From September 2006 to August 2009
Project Leader(s): David Leat
Staff: Lucy Tiplady and Pam Woolner
Contact: Lucy Tiplady, Pam Woolner
Sponsors: The Helen Hamlyn Trust
Impact on pupils:
*Knowledge and skills - are pupils more knowledgeable and skilful as a consequence of the project - about growing, cooking, media and thinking?
*Thinking and problem solving ¡V can pupils apply their knowledge and skills? *Do their SAT results and other Teacher Assessments improve?
*Are attitudes, relationships, behaviours and dispositions changed? Value for use - what practical impact has the project had and is likely to have?
*Timeliness - is it tackling current and concrete problems?
*Generalisability - are the outcomes in a form that are as accessible as possible to as wide a range of people as possible, are the implications made clear?
*What are the implications for whole school planning and leadership? Efficiency - were things done effectively, on time and at a reasonable cost?
*Were the trainers reliable, effective and responsive?
*Were the OF support structures reliable and instructive?
*Were teachers given adequate support and encouragement? Capacity building and value for people ¡V does the project take people forward in terms of vision, initiative, dispositions and skills?
*Ownership - do the schools take ownership of the project, and shape it according to the needs of the pupils and community?
*Personal growth - do teachers, classroom assistants, school leaders, trainers, parents and supporters feel differently about themselves - more confident, knowledgeable, skilled, fulfilled, and useful?
*Alignment - is there any sign that priorities within the school are clarifying and connecting as a consequence of the project (whilst meeting statutory requirements) - does the big picture seem any more joined up from the school or community perspective?
Based on experience and knowledge of literature, we have assumed that schools will construct their own 'version' of Open Future, reflecting their context, needs and resources, and will subsequently look different in every school. The evaluation will therefore take the form of a formative evaluation, encouraging the most meaningful, integrated and embedded 'versions' that are possible. Multi-methods, combining both qualitative and quantitative research tools will be used, allowing for a considerable degree of triangulation of the data. Importantly schools are being encouraged to evaluate their own projects, related to their own school aims for Open Future. Schools are being supported in using a range of teacher-friendly research methods where possible so that they can learn what benefits Open Future is bringing and whether this fits with their original aims.
In the first year (September 2006-September 2007) the evaluation was planned to include:
*Visits to all 10 northern schools; interviews held with a selection of the following: head teacher, project coordinator, teachers, classroom assistants, parents, governors and any other stakeholders and to collect any project/curricular documentation that may be relevant.
*To attend head teacher, school development and partners- management group meetings as and when necessary.
*To provide support to the project primary schools in the form of email and telephone support, as well as twilight sessions in teacher-friendly research methods such as classroom observation, video, interviews, pupil view templates (Wall and Higgins 2006; Wall et al. 2005), contact logs and pupil diaries (electronic or paper).
*To devise and administer a stakeholder questionnaire and a pupil questionnaire for all northern project primary schools.
*To offer visits to all 10 south coast project schools and offer support in teacher-friendly research methods through resources and email and telephone support. Curriculum embedding A key challenge, if Open Future is to be sustainable and disseminated, is that it needs to become embedded in the school curriculum. Much of our work will be working with schools to help shape the 4 strands into lasting curriculum entities, perhaps by developing enquiry as a curriculum vehicle or through developing a skills based curriculum. This is an example of applied research, in partnership, producing knowledge through the practices of teachers.
Wall, K. and Higgins, S. (2006) Facilitating and supporting talk with pupils about metacognition: a research and learning tool, International Journal of Research and Methods in Education, Vol 29, pp. 39-53.
Wall, K., S. Higgins, and Smith, H. (2005). "The visual helps me understand the complicated things": Pupil views of teaching and learning with interactive whiteboards, British Journal of Education Technology, Vol. 36, pp. 861-867.
Professor David Leat
Dr Pamela Woolner