Category Archives: Conference

Governors and @researchED1 matters

researchED is a grass-roots movement which aims to improve research literacy and allows educators to access best research. As governors we need to be interested in education and this interest should go beyond governance in our own school. As governors we may, at times, feel slightly detached from what happens in classrooms, what do teachers think and the direction education and educational research is moving in. Attending events such as these gives governors a chance to meet and exchange ideas and views with teachers. It may help you to better understand what is happening in your school, especially if your teachers are engaged in research. Understanding what educational research is all about and what good educational research looks like may help you to question and understand the impact of what teachers in your school may be doing. It may be that some of the teachers from your school are also interested in attending the event. This provides an ideal opportunity to go together and discuss educational matters with your teachers outside of a board meeting. Such interaction between staff and governors is invaluable.

These events usually have a presentation from Ofsted. I have had the opportunity to listen to Mike Cladingbowl, Sean Harford and Amanda Spielman at these events. The presentations are usually followed by a question/answer session and I have always used the opportunity to ask a governance related question.

The other good thing about attending such events is the networking opportunities they provide. Some of the contacts you make may be helpful to teachers in your school too. Best of all, unlike many other events, researchED is very reasonably priced. This is important to me as I do not ask the school to purchase my ticket for me. The ticket includes access to all sessions and includes lunch too.

I have attended researchED conferences in the past and have blogged about them. If you are interested in reading these blogs then the links to them are as below.

Ed 2014 Matters

Governors Go To researchEd Cambridge!

Governors go to #rED15 because research matters Part 1

Governors go to #rED15 because research matters Part 2

If this has whet your appetite then there are two researchED events coming up. The first on 1st July 2017 in Rugby and tickets can be bought using this link. The second is the 2017 National Conference on Sept 9th 2017. More information about this (including how to buy tickets) is here.

If you do go to either or both of these then please do tweet/blog. And if you do go to the National Conference, then hopefully I’ll see you there!

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Governance matters at the #EducationFest


One of the biggest events on the edu conference calendar is back. The Telegraph Festival of Education is being held on the 22nd and 23rd of June at Wellington College. This will be third year I will be attending the Festival and to say I’m very excited would be an understatement!

The two day programme is jam-packed with educational goodies. There’s something for everyone. For the first time this year there is a dedicated SEN strand curated by Jarlath O’Brien, Headteacher, Carwarden Community School. There will be a wonderful researchED all day event. Dr David James and Ian Warwick have curated a full day session on World Class: Tackling the ten most important challenges facing schools today” which promises to be amazing. WomenEd and BAMEed are also well represented. There will be a chance to hear from the likes of Sir Roger Scruton, Dr Becky Allen, Sean Harford, Prof Rob Coe, Christine Counsell, Tom Bennett, Martin Robinson, Katharine Birbalsingh, Sir David  Carter, Daisy Christodoulou, Tarjunder Gill, Vic Goddard, Stuart Lock, Tom Sherrington, Loic Menzies, Carl Hendrick and many, many more. However, the thing I’m most excited about is, obviously, the governance strand.

I’m grateful to the organisers that they have, again, given a platform to governors. I am very lucky that I will be taking part in one of these sessions. This is a panel discussion on “Governance in the 21st Century“. With more and more schools joining multi academy trusts governance looks very different than it did twenty or even ten years ago. Schools are expected to be outward facing and boards and schools are expected to collaborate. Boards are expected to be increasingly skilled based.  This session hopes to explore how governors continue to hold schools to account as well as provide support while facing these challenges themselves. To discuss these issues, I will be joined by the following people who bring a wealth of governance experience.

Pat Petch OBE has been a school governor for over 30 years – but not all that time was spent at the same school! Pat has extensive experience of school governance.  She has been a governor at a nursery school and an adult college and most descriptions of school in between. More recently Pat has chaired three Interim Executive Boards resulting in schools moving out of special measures and now flourishing. This experience proved to be both extremely challenging and very rewarding. Pat was a member of the steering group that set up the National Governors’ Council (now the NGA) and chaired it for four years. She was awarded an OBE in 1999 for services to education. She is now an independent education consultant and delivers support for schools and governor training courses in various London Boroughs.

Jo Penn has many years of experience as a school governor. She is currently Chair of a Local Authority Primary School Governing Body and on the Board of a Secondary Academy. She has also been a member of a Special School Interim Executive Board and Chair of a Foundation School/converter Academy for four years. Jo is an experienced National Leader of Governance offering support to other chairs and governing bodies. In 2013 Jo co-founded @UkGovchat on Twitter, bringing governors from around the country together in weekly chat sessions for mutual challenge, support and development. She is an occasional blogger at Challenge, Support and All That Jazz

Steve Penny has been a governor for some six years, and Chair for the last two, at a single convertor academy girls’ school, that admits boys into the Sixth Form.  Steve is an Engineering Ambassador and a STEM UCAS tutor for the Social Mobility Foundation having completed a further degree with the OU which included experience of teaching in secondary schools

Su Turner is an experienced parent and LA governor in both primary and secondary schools, and is currently chair of a secondary academy.  Su’s recent national work has allowed her to work with the National Schools Commissioner and other senior education leaders to debate topical issues such as local accountability for education, and the changing role of councils. Su is Founder and Director of Insight to Impact Consulting Ltd – a governance improvement consultancy. So, do come and join us and take part in the discussion.

The other governance sessions are:

Does size matter? The growth of multi academy trusts”. This panel discussion will look at the need for good governance in MATs of all sizes and different ways that this can be achieved. It will also consider how governance structures and processes need to be adapted depending on the size and needs of the MAT. The panel consists of Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning, Emma Knights, CEO of NGA, Roger Inman, Head of Education Department at Stone King, and Liz Holmes, Vice Chair of the Board of Faringdon Academy of Schools (a community MAT in Oxfordshire). The panel will be chaired by Katie Paxton-Dogget who is a governance specialist and author of “How to run an Academy School”. 

Challanges of school governance in 2017 pesented by Emma Knights, CEO of National Governance Association. 

The programme for both the days can be viewed here. If this has whet your appetite then tickets are still available and can be booked using this link (there’s even a special rate for governors!).

Governance matters at #EducationFest 


Next week for two days (23rd, 24th) I’ll be at Wellington College attending the Telegraph Festival of Edcation. Not only will I have the chance to hear (and hopefully meet) educators who I admire greatly, I’m also lucky enough to be taking part in two panel discussions on governance.

The organisers need to be thanked for including a governance strand. If governance is your “thing” then these sessions will be of interest to you.

Thursday:

1. School Governors: Rising to The Challenge Jo Penn, Naureen Khalid, Clare Collins (11:50-12:40; MFL 2)

2.Building an education system on lasting collaboration, leadership and great governance Sir David Carter (13:30-14:20; Waterloo Hall)

3. The Everchanging Governance Landscape Naureen Khalid, Katie Paxton-Dogget, Jo Penn, Prof Chris James (14:30-15:20; MFL 2)

4. Education Education Renumeration: should governors be paid? Gerard Kelly and Emma Knights  (14:30-15:20; Concert Room)

Friday

5. Amo, Amas, A MAT; achieving a successful love match Donna Munday, Kien Lac (13:30-14:20; MFL 4)

6. Leadership makes the biggest difference Prof Toby Salt, Nicole McCartney (14:30-15:20; MFL 7)

7. Effective governance in multi academy trusts Andy Guest, Chris Tweedale (16:00-16:50; MFL 9)

The complete programme can be downloaded using this link

Governance and leadership matters; @japenn56 and I are off to @WomenEd Residential!

It’s not long now till the #WomenEd Residential. My very good friend Jo and I are facilitating a session around governance and leadership. Our session is titled, “All you wanted to know about the Governing Body’s role in the application process but didn’t know who to ask!”

Governors are responsible for Headteacher appointments and we are also involved in appointing SLT members. The appointment of heads is arguably the most important duty governors would ever perform. As governors it is our duty to appoint the best candidate, one who is best suited to our school and is able to take it forward. Governors need to be clear about their vision for their school and their students and be able to identify a candidate who shares that vision and can develop it and take it further.

Jo and I are aware that many of the people attending the Residential will have lots of questions about the whole process. You would perhaps want to know how the governing body decides how to advertise the post, what do we look for in potential candidates, how do we short list, what happens during the interview etc. We are also aware that many of the people attending the conference may not know much about the work of governing bodies. Unless you attend governing body meetings at your school or are a staff governor you may not have had much to do with governors. You may wonder why “volunteers” who may not be educators get to appoint heads. These are some of the questions you may feel you can’t ask your governors. This is where we come in. Both Jo and I have been involved in the head recruitment process. Jo has served as Chair of Governors and is a National leader of Governance. I am the Vice Chair of the Board. Our aim for this session is to demystify the whole process. There will also be an opportunity for you to ask us questions. Please feel free to ask us anything and we will try our best to answer your questions.

Further details of the Residential can be seen below. Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite. Don’t leave it too late!

Developing skilled and strategic governance matters

Optimus Education have organised conferences on governance in the past (I have storified tweets from the Birmingham conference here). As these events have proved to be very popular Optimus have decided to hold the conference again on 14th October, this time in Leeds. What’s more if you use the promotion code NK01 you can get £30 off the standard rate.*

Governance is under the spotlight as never before and rightly so in my opinion. Although we are volunteers that does not mean we should not carry out our duties to the best of our abilities. One way to ensure that we do so is by attending training and by finding out about best practice. Attending conferences is one way you can do both.

The Leeds conference will be focusing on how we can develop our skills so that we operate strategically. The main take-aways from this conference will be

  • understanding the implications for governors of the changes to the Ofsted framework
  • understanding strategies which can be used in recruitment and development of your governing body so that it operates strategically
  • understanding governor responsibilities in light of the Trojan Horse scandal

The new Ofsted framework and governors

This will be the focus of the first keynote address of the day which will be delivered by Ruth Agnew. She will also be talking about evidence which you may be expected to present during your inspection. Ruth is a National Leader of Governance and a very experienced governance consultant. Her address will be worth listening to (especially as she is someone who really engages her audience).

Roles and responsibilities of governors and trustees

The second keynote will be delivered by Emma Knights, Chief Executive NGA. Her keynote will be about the effective governance after the Trojan Horse scandal and the roles and responsibilities of governors. Emma will also be leading one of the morning’s sessions.

Understanding statutory obligations of governing bodies

Mark Blois, Partner & Head of Education, Browne Jacobson LLP will deliver the third keynote address. He will be talking about the impact of the latest legislations and guidance on the work of governing bodies. Not only is Mark best placed to talk about legislation and how it affects us, he also chairs a MAT so has practical, on the ground experience as well.

Recruitment of skilled governors

The fourth keynote will be delivered by Lynne Tommony, National Leader of Governance who will be looking at how governing bodies can identify and recruit highly skilled governors. Recruitment of skilled governors is becoming more and more important but, sadly, at the same time for many governing bodies, it is also becoming harder. This session will, therefore, be very useful and timely.

Streamed sessions

There will be various sessions running throughout the day which will equip you with tools to help your governing body discharge its functions effectively.

Morning sessions:

1A You will have a chance to hear from Matt Millar, NLG and Chair of Governors about his Ofsted experience. He will be talking about what evidence were the inspectors looking for and what questions were put to him and his fellow governors.

1B Emma will lead this session and she will be talking about NGA’s new framework of governance and how that can be used to drive the development of strategic vision by governing bodies.

1C As governors one of our duties is data evaluation which is what Dr Jamie Clarke, Executive Headteacher, Sponne School will be talking about

After lunch sessions:

2A Yvonne Lewington’s, (Lead Consultant, From Good To Outstanding), session will be on skill audits. She will be talking about how to conduct an audit and how to use the results to inform your governing body’s training and recruitment needs.

2B Sue Pagliaro, Director, LiveLearn (UK) Ltd, School Governance Consultancy will be discussing effective clerking. Professional and effective clerking is very important and this session will focus on how governing bodies can make best use of their clerks.

2C Governors, especially those who serve on Standards/Curriculum committees will find Deborah Thompson’s, (Head of School Improvement, London Borough of Enfield) session very useful. She will be talking about the changes in the curriculum and assessment and what governors need to know/do moving forward.

3A As governors we are expected to ask questions, hold the school to account and provide effective challenge. Shena Lewington (Governance Consultant whose website is a very rich source resources for governors) will be holding a session which will equip governors to do just this by developing questioning skills and building confidence.

3B In this session Ruth will be talking about how to structure governing bodies and committees so that they work efficiently and using best practice examples.

3C Andy Kent (NLG and Chair, National Co-ordinators of Governor Services) will be discussing the ways and methods governing bodies can use to evaluate their schools’ strengths and weaknesses and how to devise school improvement plans.

Who should attend the conference?

This conference will be useful for governors, chairs of governors, heads, principals, deputies, vice principals and clerks. In fact anyone involved in governance will be able to find something that will be interest to them. Two delegates can attend the conference for the price of one so you can come with someone from your governing body or school. Delegates will be able to download presentations after the event and they can use these materials to develop their governing bodies. If you do decide to attend, please do say hello. I would love to meet old friends and make new ones.

You may also like to read

For further details and information how to book, have a look at the conference website and download the flyer.

Questioning and effective challenge by Shena Lewington

Developing skilled and strategic governing bodies by Ruth Agnew

* Not to be used in conjuction with any other offer.

 


Governors go to #rED15 because research matters Part 2

Saturday saw people interested in education and research make their way to South Hamstead High School for the Annual ResearchED Conference. This is Part 2 of my blog about the day and covers sessions by Tom Sherrington, David Didau and Sam Freedman. Part 1 covers sessions by Laura Mcinerney, John Tomsett and Carol Davenport.

Tom Sherrington: Research Literacy and Literacy Research

Tom started his session by talking about research. According to Tom a high proportion oi conversations we have about research don’t reference specific research. Tom had a look at a DfE publication which ranked various interventions. He found that the study which ranked first was done over 20 years ago and was based on work done in one school. Tome said that sometimes citations have a power greater than what they should have. Citations get reported! Tom made the point that we should question the validity of the research. Tom said that in publishing that report DfE had been lazy but teachers cannot afford to be. Some well known literacy intervention research is based on a small scale enquiry. Tom made the point that in secondary schools with students with literacy problems, ordinary literacy teaching is ineffective. Tom’s school used “Accelerated Reader” but it required 1:1TA support and ICT access so they are going to stop using it. His school is going to start using the Thinking Reading programme. Tom was very clear that he was not recommending this programme at this stage as he hadn’t started using it. 6TA’s will be trained in the delivery of this programme. Students will be taken out of lessons for 3 half lessons so they don’t miss an awful lot of the lessons they are being taken out of. Tome says he realises this programme is an investment but in a secondary school where you have students with a reading age of 9 you have to make that investment as because of the literacy problems these students can’t access the rest of the curriculum either. The way this programme work, each lesson will generate a score so Tom and his school will be able to evaluate the programme. Tom ended by appealing to teachers that if they are asked to participate in studies by universities they should say yes! As a governor what I took away from this session was the fact that if the board is asked to sanction spending money on an intervention strategy, then the board should ask for the evidence which supports that strategy and to evaluate that evidence thoroughly.

Tweets about Tom’s session are Storified here

Tom’s blog is here

David Didau Foxy Thinking: How to Use Research to Embrace Uncertainty and Take Sensible Risks

David’s talk was about knowledge and ignorance. David used Ted Hughes’ poem The Thought Fox as a metaphor for how we may be thinking about research (feeling our way through ignorance before grasping an idea). At the same time dealing with the “unknown unknowns” is like looking for a black cat in a dark room when the cat may not be there anyway. It is, therefore, easier to concentrate on the known knows. But certainty has problems too. We don’t know what we don’t know and we prefer people to be sure even if they are wrong. David then went onto talk about foxy thinkers (know many little things, know more about what they don’t know) and hedgehog thinkers (know one big thing, usually see what they want to see). The link to education comes from the fact that when we do find answers they may lead to more questions. Education is complex and trying to say that this is what good teachers do so you should too. Every tool we have (observations etc) have drawbacks and this makes people think teachers shouldn’t be held accountable. David argues that what we should be looking at is developing “intelligent accountability” so teachers feel trusted, supported and accountable. This will mean they will be concerned with “being” good rather than just “looking” good. This reminded me of the system John Tomsett has started introducing in his school where there is joint lesson planning, no observation and then a joint discussion to evaluate. As governors we need to strike the right balance between trust and accountability.

In other words, from this

to this

Above two images courtesy David Didau

Storify of tweets from David’s session can be accessed here

David has blogged about his session and also included his slides.

Sam Freedman: Five Big Policy Challenges for the Next Government

Sam started by warning us that this was going to be a depressing talk. But I think, firstly this needed to be said and secondly Sam did offer some possible solutions so not all doom and gloom!

Sam started by talking about school led system where improvement is led by a good school. This doesn’t mean that the school has complete autonomy over the “what” which should still be prescribed by the government but the “how” is up to the school. Though some chains are doing amazing stuff, on average academies are performing the same as other schools. Similarly although some free schools are doing very well its still too early to tell. There is no systematic evaluations of NLE’s/Teaching schools/School Direct. So, what can we conclude from this? School improvement can happen in chains and federations but that is due to effective deployment of good people. We thought 5-10% of school leaders had the capacity to be system leaders. But system improvement is much harder to achieve, harder than we realised and one reason for this is that we were London centric. We can now either make this work or go back to the government telling us what to do and national Strategies.

Sam then went on to talk about the five challenges facing education which are

  • Resources
  • Infrastructure
  • Teacher supply
  • Leadership
  • Expertise

These are actually all to do with capacity. As far as resources are concerned, this will be a great challenge for school boards. Boards will see £3 billion drop in 5-16 funding. If you govern urban schools you may see pounds being moved out of these schools to rural ones. Boards will have some very difficult decisions to make when funding cuts start hurting even more than they do now. Sam thinks universal free school meals will go. Welfare cuts will have an effect on schools too. If schools can think of ways top use teacher time more effectively then they may be able to make some savings.

Sam then touched upon the role of regional school commissioners. Although they play a hugely important role (and this will increase when they become responsible for “coasting schools”) not everyone seems to know about them. Sam thinks the government will either have to rethink the RSC role or reshape it into smaller areas. The role that LA’s play is another issue. When the student number bulge hits the secondary schools LA’s will face a school place issue which will be a challenge as LA’s can’t force academies to expand. The government may want to rethink this. Sam thinks that one of the biggest problems was the over expansion of chains which clearly not able or ready for this expansion. This is again an area where boards have to think really hard before they decide on joining MAT’s for example. They should explore all options, including those of smaller, local groups.

The next challenge is of teacher supply. Even in subjects such as English where we are told targets are beig met, schools are saying they are having difficulty recruiting. There is a “perfect storm” emerging due to economic recovery, falling graduate numbers and financial pressures on schools, Sam’s proposed that tuition fee for PGCE should be scrapped and there should be a central application system.

Leadership challenges are to do with the fact that Sam and other governors are finding that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit heads. Around half the heads will be retiring. There are not enough people who are equipped top do the executive head or chain CEO roles. Increased accountability is also putting people off, especially true of headships in challenging schools. Sam thinks this can be solved to some extent by non-teachers talking up chain CEO/executive head roles. I think this idea has merit and needs to be explored further by boards. As far as accountability is concerned Sam is of the opinion that schools need an inspection system, but the present system needs a rethink. What is needed is a system which will not penalise schools with low ability intakes.

The last challenge is that of expertise or lack of. There is lack of high quality CPD. Change has started to happen but it will take a long time to bear fruit. Assessment levels have gone but have been replaced by similar systems. Assessment expertise needs to be built up. Management expertise is lacking in schools and schools are panicking leading to teacher burn out. School environment for teachers has a huge impact on student outcome. Sam thinks we need to start thinking of bringing expertise from outside to improve school environment for teachers.

Sam’s session may have been “depressing” according to him but it was a very good session and he did present some possible solutions to the problems faced by education and educators.

Tweets from Sam’s session have been Storified here

Sam’s slides are here

Further reading:

Blogs and presentations, collated

Links to the Storify of tweets from the sessions covered in Part 1 are given below

Laura McInerney

John Tomsett

Carol Davenport

Governors go to #rED15 because research matters Part 1

Saturday saw people interested in education and research make their way to South Hamstead High School for the Annual ResearchED Conference. Amongst them were four governors from my school (Steve Penny, Jo Penn, Colleen Young and I. Colleen was wearing three hats; governor, SLT and secondary Maths teacher). The day’s programme was packed full of interesting talks being delivered by wonderful people. I’m sure the day will come when this event will have to be held over two days! I’ll write this blog in two parts. Part 1 covers sessions by Laura Mcinerney, John Tomsett and Carol Davenport. Part 2 covers sessions by Tom Sherrington, David Didau and Sam Freedman. I have previously written why governors may want to attend these events.

Laura McInerney: What Works for One Might Not Work for All

As I was leaving home I received an email from Dropbox informing me that my photo flashback was ready to view. The photos were from Laura McInerney’s session at last year’s ResearchED! So, it was fitting that this year I started the day by going to her session and I’m really glad I did as it was a very fascinating talk. Laura spoke about group psychology and why what works for one may not work for all. Laura highlighted some studies which we should be familiar with, how “power” is gathered in groups and how group work actually works. Asch Conformity Study has shown the effect peer pressure can have. In experiments people were asked a question. All but one member of the group had been told how to respond to the question, sometimes giving the correct answer and at other times the wrong one. The researchers were interested how the last person responded after having heard the others. This person was later asked why he responded the way he did. Results showed that 5% of people will change their minds from the start. 72% will change their minds at least once. When asked why, they said they thought they were wrong! This fascinated me! Thinking in terms of board discussions this is something the Chair, perhaps, should be aware of, especially if there are one or two new board members. During a discussion or vote would they conform to what the rest of the board was saying or the way they were voting? Is there any way the Chair could perhaps make sure that the new members were saying what they really felt rather than thinking they were wrong and following the rest of the members? Laura then talked about the Zajonc Drive studies. These showed that people (and cockroaches!) perform better when watched. The third study (Robert’s cave experiment) showed that groups competing with finite resources (including teacher support and attention) do not behave rationally. The take away message, for me as a governor, from these studies was that we need to be aware of these when we are deciding whether or not to invest in a certain intervention technique. When evidence is presented to you that the technique works ask yourself could the Zajonc and Robert’s cave studies explain why it worked. Laura also explained how what works for one teacher may not work for all teachers. If you want to see what people were tweeting about Laura’s session click here to read my Storify of her session.

John Tomsett: Hope Over Fear

This is the first time I heard John speak and it won’t be the last! John talked about what evidence based teaching isn’t. He explained what role a research lead could play in a school. This, I think, is important. I would love to see more schools think about research leads and I would love these research leads to work with governors as well as other school leaders. A good research lead can help the board to ask the right questions. He/she can help the board evaluate the evidence, as John put it scrutinise the evidence for the “how”, “who” and “why”, all questions which a board needs to be asking. John went on to talk about lesson observation and the question he asks of himself; “How can I observe you in a way that will best help you improve your teaching?” John now does joint lesson planning and then the teacher comes back to evaluate together and discuss. As governors it is not our job to make judgements on individual teachers. John’s talk made me realise that when formulating a governor monitoring policy what the board should be asking the head and SLT is how can we monitor what is happening in the school to best help improve outcomes for our students. I think we stand to gain much more from a monitoring policy which has this question as its basis. John went on to discuss this year’s A Level results. He is convinced that developing metacognition through medelling thinking has great benefits. He also mentioned that he invites his students to take part in his 360 o evaluation. This is something which is considered best practice for board chairs as well. I think chairs and heads should be encouraged to adopt this practice and each should ask the other for an evaluation as well. Few John Tomsett quotes which I especially liked are

  • How can I observe you to help your teaching?
  • Exams are done. Results are in. Now use them to learn from them
  • The best pastoral care we can provide is a good set of exam results

All of the above are equally applicable to boards as to teachers.

John has previously  written about improving lesson observation.

To read my Storify of tweets from John’s session, please click here.

Carol Davenport: Gender Equity in Science

Carol talked about trends in subject uptake looking at years 2013-2015. Fewer girls studied Computing or Physics as compared to boys and whereas fewer boys studied psychology. While looking at the popularity of STEM subjects, maths has shown the most improvement and this may be because it is seen as a useful subject to have while applying for university places. Carol then discussed the finding of three reports; Aspires, Five Tribes and “Not for people like me?” The Aspires study reported that the low uptake of STEM is not because of the negative image of STEM. As governors the important message for us is that the family’s “science capital” plays an important part as does the white, male, middle-class image. If, as governors, we are finding that our girls and minority groups are not opting for science then we need to ask our SLT what they have identified as the problem. Is it the image or are family attitudes putting them off? Can this be changed and how can the board help in doing this? Do we, as governors know, if our school is focusing more on the higher ability students to get them to opt for science? Do we, perhaps unconsciously, give out the message that science is only for the “brainiest” students? What information do we provide to our children regarding STEM careers? Are our students thinking that science is “not for people like me”? If we, as governors, are finding that girls and students from minority backgrounds are not taking up STEM then are we aware why that is? Carol emphasised that for change to happen we will have to involve families and start talking about the various STEM careers early enough and regularly. This was a fascinating session and if I had had time I would have liked to ask Carol’s opinion on whether schools should be looking at segregating genders for STEM lessons.

To read my Storify of tweets from Carol’s session, please click here.

You may also want to have a look at Wellcome Trust’s Questions governors can ask about maths and science and Wellcome Trust’s Review of the extent to which Ofsted reports mention science.

Further reading:

ResearchED 2015 blogs and presentations, collated

Links to the Storify of tweets from the sessions covered in Part 2 are given below

Tom Sherrington

David Didau

Sam Freedman