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Landmark Research Further project announces first 11 scholars

David Gallagher

Association of Colleges (@AoC_info) in partnership with @NCFE is pleased to announce the first 11 scholars chosen to undertake funded research into areas of post-16 teaching practice and policy that have little to no data available currently.

In October 2021, AoC and NCFE joined forces to launch Research Further – a scholarship programme supporting practitioners to carry out Masters or doctorate level study. Following the submission of dozens of research proposals, 11 scholars from across AoC member colleges in the UK were chosen by Research Further’s high calibre advisory board.

Topics to be researched are wide-ranging and will cover finance, inequalities, regional outcomes and culture and best practice. Colleges have confirmed that their Research Further scholars will be given one day per week of remission to carry out the work. They will be supported by the advisory board, consisting of representatives from government, awarding organisations, funders, and sector leaders from across the UK, and will soon start to support each other and the wider research community in FE through a series of written pieces and webinars.

The first 11 scholars are:

  • Rachel Arnold, English Lecturer, English Teaching & Learning Coach, Solihull College – whose research will focus on engaging the disengaged: what happens when the teenagers become the experts
  • Caroline Dunstan, Lead Learning and Development Practitioner, Riverside College – whose research will investigate the impact of self and peer analysis of recorded lessons on teaching 
  • Neale Gardiner, International Business Advisor, Edinburgh College – whose research will look at the impact of further education on regional inequality and labour market outcomes
  • Martin Hoskin, Head of Teaching, Learning & Quality, HSDC –focusing on the gamification of CPD and teacher agency
  • Laura Kayes, Advanced Practitioner and Performing Arts Educator, Leeds City College – her research will consider poverty-informed practice
  • Catherine Lloyd, Director of Land Based Studies, Shuttleworth College (Bedford College Group) – who will research the delivery of courses at a time of significant change in the wider agricultural sector
  • Sian Mantovani, Tutor of Sociology, York College – focusing on the experience of students of colour in a predominantly white FE college
  • Katie Stafford, Deputy Principal, New City College – the research will consider how a college’s organisational culture impacts teacher’ engagement with professional learning
  • Rachel Whitton, Lecturer in Education & Training, Coaching and Mentoring, Coleg Cambria – whose research will explore the strengths and limitations of hyflex delivery within professional work based learning programmes
  • Evan Wood, Curriculum Leader Creative Industries, Barnsley College – whose research will look at best practice and educational culture within the creative industry sector
  • Patricia Jones, Executive Director of Finance, Bedford College Group – whose research will look at achieving sustainable financial health for the FE sector

The scholars’ work will be tracked through a webinar series hosted by AoC and NCFE, and new knowledge on pedagogy or policy will be shared with the sector through think-pieces, reports, articles and blogs.

AoC’s Senior Research Policy Manager (Research and Evidence), Julia Belgutay said:

“I’m delighted to be able to announce the first Research Further scholars. They are already real experts in their fields and their work will help us fill crucial gaps in evidence. At the same time, their knowledge and experience as they go about their chosen qualifications will inspire and help grow the blossoming practitioner research community across the sector.”

David Gallagher, NCFE’s CEO, said:

“It is fantastic to see this pioneering initiative progressing so well. We’ve been blown away by the calibre of the scholars and wait in eager anticipation to see what their research uncovers.

This project is an important moment for the Further Education sector and quite rightly invests in educators, giving them the opportunity to carry out innovative research and bring to light ideas to form future best practice.

Up until now there has been a shortfall of truly practitioner-led research. This programme is all about untapping potential and we believe that those closest to learners and learning have a huge role to play in the future of FE.”

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