Other IoE Projects
The research team behind the Class Size Research Project were also involved with a number of other research projects. Details of these are shown below.
Deployment and Impact of Support Staff
The Deployment and Impact of Support Staff (DISS) study is the largest study to date of the deployment and impact of support staff in schools. It was conducted between 2003 and 2009 in UK schools. The analysis studied the effects of the amount of TA support - based on teacher estimates of TA support and systematic observations - on 8,200 pupils across two cohorts of pupils in seven age groups in mainstream schools. The influential ‘Wider Pedagogical Role’ model was devised to summarise the results from systematic observation, time estimate, national questionnaire survey and case study data and explain the unexpected negative results on pupil outcomes. The project was funded by the English and Welsh Governments.
Blatchford, P., Russell, A. and Webster, R. (2012) Reassessing the impact of teaching assistants: How research challenges practice and policy, Oxon: Routledge http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reassessing-Impact-Teaching-Assistants-Challenges/dp/0415687640
The Breaktime Project
This programme of work focuses on an important but little understood part of the school day. A key component of the work has been two independent national surveys of break and lunch times in primary and secondary schools in the UK. The surveys were funded by the Nuffield Foundation and jointly directed by Professor Peter Blatchford and Dr Ed Baines. They took place in 1995 and 2006. The first survey also involved a retrospective survey of the situation 5 years earlier, thus covering 25 years in total. Systematic information on breaktimes is not collected by the Government or any other organisation and thus there is little understanding about these important parts of the school day. The research also involved a survey of children's social life outside of school and provided important data on children's travel to school. The project identified marked changes in the school day, the reduction and sometimes abolition of lunch and the afternoon break, and suggestions that pupil behaviour out of school had worsened. Results from this research help share practice across schools and inform management decisions and educational and social policy about breaktime and school.
It is hoped to conduct another 10 year follow up survey, thereby providing a survey of breaktimes covering 35 years.
It is the social significance of breaktime and lunchtimes that is too often overlooked. The web site also reports on a recent project on the Social Implications of School Meal Times (carried out by Ed Baines with Helen MacIntyre during 2011) and a study of 'Playground games: their social context in elementary/junior school' (carried out by Peter Blatchford, Anthony Pellegrini, Ed Baines and Kentaro Kato).
For further information please visit the project website at www.breaktime.org.uk/
Within Class Pupil Grouping Practices in Primary and Secondary Schools
In the UK pupils are often seated in groups around tables but there is little known about the characteristics of these arrangements and their role in learning. This research involved two surveys of the nature and use of grouping practices, the first in primary and the second in secondary school classrooms. The projects were funded by the ESRC and co-directed by Peter Blatchford and Peter Kutnick. The research examined the use of different teaching contexts (e.g. whole class teaching, group-work, individual work etc.) relative to grouping sizes, task types, classroom organisation, curriculum area and so on. More details are available from the SPRinG Project website at www.spring-project.org.uk
The SPRinG (Social Pedagogic Research into Group-work) project followed the within class grouping studies and was the first large scale study designed to develop and evaluate effective group-work in everyday primary and secondary school classroom settings.
The four year project was part of a large research programme on teaching and learning (the TLRP), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project ran from 2000 to 2005 but continues in a number of ways.
It was jointly conducted by the Institute of Education, University of London, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and The Education Research Centre, University of Brighton. The project directors were Peter Kutnick, Peter Blatchford and Maurice Galton. The project aimed to enhance the learning potential of pupils (at Key Stages 1-3) working in classroom groups by actively involving teachers in a programme designed to raise levels of group-work during typical classroom learning activities.
See the website for more details: http://www.spring-project.org.uk
It was followed by the Effective Deployment of Teaching Assistants (EDTA) project, funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, which developed new strategies for deploying and preparing TAs, and two studies funded by the Nuffield Foundation on the support provided in mainstream primary and secondary schools for pupils with statements of Special Educational Needs (The MAST and SENSE studies).