Research

Education research informs Scottish government

Professor Alma Harris of our Department of Education was in Edinburgh this week for the second meeting of the International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) – a group set up to advise the Scottish government on achieving excellence and equity in the Scottish education system.

Professor Harris, who joined Bath last year, is part of a 10-strong panel made up of experts experienced at advising educators and governments around the world on education leadership, school improvement and reform in countries including the US, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Malaysia, Australia and the UK.

The International Council has two formal meetings each year and met for the first time in August 2016.

Alma Harris with Nicola Sturgeon

Professor Alma Harris with First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at this week's International Council of Education Advisers meeting in Edinburgh (Credit: Crown Copyright)

Ahead of this week’s meetings, Scottish Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, described challenge from the International Council as ‘essential’ in order to bring about the robust reforms for making improvements in Scotland’s schools.

During proceedings, the Council updated ministers on developing thinking around its three key themes - capacity building in educational leadership and professional learning; building collaboration and collective responsibility in Scottish education; and outlining what works educationally to close the equity gap.

Following the conclusion of the meeting in Edinburgh, the ICEA confirmed it would bring forward specific recommendations as to how excellence and equity can be strengthened in Scotland’s schools. These recommendations will be in three priority areas:

  • Improving pedagogy for specific subjects, using clear evidence to identify what works in the classroom
  • Developing effective leadership at all levels in Scottish education– unleashing untapped potential within the system
  • Ensuring a culture of collaboration exists throughout Scottish education, at classroom, school, regional and national level.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "I would like to thank the ICEA for giving their time to offer invaluable expertise and a wide range of perspectives on how we can deliver excellence and equity in Scotland’s schools.

“Scotland is very fortunate to have access to such a valuable resource and the discussions over two days have been enlightening, challenging and hugely productive as we consider how to make the changes we need to the education system.

"Central to our discussions has been how we can best empower our teachers to do what they do best – teach our children and focus on raising attainment in the classroom. I am confident the recommendations the ICEA will bring forward will help us in those endeavours, deliver better teaching, improve leadership and drive collaboration in schools.”

Professor Harris, whose research focuses on education leadership, added: “I am delighted that enhancing leadership, at all levels, was highlighted by the Council as an important strategy for improving school and system performance. In addition, discussions about equity, diversity and inclusion were central to our discussions over the two day meeting.”

Find out more about the meeting here - http://news.gov.scot/news/international-council-of-education-advisers-3

International Council of Education Advisers

The ICEA comprises leading experts in the fields of education leadership, schools improvement and education reform. These are:

  • Dr Carol Campbell, Education Adviser to the Ontario Premier and Minister of Education and Associate Professor of Leadership and Educational Change at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
  • Professor Chris Chapman, Chair of Educational Policy and Practice at the University of Glasgow and Senior Academic Adviser to the Scottish Attainment Challenge.
  • Professor Graham Donaldson, Consultant and international adviser for OECD
  • Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive of Virgin Money
  • Dr Avis Glaze, former Ontario Education Commissioner and Senior Adviser to the Minister for Education.
  • Professor Andy Hargreaves, Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and a member of the OECD team that recently reviewed Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence.
  • Professor Alma Harris, Department of Education at the University of Bath.
  • Dr Pak Tee Ng, Associate Dean, Leadership Learning, and Head of the Policy and Leadership Studies Academic Group at Singapore’s National Institute of Education.
  • Dr Pasi Sahlberg, former Director General of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation at Finland’s Ministry for Education and Culture, and a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
  • Dr Allison Skerrett, Associate Professor in Language and Literacy Studies at the University of Texas.

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Andy Dunne
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