddin (University of Bolton)

This paper is a literature review providing a critical observation of the current academic debate on the meaning and purpose of education from a global political economy perspective driven by neoliberalism. It provides clarity for students and researchers on neoliberalism as a concept and examines the way political economies engage with education and assess the impact of neoliberalism as a global driver of educational development. The role of neoliberalism in political economies has been widely debated academically since its formulation as a socially orientated free market economic approach by German Ordoliberalists in the 1930’s and the Mont Pelerin Society in the 1940’s. However since it’s increasing ascendency in global political economies from 1978 there has been little consistency in the way it is used (Clarke, 2008). Venugopal (2016:1) states the term is ‘…controversial, incoherent, and crisis ridden…’. This has led to a current strand of academic thought which considers the effect of neoliberalism on education and educational development (Verger et al., 2016, Gillard, 2018) without a firm conceptual base. This paper presents a conceptual base for neoliberalism in education and begins to assess the notion of a global political economy of education. It concludes there is a post 1978 ‘new’ neoliberalism, far removed from the 1930’s economic concept which is widely used in many contexts and critical of any free market interference in education. It should be seen as a critical perspectives by students, teachers and researchers searching for answers. It finds the perception of a global political economy of education driven by neoliberalism tainted because of lack of a clear definition of ‘new’ neoliberalism and suggests it is seen as just another critical paradigm.

Education beyond planability, knowability and certainty
Dr Thomas Altfelix (University of Hamburg)

The Dutch-born Canadian educationalist Max van Manen once referred to the verbal invitation ‘Here, take my hand!’ as the archetypal gesture of any pedagogue (gr. pais agein = to accompany the child on its way to school). Correspondingly, it symbolises the concept of education: ‘Taking by the hand’ reconciles the otherwise distinct meanings of bringing up (lat. educare) and bringing out (lat. educere) within the broader context of education’s underlying topological metaphor of leading out (lat. e-ducatio). In doing so, it also links up etymologically with the educational issue of emancipation (literally lat.: e – manus – capere = to let go of the hand).

In this presentation, I want to explore in three steps some of the ethico-epistemological implications and limitations of our current understanding of education arriving at an alternative conception by drawing on this symbolic pedagogical gesture in an illustrative manner:
First, ‘taking by the hand’ illustrates an educational paradox. It allocates the roles of educator and educatee, thereby establishing a binary system in which one signifier is invariably privileged over the other (child- or adult-centredness). This in turn causes two well-known paradoxes in educational theory: Kant’s ‘cultivation of freedom under the conditions of force’ (problem of emancipation) and the paralogical idea of leading into an unknowable future (problem of educatio).

Second, for many, education has come to mean negating these conceptual difficulties. Insofar as these paradoxes are interpreted as a theoretical weakness, notions of education and their practical application (pedagogy) involve the desire to optimise planning (cp. e-ducatio as directive intentionality), skills of application (cp. educere as reliable knowledge transmission) and attitudinal certainty (cp. educare as effective concern). We currently see this desire in the relentless global pervasion of politico-technological steering mechanisms in educational policies and research (evidence-based methodology, datafication, best practice etc.).

Third, if the constitutive nature of these paradoxes is accepted, then education may also mean embracing these difficulties positively! In that case, the actual source of education would not lie in the acceptance and subsequent theoretical mediation of binary terms (planning vs. lack of planning, knowledge vs. nescience, certainty vs. uncertainty) but in the originary event of the lived difference between them, that is the acknowledgment that education/pedagogy presuppose situations as self-eventuating plans (e-ducatio as a situational response to unplanability), teaching in awareness of the otherness of learning (educere as a knowing response to unknowability) and care as openness (from undecidedness) to the concerns of others (educare as a tactful response to the uncertainty of another’s fate).

Travelling without a Compass: Exploring the Diverse Life Worlds of University Students with Dyslexia
Lorraine Loveland-Armour (Newman University)

Within the field of education studies, disability, difference and inclusion are widely debated constructs. Arguably, the usefulness of identifying dyslexia categorically raises critical questions about why labelling continues to inform policy decisions, funding, and determine reasonable adjustments for adult students at university. Moreover, there are contrasting views about the nature of dyslexia, which can contribute to confusion about how to understand it through late identification.

For students, the unique phenomenon of experiencing dyslexia within university also presents challenges regarding the necessity of self-concept, experience and readiness to learn (Knowles, Holton and Swanson, 2012). Additionally, the lack of opportunities to devote focused time to untangle uncertainties with others, alongside studies and multiple responsibilities, can feel isolating. To compound this feeling, when university students begin to struggle academically, they are often encouraged to try to discover what is wrong with them and dyslexia is sometimes suggested as a label to explain difference. To this end, the extent to which dyslexia is acknowledged is constructed from individual participants’ perspectives. Principally, I aim to explore the extent to which trustworthy dialogical relationships play a role in contributing to self-understanding for university students with dyslexia.

This study adopts a phenomenological “critical orientation that is inherently political” (Agostinone-Wilson, 2013, p.62)—an approach which enables me to engage with voices which have often been excluded from hierarchies of knowledge. More specifically, the heuristic relationship between researcher and participant facilitates reflection about how dyslexia manifests through ongoing conversations informed by personal photographs and concept maps. Heuristic evaluations (Moustakas, 1990) of research activities conducted both individually and collaboratively by participants and researcher facilitate opportunities to develop trustworthy relationships. Transparent conversations about dyslexia at university illuminate shared appreciation of the diversity of lived experiences.

The research illuminates the life worlds of a purposive sample of ten university students with dyslexia through four distinct methods including: concept mapping, photo-elicitation, photovoice and photoautobiography. These methods contribute to monthly research activities which provide an in depth exploration of student reflections over the period of an academic year. Through photoautobiography, the chapters participants create contribute new knowledge about dyslexia at university. Emerging findings suggest that using photographs as temporal visual footprints, which require multiple re-engagements, facilitates deep reflexive evaluations. Furthermore, communicating about a later identification of dyslexia through ongoing dialogue also has been described as a therapeutic experience throughout the research activities.

Agostinone-Wilson, F. (2013) Dialectical research methods in the classical Marxist tradition. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Knowles, M.S., Holton, E.F. and Swanson, R.A. (2012) The adult learner the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Seventh edn., Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Moustakas, C. (1990) Heuristic research: design, methodology, and applications. Newbury Park, CA, USA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Working with Non-Traditional students to determine what value they gain (and bring) through study at Higher Education
Marie Clifford (University of South Wales)

The literature concerning education presumes that practitioners, managers and policy makers are the experts on the delivery and the experiences gained from participation in Higher Education. This ignores the valuable viewpoint students bring, and who will have more expertise than the individuals directly experiencing the process? This talk will, (with the help of students), address what they feel they gain from studying a Foundation Year course, the value they experience, and also what they bring to the programme. Although it is a commonly held view that Foundation Year students lack the confidence and the academic skills usually held by ‘typical’ university students, anecdotal evidence would contradict this view. Many Foundation Year students have held challenging jobs or positions of responsibility prior to joining the course or are mature students with the experience that brings. This means they are organised, critical thinkers with interesting and insightful suggestions on how the course is organised and the subject matter being studied. Through the use of focus groups with a variety of Foundation Year students in various disciplines, the value they have experienced and brought will be examined. This talk will summarise these findings, and demonstrate how studying at Higher Education can be a two-way learning process, with the institution benefiting in addition to the gains made by students.

Free School Meals (FSM) and extending forms of Capital: A small scale case study in one Academy school.
Dr Gurpinder Lalli (University of Wolverhampton)

This paper aims to investigate the notion of ‘Culinary Capital’ in line with Free School Meal (FSM) participation in one Academy school. Evidence from the past twenty years on pupil attainment and school performance has become central to understanding achievement and this has involved assessing socio-economic status; one of these measures being those pupils who are in receipt of FSMs (Taylor, 2017). Whilst forms of culinary capital have been discussed in public discourse, such as social media, it has not yet been discussed in a school-based context. Furthermore, up-take of FSMs is in decline and whilst families are eligible, they are not taking this opportunity and it is important to investigate the factors which influence their decisions. Therefore, this research project aims to highlight how forms of culinary capital can be extended in the school dining hall. It is notions of power that are introduced in terms of the theoretical framework. Part of the power of food is that it is everywhere. It creates endless notions of good and bad, including good and bad food, good and bad eating practices and good and bad bodies. Food power is not only constraining and repressive, but also enabling and productive. The research questions for this study include, 1) To what extent can school meals promote forms of capital? 2) To what extent has the School Food Plan (2013) supported school food provision in bridging gaps of inequality? 3) What do pupils and staff in the school perceive to be the barriers of up-take of FSMs? Data in the form of interviews, field notes and observations were collected alongside visuals from one academy school in the West Midlands region. Methodological challenges are discussed and some preliminary findings from the study are presented in which correlations are drawn to how the school meal as a site can enhance forms of capital.

Being immersive and subversive in nature. A study of the experiences of children from four different primary schools taking part in mindful approaches in local nature reserves.
Dylan Adams, Professor Gary Beauchamp (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

Evidence shows that children are increasingly becoming disconnected from nature (Bragg, 2013; ; Charles, 2018; Moss, 2012; Ridgers, Knowles and Sayers, 2012; Sobel, 2008; Waite et. al. 2016). Louv (2011|) calls this situation immoral and unethical and states that “we need to give nature back to our children and ourselves” (p.268). Nevertheless, it is argued that being outdoors surrounded by nature can have a positive impact on children’s wellbeing (Chawla et al. 2015; Faber, Taylor and Kuo 2009; Gill,2014; Gurholt and Sanderud, 2016; Martyn, Patricia, Brymer. 2016; McMahan et. al. 2018; Piccininni et. al. 2018; Swank et al. 2017; Ulset et. al. 2017; Wilson, 2012).

This study investigated the experiences of children aged 8-11 years when taking part in mindfulness approaches outdoors in local nature reserves. Four groups of children and their teachers from four different primary schools visited local nature reserves and took part in various mindfulness approaches. Afterwards the children and their teachers took part in semi-structured interviews. Analysis of the data shows that the children had what might be called transcendent or optimal experiences. Evidence from the study is analysed with conceptions of spirituality (Best, 1996; Hay and Nye, 2006; Schein, 2018), biophilia, (Kellert and Wilson, 1995), friluftsliv (Gelter, 2010) and embodiment (Doddington, 2018; Humberstone, 2015). These concepts are discussed in terms of how they call for a slow pedagogy in contrast to the “take-away pedagogies proliferating in education.” (Payne and Watchow, 2009, p.15). As Louv (2008) states: “It takes time – loose unstructured dreamtime – to experience nature in a meaningful way.” (p.117) It is suggested that these mindful approaches outdoors can perhaps be seen as a counter-pedagogy to the prevailing highly enumerated, tightly timetabled curricula that arguably dominate children’s experiences in schools.


Best, R., & Kahn, J. V. (1996). Education. Spirituality and the Whole Child London: Cassell

Bonnett, M. (2009), Schools as places of unselving: An educational pathology? In Dall’Alba, G. (Ed.), Exploring Education through Phenomenology: Diverse Approaches. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell

Bragg, R., Wood, C., Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2013). Measuring connection to nature in children aged 8-12: A robust methodology for the RSPB. University of Essex. Available at: [Accessed 10th January, 2019]

Buber, M. (1970). I and thou (Walter Kaufmann, Trans.). New York: Scribner.

Charles, C. (2018). Leading from the heart of Nature. In The Palgrave International Handbook of Women and Outdoor Learning (pp. 877-888). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Chawla, L. (2015). Benefits of nature contact for children. Journal of Planning Literature30(4), 433-452.

Doddington, C. (2018). Education in the Open: The Somaesthetic Value of Being Outside. In Heilbronn, R., Doddington, C., & Higham, R. (Eds.). (2018). Dewey and Education in the 21st Century: Fighting Back. New York: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Faber Taylor, A., & Kuo, F. E. (2009). Children with attention deficits concentrate better after walk in the park. Journal of attention disorders12(5), 402-409.

Gill, T. (2014). The benefits of children’s engagement with nature: A systematic literature review. Children Youth and Environments24(2), 10-34.

Gurholt, K. P., & Sanderud, J. R. (2016). Curious play: children’s exploration of nature. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning16(4), 318-329.

Hay, D., & Nye, R. (2006). The spirit of the child. New York: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Kellert, S. R. & Wilson, E. O. (1995) The Biophilia Hypothesis. New York: Island Press.

Louv, R. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. New York: Algonquin books.

Louv, R. (2011). The nature principle: Human restoration and the end of nature-deficit disorder. New York: Algonquin Books.

Maslow, A. H. (1964). Religions, values, and peak-experiences (Vol. 35). Columbus: Ohio State University Press.

Maslow, A.H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being, (2nd edn.). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Martyn, P., & Brymer, E. (2016). The relationship between nature relatedness and anxiety. Journal of health psychology21(7), 1436-1445.

McMahan, E., Estes, D., Murfin, J. S., & Bryan, C. M. (2018). Nature Connectedness Moderates the Effect of Nature Exposure on Explicit and Implicit Measures of Emotion. Journal of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, 1.

Moss, S. M. (2012). Natural childhood (pp. 166-171). London: National Trust.

Moyles, J., Adams, S. and Musgrove, A. (2002). ‘Using reflective dialogues as a

tool for engaging with challenges of defining effective pedagogy’, Early Childhood Development and Care, 172, pp.463–78.

Nelson, P. L. & Hart, T. (2006). Spiritual experiences and capacities of children and youth. The handbook of spiritual development in childhood and adolescence163, 177.

Payne, P. G., & Wattchow, B. (2008). Slow pedagogy and placing education in post-traditional outdoor education. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education12(1), 25.

Piccininni, C., Michaelson, V., Janssen, I., & Pickett, W. (2018). Outdoor play and nature connectedness as potential correlates of internalized mental health symptoms among Canadian adolescents. Preventive medicine112, 168-175.

Ridgers, N. D., Knowles, Z. R., & Sayers, J. (2012). Encouraging play in the natural environment: A child-focused case study of Forest School. Children’s geographies10(1), 49-65.

Schein, D. L. (2017). Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy: Spiritual Development in Young Children. New York: Redleaf Press.

Sobel, D. (2008). Childhood and nature: Design principles for educators. Stenhouse Publishers.

Swank, J. M., Cheung, C., Prikhidko, A., & Su, Y. W. (2017). Nature-based child-centered group play therapy and behavioral concerns: A single-case design. International Journal of Play Therapy26(1), 47.

Ulset, V., Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., Bekkhus, M., & Borge, A. I. (2017). Time spent outdoors during preschool: Links with children’s cognitive and behavioral development. Journal of Environmental Psychology52, 69-80.

Waite, S., Bølling, M., & Bentsen, P. (2016). Comparing apples and pears?: a conceptual framework for understanding forms of outdoor learning through comparison of English Forest Schools and Danish udeskole. Environmental Education Research22(6), 868-892.

Wilson, R. (2012). Nature and young children: Encouraging creative play and learning in natural environments. London: Routledge.

Should we still offer a right to withdraw from Religious Education in UK schools?
Dr Cathal O’Siochru, David Lundie (Liverpool Hope University)

For more than 70 years, parents in the UK have had the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education (RE) classes in school. The original purpose of this policy was to protect the rights of religious minorities, back when RE was more of a Christian ‘confessional’ nature. However, in the years following the introduction of this policy, many see RE as becoming a non-confessional ‘open’ subject (Barnes, 2002). Furthermore, recent reports demonstrate an increasing trend for parents to withdraw their children selectively from learning about specific religions for reasons that appear to stem more from fear or prejudice than a desire for religious freedom. The situation was reviewed by the Commission on Religious Education in 2018 and although they stopped short of calling for abolition of the right to withdraw they did strongly recommend that the government clarify the legal situation regarding the selective use of the right to withdraw. With all this in mind, the current research explores the views of teachers on the need for and implementation of a right to withdraw in contemporary multi-faith RE.

A survey was conducted involving 450 teachers, head teachers and RE coordinators from across England. They were drawn from a variety of schools which are broadly reflective of the faith and governance character of English schools. This survey inquired as to the respondents’ views on the practice, purpose and understanding of the parental right to withdraw from RE. One of the primary purposes of the survey was to determine whether, in their view, there was a justification to maintain such a right. In addition, participants’ experiences of these withdrawal requests, such as the reasons given by parents, were related to their views on the right to withdraw.

Responses showed that a clear majority of respondents believed that the right to withdraw from RE was no longer necessary. Unpicking that belief, we found a strong connection between a teacher’s belief that the right to withdraw was no longer needed and their experiences of parental requests to withdraw their child from specific aspects of RE. In particular, teachers who believe that the right to withdrawal was no longer necessary were more likely to see prejudiced beliefs, or misunderstandings about the aims and purpose of RE as the reasons for parents to seek such a withdrawal. We also found considerable confusion regarding the legal status of withdrawal requests. In one example, a large minority of respondents believed (incorrectly) that there is a requirement for parents to provide an alternative syllabus to their children when withdrawing them from RE.

This presentation will consider these results, and others, inviting discussion on their implications for both practice and policy in this area.

Cross-Curricular Pedagogies in Music and Drama: a Systematic Literature Review and its Impact on Practice
Thomas Breeze, Emma Thayer (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

Following initial practice-based enquiry with PGCE drama and music students (Breeze, 2018) into the ‘powerful connections’ between subjects called for in the forthcoming new curriculum for Wales (Donaldson, 2015, p.68), the programme leaders involved in the project identified the need to develop the theoretical underpinning of their cross-curricular work as an important next step. The ability for learners to ‘integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines’ is identified as a vital part of a curriculum fit for the 21st Century (Marope, Griffin & Gallagher 2017, p.32), making an understanding of these pedagogies important for educationalists working globally, not just in Wales.

A systematic literature review was therefore carried out, interrogating multiple databases to gather material relating to cross-curricular pedagogies in any of the subjects forming the expressive arts Area of Learning and Experience (AoLE) in Donaldson’s Successful Futures report (2015). The literature was reviewed in order to address the following two overarching questions:

1) What do cross-curricular pedagogies look like in the expressive arts, and is it possible to classify them?

2) What benefits, if any, do these pedagogies have for learners in terms of their learning, their behaviour and their wellbeing?

In terms of the impact on PGCE drama and music programmes, the theoretical material reviewed has complimented the existing practice-based enquiry, resulting in a clearer understanding of success criteria for cross-curricular learning and a greater awareness of misconceptions and pitfalls that need to be addressed when student teachers design cross-curricular learning episodes for their pupils. The result is that the existing PGCE drama and music programmes have a clearer spine of cross-curricular working running through them, preparing student teachers more effectively for the introduction of the new curriculum, and preparing PGCE programme leaders to design effective new ITE programmes for introduction in 2019.


Breeze, T. (2018) A Connected Curriculum: Working across Subject Boundaries in Music and Drama. Available at [accessed: 11th February 2019]

Donaldson, G. (2015) Successful Futures: Independent Review of Curriculum and Assessment Arrangements in Wales. Cardiff: Welsh Government

Marope, M., Griffin, P & Gallagher, C (2017) Future Competences and the Future of Curriculum: A Global Reference for Curricula Transformation. Geneva: IBE UNESCO

Symposium | Intercultural Competence: Learning to Live in Diversity.
Heike Griffiths, Hyder Mobasher, Carys Richards

University of Wales Trinity St David symposium

It is suggested that, in the current political landscape, immigration is a source of significant public discontent. There seems to be evidence that historic intolerance, amplified by the divisive rhetoric of Brexit gave way to a concomitant rise in negative attitudes towards foreigners. The aims of this symposium are to highlight the paradoxical situation faced by refugees trying to finding employment in the UK; to explore some of the factors which have led to the situation; and to call for an education agenda based on Interculturalism. On one hand asylum seekers’ access to English classes is severely restricted by the lack of availability and funding while they are waiting for their asylum decision, on the other hand they are supposed to seek employment once refugee status has been granted in order to obtain Job Seeker’s Allowance. This symposium explores whether the British multi-cultural approach to ethnic and language diversity is helpful in including this group of individuals. Evidence seems to suggest that refugees and other immigrants face barriers to finding employment based on many factors including prejudices against their ethnicities, their diverse forms of English language, and their cultures. The authors propose that Educators and policy makers in compulsory, post 16, and adult education need to be aware of the multi-cultural influence on educational provision and policy. Additionally, the authors call for Interculturalism to be put on the education agenda with teaching about identity, culture and citizenship included in the curriculum, and a strong appreciation of the importance of diversity becoming part of the British educational ethos, thus countering prejudice and the narrative that diversity is a threat to ‘British’ identity and culture. The authors consider Interculturalism as a paradigm for learning to live in diversity and addressing challenges to social cohesion. Key to its success will be the role education plays in developing the intercultural competence required to help foster understanding of diverse cultures, challenge stereotypes and reduce prejudice.

Enable- ASD: Enabling Collaboration in the Classroom with the Use of Touchscreen Devices with Young Children with Autism
Dr Chrysoula Mangafa (Open University)

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects more than 1 in 100 in the UK, 1 in 88 in USA and 1 in 150 in Australia, which means that every teacher will at some point in their career teach a child with autism. One of the key difficulties associated with autism is the lack or impairment of joint attention skills. Joint attention is a fundamental skill on young children’s social and language skills’ development which is usually mastered by the age of 18 months. It can be achieved when, for instance, a child keeps eye contact, takes turns and shares enjoyment with their parent about a joint activity.

Young children with autism have many talents among which is their affinity with digital technologies. Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, schools have increasingly used the devices and their associated applications for teaching children with developmental disabilities. Despite the increasing use of touchscreen devices in schools and homes, and the children’s motivation in using them, there is limited research exploring their potential in developing joint attention in these settings. Parents and teachers often lack confidence in using tablets to practise specific skills with children with autism and have increasing worries about screen time and choosing appropriate mobile applications.

This study aims to fill this gap in knowledge by exploring the impact a set of guidelines can have on teachers’ practice and children’s joint attention skills via school observations and interviews. An action research study will be conducted in an early years setting in England, UK. The results of the study aim to offer scientifically informed guidance in the form of strategies and tablet based activities on how adults can adjust their communicative style (e.g. by allowing time for the child to respond), the environment (e.g. by minimising distractions) and resources (e.g. by using symbols/pictures) to engage with young children while using a tablet. The evaluation of the guidelines aim to help teachers inform their teaching practice and urge parents to use the devices with their child in more collaborative ways.

The Controversy will continue
Stephen Pritchard (Liverpool Hope University)

Creativity is a popular research topic worldwide due to its links with educational and employer successes. The majority of research has focussed on either the development of creativity measures or the systematic review of the measures, analysing the reliability and usefulness of them. However, the mere conceptualisation and nature of creativity is still disputed and this requires further attention before a truly reliable measure can be developed. To date, no research has undertaken a systematic review into the nature and conception of creativity. Therefore, this research attempted to provide an overview of what the literature states creativity is, the nature behind it and what facets constitute its multidimensional structure. A thematic analysis of the literature identified three main themes; Resources, Supportive Environment, and Individual Differences. These themes are discussed in line with current literature with a strong emphasis on future directions and implications.

Creative Writing in GCSE English Language: Exploring English Teachers' Philosophies, Pedagogies and Practices
Rebecca Snape (Birmingham City University)

In this presentation, I will report on my findings from a mixed methods (primarily qualitative) PhD Study. My research examines English teachers’ perceptions of creative writing (CW) in GCSE English Language. My study is closely aligned with the conference theme in regard to its focus on how meaning of CW is constructed and situated within a complex socio-political landscape. The inception of the research coincided with a period of significant change within GCSE English Language. National Curriculum and GCSE syllabus changes led to a reconfiguration of the meaning(s) of, and assessment criteria for, CW. Set against this complex and changing political landscape, the research set out to investigate how English teachers had responded to these changes.

I initially conducted a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of GCSE English Language curricula, which helped to illuminate and interrogate the meaning(s) of creative writing in each examination board’s syllabus. Through my critical analyses of these discourses, I unpicked both latent and explicit meanings of creative writing. Following my CDA of exam board documents, I conducted a survey to gauge what CW meant to GCSE English teachers. 72 teachers engaged with the survey. I then invited survey participants to participate in further research, which led to the formation of six case studies. Each case study comprises survey, lesson observation and interview data, thus enabling me to triangulate different sources of data.

My initial analyses of these data sources suggest that CW is conceptualised and approached by English teachers in diverse ways. However, it is clear from my analyses that the exam syllabus, mark schemes and assessment objectives are all a key factor in developing notions of CW. I suggest that, in the context of this study, a fixed definition of CW is problematic. Instead, I draw attention to the complexities and multiple meanings of CW. Furthermore, while creativity and the imagination may be identified within GCSE syllabi aims, mark schemes and assessment objectives tend to focus upon the more technicist aspects of writing.

Building on the overview above, I will expand upon the research context, methods and findings in the presentation. While I will primarily report on my own findings, I also welcome observations from other attendees regarding the role of CW in the curriculum. I am a former student of Education Studies and I now teach the subject myself (as an Assistant Lecturer), so I welcome the opportunity to engage with other practitioners within the subject.

Tapestry: A conversation about embedding mental wellbeing in higher education
Ruth Groff (University of Wales Trinity St David)

In 2017, the Higher Education Academy (AdvanceHE) produced a document ‘Embedding mental wellbeing in the curriculum: maximising success in higher education’. The impetus for this report was the growing concerns of the mental health and overall wellbeing of the student within higher education. It was a report outlining a way forward; providing a holistic approach that complimented existing student support services while embedding mental wellbeing into the core of the curriculum. In short, suggesting that the responsibility for mental wellbeing of the student is an integral part of the teaching practice. It also notes that the success of the learner is contingent on ensuring the wellbeing of the educator.

In 2019, mental health and wellbeing remains on the political and educational agendas within higher education for both the learner and educator. University fees continue to be a source of political debate, contributing to an ever-changing landscape within higher education. Consolidation, elimination of course programmes, demands for higher workloads and staff redundancies all contribute to the feeling of uncertainty for the leaner, the academic staff and the university. All of the above bring their own issues so it is vital that there is a more in-depth conversation around the mental health and wellbeing both of the learner and the educator.

My journey thus far, as a second year education doctoral student and counselling lecturer at UWTSD, has been about exploring themes that speak to connection, collaboration and shared responsibility within the learner’s and educator’s experience. All of this would appear to suggest that the quality of the relationship between the learner and the educator matters for maximising success within learning and teaching practice. It is a tapestry of human knowledge ‘reciprocating experiences, ideas, values and insight’ (Robinson 2018). Perhaps it is in the exploration and deeper understanding of this tapestry that will provide insights into embedding mental health and wellbeing into the curriculum.

Perfect harmony? Primary and secondary teachers’ views on working collaboratively to create the foundation for the new curriculum for Expressive Arts in Wales.
Dr Judith Kneen (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

Education policies have led to an apparent downgrading of the arts in the curriculum over recent years due to governmental ‘preoccupation with core subjects’ (Hennessy, Rolfe and Chedzoy 2001: 54). The emergence of Expressive Arts as one of six areas of learning and experience (AoLE) in Wales’ new curriculum – areas that are of ‘of equal importance in a broad and balanced curriculum’ (Donaldson 2015: 43) – would appear to demonstrate greater valorisation of the arts as taught in schools.
This paper draws from a study exploring the views and experiences of teachers who have been tasked with providing the framework for the new curriculum for Expressive Arts. These ‘Pioneer’ teachers have been selected from both primary and secondary phases, as well as special schools. The study compares the perspectives of Pioneer teachers from both phases, focusing on their contexts, aspirations, experiences as Pioneer teachers and their pedagogical approaches.

A case study approach was adopted, and qualitative methods were used to gather data. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of the Expressive Arts AoLE Pioneer group, and observations were made of the Pioneers at work in their regular AoLE meetings. The study found that intrinsic differences between the contexts of both phases made collaborative work challenging. Pedagogical approaches already used in primary schools were a challenge to secondary schools, particularly in terms of staffing and timetabling. However, their joint commitment to enhancing children’s and young people’s engagement with the expressive arts in education elicited a productive ‘glue’ that brought about a shared purpose. The study reveals that Welsh Government’s considerable investment in the Pioneer process enabled primary and secondary colleagues to embark on a process that may lead to greater coherence and understanding across the phases. A question remains as to whether this can be replicated in the wider school population.

Donaldson, G. (2015) Successful futures: Independent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales. Cardiff: Welsh Government.

Hennessy, S., Rolfe, L. and Chedzoy, S. (2001) ‘The factors which influence student teachers’ confidence to teach the arts in the primary classroom’. Research in Dance Education, 2:1, 53-71.

Teachers’ Conceptions and Practices of Formative Assessment in Science in Malaysian Primary School
Jahari Jainal (University of Bristol)

This study set out to qualitatively explore teachers’ conceptions and practices of effective formative assessment in primary school science subject according to three categories of Malaysian primary schools: non-transformation, transformation, and trust schools. The schools were structured accordingly in order to support the implementation of the new curriculum in 2011. Using a phenomenographic approach, the study looked at the ways in which teachers’ conceptions on formative assessment could promote student learning of the science subject. Twenty-five (25) teachers and five (5) school administrators were interviewed to explore and understand their conception on formative assessment. Prior to the interviews, twenty-three (23) lessons were observed in order to get a complete view of how teachers used formative assessment in the classroom. Five (5) policymakers were also interviewed to understand the conceptions and practices of formative assessment from the policy perspective. Thematic analysis using both deductive and inductive approaches was used to identify, analyse and report the emerging themes from the data. Initial findings show that individual teachers perceived formative assessment differently based on the category of schools and the training they have received, both of which have directly influenced their formative assessment practices. This study contributes to knowledge in the field of formative assessment in the Malaysian context. It also shows how formative assessment could promote learning – an argument which has hardly been explored in previous studies. Furthermore, it argues that phenomenography as a methodology design is still underused in exploring conceptions and practices of formative assessment.

Personal Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance: From Values to Virtues
Dr Victoria Blinkhorn, Dr Cathal O’Siochru (Liverpool Hope University)

This Templeton funded research investigates the ways that the state and mid-level policy enactors such as public schools shape young citizens’ perceptions of, and compliance with, the civic values or virtues of personal liberty, mutual respect and tolerance (PLMRT), and the impact of this on subjective wellbeing. The project will integrate anthropological, psychological and normative perspectives in three multi-site case-studies, each comprised of three schools working with one of three mid-level policy enactors. These three policy enactors have very different orientations towards the PLMRT values: The ‘UK Military School’ with a securitized perspective, ‘Schools of Sanctuary’ with a globalist perspective, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool with a faith-based perspective.

The project will commence with a Normative Clarification Event (NCE), after which a series of comprehensive ethnographic observations will be carried out at the nine schools, generating data to inform a Hypothesis Generation Event (HGE). Following this event, a hypothesis oriented ethnography (HOE) will be carried out in the nine schools, with a distinct focus for each site; and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) will gather in-depth ecologically valid measures of young people’s understanding, affinity with and actualisation of the PLMRT virtues in three of the school sites.

The final stage of the project involves developing a survey tool through the same nine sites, with a wider distribution of the survey to test for the generalisability of the other methods’ ecologically rich findings. The tool development phase seeks to engage with normative questions in the phronesis of PLMRT in relation to young people’s contexts of cultural identity, diversity, deprivation, faith-based values and personal worldviews. It is this stage which will be the focus of the presentation this year at BESA.

What encourages and impedes engagement and success in non-traditional students studying Higher Education in a Further Education setting?
Joanne Lewis (Liverpool Hope University)


Over the last 20 years, Higher Education (HE) provision has witnessed aspects of its delivery evolve, from the more traditional campus-based model, to that of an adaptive one where tuition occurs via a blend of face to face sessions, in settings other than that of a university campus, such as in Further Education (FE) colleges, and on-line learning. This means of delivery is referred to as the ‘Blended Learning Model’. This model potentially allows for those classified as ‘non-traditional’ students who, unable – for personal/familial/work/other reasons – to engage with said ‘standard’ campus model, to enrol on an ever-expanding range of undergraduate and post-graduate courses.

Aspects to be considered:

Age: Generally, students studying at HE level in a FE settings, tend to be older, and their non-study lives more complex than the so-called traditional students aged 18-21

Social Class: Research has shown, for some time now, how working class students, for many reasons, are less likely to study in HE, and if they do, the transition into HE may prove to be more difficult. Given that class is at the core of the English education system, there will be an examination of Bourdieu and Passeron’s concepts of ‘Social Reproduction’, along with ‘Field’ and ‘Habitus’ which will serve as a basis for the study’s exploration of class. Bernstein’s ‘Code’ theory will also be applied in conjunction with the aforementioned as academic language itself serves as a barrier to engagement

Gender: Research has demonstrated that early exposure to a gendered curriculum, in conjunction with the wider socially constructed view of gender and ability, can significantly impact male and female perceptions of intelligence, subject choice, career selection and academic success. This aspect will be explored with reference to course and career selection, as well as individual perceptions of academic capabilities

Culture and Ethnicity: There will be an exploration and comparison of intersecting attitudes to education between different social groups: one of the FE settings, from where data will be collected, recruits heavily from local ethnic minority communities

‘Imposter Syndrome’ and the notion of ‘Otherness’: These particular concepts, research has shown, are far more synonymous with students from working class backgrounds, with the latter theory being of increased relevance to females in HE.

The research is in its infancy, currently at the literature review stage of my Doctorate in Education.

Parsing Pedagogies: An examination of pedagogical practices in Liverpool schools
Bethany Shepherd, Rebecca Jackson (Liverpool Hope University)

Education Studies programs tend to hinge on textual analysis and dialogue. However, in order to gain deeper insights into some of the key questions Education Studies asks, this symposium underscores the methodological and theoretical value of classroom-based research as well. The presenters will discuss two distinct observational placements in Liverpool primary schools (LSP) that they have undergone as Education Studies students at Liverpool Hope University (LHU). The talks will specifically indicate how these placements enabled reflections on critical pedagogy, the integration of refugee and other new arrival students and linguistic diversity.

Presenter 1: Rebecca Jackson (LHU)
Title: Schooling and Hospitality: A Liverpool primary school’s approach to welcoming new arrivals

Through observing lessons and exploring an LPS environment, it was possible to gain deeper insights into how schools with high populations of new arrivals help to create a welcoming environment for these refugee and migrant students, and how they educate their domestic students about refugee experiences. This talk will discuss the rise in right-wing racist groups like the EDL and how schools can increase tolerance by crafting thoughtful pedagogies (using multi-modal methods).

Presenter 2: Bethany Shepherd (LHU)
Title: The Profusion of Tongues: How multilinguality enriches the classroom

This talk will explore linguistic diversity in UK schools, based on the speaker’s research at an LPS. In particular, it will consider common approaches to teaching English as Additional Language students, the benefits of having multiple languages in schools (from the social to the cognitive) and some techniques for supporting linguistic diversity both in and out of schools. Further, this talk will discuss Philosophy for Children as a possible methodology for enhancing linguistic and cultural diversity, and indicate how this was put into practice in the observed classroom.

The impact of the mobile phone to improve teacher competence through teacher working group to be a professional teacher In Indonesia
Mohamad Adning, Mike Watts (Brunel University)

The purpose of this study is to propose a conceptual framework for continued professional development (CPD) using mobile phones in teacher working group in Indonesia. In Indonesia, teachers need to have four broad competencies that consist of (i) pedagogy, (ii) professional, (iii) social and (iv) personal competencies. To achieve these competencies, the teacher is recommended to improve their knowledge and skills by joining teacher working groups or “kelompok kerja guru” (KKG). These are semi-informal institutions for professional educational learning that have legal status from the government of Indonesia. A KKG provides workshops, training and discussions that are held each month. KKGs use a mobile phone application to communicate and to share ideas with group members. Previous studies have shown that there is a diversity in the capability of teachers to use mobile learning, principally between junior teachers and senior teachers in the profession, even while the level of mobile phone activity between junior teachers and senior teachers was broadly the same. Mobile phones also facilitate teachers in their teaching processes in class. However, little research has been carried out to investigate the impact of mobile phones in improving professional teacher competencies. The methodology of this study uses a qualitative case-study approach through a government project through a ‘zone programme’. The proposed conceptual model is developed to predict the professional teacher performance outcomes through three educational structures, namely surface, deep and implicit structures through the use of mobile phones in the teacher working groups.

Students’ well-being, wild-ness and freedom from the ‘magic capture’ of assessments.
Dylan Adams, Nick Young (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

Neoliberalism has dictated policies and attitudes in higher education for well over a decade (Hursh and Wall, 2011; Lynch, 2006; Sanders-McDonagh and Davis, 2018). Within the neoliberal model “the individual (rather than the nation) is held responsible for her or his own well-being.” (Lynch, 2006, p. 1). However, In Wales the Well-being of Future Generations Act (Welsh Government, 2015) prioritises people’s wellbeing and supposedly puts sustainability and global responsibility at the heart of its aims. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that students in Wales are facing huge challenges to their health and future prosperity. Debt has become “a normative university experience” (Evans and Donelly, p.1278), common mental health disorders are on the rise in young people in higher education (Education Policy Institute, 2018) as are suicide rates (Office of National Statistics, 2018). In addition, a prevailing “hyperactive focus on employability” (Feigenbaum, 2007) and the “tyranny of numbers” (Ball, 2015) means that an oppressive accountability culture arguably distils education down to assessment grades. Under such a regime, pedagogy is “twisted into a kind of ‘service’” (Alexander, 2007, p.104).

This study explored how, despite living in neoliberal times and being “governed by numbers” (Ozga, 2008), education in a South Wales university moved beyond training and assessment foci. Students took part in a range of creative and wellbeing activities as part of their modules and extra-curricular work. These ranged from mindfulness, yoga, to working with visiting primary school children. Many of these activities took place in an ancient woodland on the university campus. This community approach provided scope for students to explore, enjoy, interpret and adapt their experience within HE into their own practice and life.

Emergent findings from recent group interviews, highlight students’ perceptions on how they have benefitted from engaging in these activities in terms of their personal wellbeing, their intellectual development and their emotional and holistic development. The students’ responses are situated within Dewey’s (1908/2016) ethical stance on education as being about democracy and experience, and Freire’s (1996) call for an emancipatory, dialogic pedagogy.  By offering students activities that focussed on the students’ holistic development (Quinlan, 2011; Miller, 1991), seems to have allowed the “magic” of education to be released, at least temporarily, in the minds of the participating students, from its neoliberal “apparatus of capture” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987/2004). The implications of these findings are positioned within conceptualisations of HE and the purpose of a university.


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Ball, S. J. (2015). Education, governance and the tyranny of numbers. Journal of Education Policy, 30(3), 299-301.

Dewey, J. (1908/2016)  Ethics. London: Forgotten Books.

Education Policy Institute. Prevalence of mental health issues within the student-aged population. Available at: [Accessed February 2nd, 2019].

Evans, C., & Donnelly, M. (2018). Deterred by debt? Young people, schools and the escalating cost of UK higher education. Journal of Youth Studies, 1-16.

Feigenbaum A (2007) The teachable moment: feminist pedagogy and the neoliberal classroom. Review of  Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 29(4): 337–349.

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Office of National Statistics, 2018, ‘Estimating Suicide Among Higher Education Students, England and Wales’ Available at: [Accessed February 2nd, 2019].

Quinlan, K. M. (2011). Developing the whole student: leading higher education initiatives that integrate mind and heart. Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.

Ozga, J. (2008). Governing Knowledge: research steering and research quality. European Educational Research Journal, 7(3), 261-272.

Sanders-McDonagh, E., & Davis, C. (2018). Resisting neoliberal policies in UK higher education: Exploring the impact of critical pedagogies on non-traditional students in a post-1992 university. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 13(3), 217-228.

Education for Integration: Supporting Refugee and Asylum Seeker Children and Young People
Maria Marin (University of Plymouth)

In 2000, Plymouth became one of UK’s dispersal cities and since then the city has regularly welcomed Asylum Seekers and Refugees. Many of these new families have school-aged children and young people. Research has shown that Asylum Seeker and Refugee students face many challenges in school which can affect their integration process. Rutter (2006) conducted a research which examined ASR student’s experiences in five different British schools. The results highlighted a number of challenges which later affected their wellbeing and settling-in process. Among others, these challenges included racist attacks and discrimination; language barriers; lack of understanding from teachers; and poverty. Similarly, more recent studies like the Refugee Support Network’s report in 2018 suggest that ASR students still encounter similar challenges today. Based on existing work on Refugee Education, this study aims to ask if schools in Plymouth are ready to welcome Asylum Seeker and Refugee Students.

To answer this question, a document analysis on the school’s policies was held. Additionally, an online survey was distributed to education practitioners based in Plymouth and professionals working in Asylum Seeker and Refugee agencies were interviewed. The results indicate that schools in Plymouth lack an understanding of ASR students’ needs. More than 50% of the educators that took part in the survey expressed they felt to have ‘a little’ understanding of ASR students’ needs and experiences. This finding corresponds with the opinion of the majority of interviewees, which argued that most schools and schools’ staff don’t understand the background of ASR students’ needs. On this basis, it is recommended that Plymothian schools implement target policies and procedures to improve the support of ASR students’ integration journey. Elements that can be used to build a model of good practice were found.


Refugee Support Network (2018) Education for Refugee and Asylum Seeking Children: Access and Equality in England, Scotland and Wales. Available at: (Accessed: 22 January 2019).

Rutter, J. (2006) Refugee Children in the UK. Edited by Gerald Grace, Meg Maguire and Ian Menter. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Workshop | Adults Understanding of the Play Cycle
Dr Pete King (Swansea University)

The Play Cycle is a way of observing children’s play. This paper based on a research study on playworkers understanding of the Play Cycle is the first empirical study on this play theory. Results show a variation in adults understanding of the six elements that make up the Play Cycle which has implications for professional practice for those who work with children in a play context. This includes teachers, early years practitioners and childcare workers. The paper concludes with revised definitions and explanation of the Play Cycle and offers a way of observing and mapping Play Cycles.