Just Published – Educationalfutures Volume 14 Issue 2

Welcome to Volume 14 Issue 2 of EducationalFutures, our second edition for 2023. This is the third edition under the co-editorship of Zeta Williams-Brown (University of Wolverhampton) and Stephen Dixon (Birmingham Newman University), which we would never complete without the valuable assistance of both Joe Gazdula, as Journal Managing Editor, and Stephen Ward, as publisher of the journal and member of the Editorial Board. We are delighted to be able to offer readers a slightly shorter (but still perfectly formed) edition, thanks to the hard work of the authors, reviewers and staff, with three journal articles and a book review.

Our first article is a wonderful paper The changing role of the headteacher in England post academisation by a range of authors from across the UK: Jack Lewis (University of Warwick), Deborah Outhwaite (University of Liverpool), Claire Tupling (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance), Mark Gibson (Oxford Brookes University) and Giuliana Ferri (Brunel University). This is a timely study on the changing role of the headteacher in the age of academisation, multi-academy trusts and school trusts. Beginning with an overview on academisation, this qualitative study explores the perceptions of leadership amongst senior leaders from a single multiacademy trust, identifying key findings for teaching and learning, central services, collaboration, and the future for educational leadership in England. A significant positive taken from the role change is seen as the refocusing of headteachers’ attention to learning, but issues of accountability are also addressed in detail.

Our next two articles both focus on undergraduate students in the UK. In another cowritten paper An exploration of factors influencing undergraduate student engagement at a UK university, three authors from the University of Gloucestershire, Rick Millican, Tristan Middleton and Tyrone Perry-Harry, have partnered with three undergraduate researchers, Luci Holmes, Jorja Bond and Ohoud Abdalla, to explore the factors influencing undergraduate student engagement. This is an area of concern across the sector, and, whilst highlighting that often blurred distinction between attendance and engagement, the paper identifies both internal influences on student engagement, such as pedagogy, assessment demands, learning environment and session content, as well as external factors over which the university has little control, such as student attitude to learning, time management, health, finances and travel arrangements. In a paper that will appeal to anyone working within the sector, the authors argue the need for university teaching staff to carefully consider those internal factors, and to reflect on the way that learning environments are constructed.

Our final article What does implication mean? An exploration of undergraduates’ vocabulary size and academic achievement is a fascinating study from Jennifer Marshall (University of Derby): an exploration of undergraduates’ vocabulary size and academic achievement. In an initial aim to improve educational outcomes for students, the article looks at undergraduates’ receptive knowledge of vocabulary and how these relate to academic achievement, exploring possible correlations between them. This is a much larger scale study, involving 389 undergraduate participants, and again the findings will be of interest to all those working in the sector.

Finally, Verity Aitken, who is a member of the Executive Committee, has kindly written a book review for this edition, on Time in Education: Intertwined dimensions and theoretical possibilities (2020) by Catherine Compton-Lilly. In a full and insightful review, Verity highlights how the book aims to problematise the view that time is  neutral, and raises the concern that linear and chronological understandings of time,  as adopted by school structures, lead to the uncritical charting and organising of student success. The book draws on three theoretical frameworks: Lemke’s (2000) work on timescales, Bakhtin’s (1981) concept of chronotope and Bourdieu’s (1980) understanding of habitus, to analyse the ways in which time is ecological, situated  and embodied. Verity recommends the book for social theory modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, highlighting its appeal to all those interested in social justice.

We hope you enjoy this edition of EducationalFutures and we welcome contributions to future volumes for any of the three sections: traditional academic articles, teaching excellence articles and book reviews. If you are new to researching and have an article or piece of work you think we might find interesting, then please contact Julia Everitt for her opinion on getting published in Transformations (contact details are available on the website). The next edition is planned to coincide with our annual conference, of which more details will be posted on the website in the new year.

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