The Bera Annual Conference 2010. 1st - 4th September 2010.


Wednesday 1st September 15.15 – 16.16

Tom Schuller, Director, Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning, National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education and Independent Consultant

Title: Learning Through Life

Biography: Tom Schuller is director of an independent Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning in the UK, sponsored by the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education. Its main report, Learning Through Life, was published in September 2009.

From 2003-2008 Tom was Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), OECD, Paris. Formerly Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Professor of Lifelong Learning at Birkbeck, University of London from 1999 to 2003, he was also co-director of the Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning. Previous positions were at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Warwick, at the Institute for Community Studies in London, and for four years at OECD in the 1970s. His most recent books are  Understanding the Social Outcomes of Learning (with Richard Desjardins, OECD 2007), Evidence in Education: Linking Research and Policy (edited, with Tracey Burns, OECD 2007), and The Benefits of Learning: The Impact of Education on Health, Family Life and Social Capital (with John Preston et al, RoutledgeFalmer 2004).  He chairs the Governing Board of the Working Men’s College and plays in the Alexandra Palace Band.

Outline: Based on the belief that access to learning throughout life that enriches and strengthens individuals and societies is a human right, I will address issues raised by the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning.

I will argue that our current system of lifelong learning has failed to respond to the major demographic challenge of an ageing society and to the change in employment patterns as young people take longer to settle into jobs and older people take longer to leave work, adressing issues such as:

We need a coherent strategic framework for lifelong learning in the UK. This will involve radical change but is necessary if we are to address the needs of lifelong learning for the next 10 - 15 years.

Thursday 2nd September 13.00 – 14.00

Professor Louise Morley, Director of the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER), University of Sussex

Title: Imagining the University of the Future

Biography: Louise Morley AcSS is a Professor of Education and Director of the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) ( at the University of Sussex, UK. Her previous posts were at the Institute of Education, University of London, the University of Reading and the Inner London Education Authority. She is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education.

Louise has an international profile in the field of sociology of higher education studies. She has given keynote presentations, undertaken research and consultancy and has been a visiting academic in countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, The Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Holland, India, Italy, Korea, Lesotho, Mexico, Moldova, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the USA.

Her research and publication interests focus on international higher education policy, gender, equity, micropolitics, quality, and power. She is currently directing an ESRC/DFID funded research project on Widening Participation in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania ( She directed a DFID/ Carnegie funded research project on Gender Equity in Commonwealth Higher Education ( In the UK, she has recently conducted policy research for HEFCE on establishing the needs of employers for information about the quality and standards of higher education provision (

Her publications include Gender Equity in Selected Commonwealth Universities Research Report No. 65, DFID (2006); Quality and Power in Higher Education  (2003) Open University Press; Organising Feminisms: The Micropolitics of The Academy (1999), Macmillan.

Outline: Higher education today is characterised by the hyper-modernisation of global, entrepreneurial, corporate universities and speeded up, nomadic public intellectuals. This is often underpinned by the archaism of globalised gender inequalities and elitist participation patterns. Change has been rapid and extreme. Counter hegemonic advocates did not necessarily predict the scale of neo-liberal driven change. Traditionalists did not foresee the industrialisation and massification. The academic imaginary has been harnessed to compliance and critique, rather than to futurology. Desire, as well as loss, needs to be considered. Questions about the morphology of the university of the future seem to be eclipsed by pressing concerns in the (neo-liberal/ neo-conservative) present. What should the university of the future look like?

Thursday 2nd September 16.45 – 17.45

Professor John Gardner, Queen’s University, Belfast

Title: BERA Presidential Address

Biography: John Gardner is Professor of Education in the School of Education at Queen’s University, Belfast. He has been engaged in educational research and teacher education at Queen’s for over 20 years, having begun his career as a teacher in a Belfast grammar school. His teaching areas and research interests include assessment, ICT in education and research methods. He has been a head of the Graduate School of Education (1993-02) and Dean of the faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences (2002-06). Since 1990, he has been principal investigator in over 20 large and small-scale projects including the Nuffield-funded project: Analysis and Review of Innovations in Assessment (ARIA). As a member of the BERA Council, he chaired the development of the Association’s Revised Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research (2004). He has been a member of the Assessment Reform Group since 1994 and is an elected academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences, a fellow of the British Computer Society, a member of the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme Steering Committee, a member of the Research Assessment Exercise panel for Education, a founding member of UCET-NI and a former member of the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland. He is the author or co-author of five books and 100+ journal articles and his recent keynote presentations include the Georgia Board of Regents (Atlanta 2006), the Chinese Ministry of Education (Beijing 2007) and the Manitoba Association of Superintendents (Winnipeg 2008).

Discussion Panel

Friday 3rd September 10.30 – 12.00

Title: The Impact of Educational Research

Outline: We will undoubtedly hear a lot about ‘impact’ over the next few years. In part, this will be driven by a pragmatic scramble for the next round of research assessment ... and for future funding. In part though, it may also be driven by people who believe that education research really should make an impact on our society. For some, after all, the aim is not just to interpret the world, but to change it. And beyond the dilemmas posed by pragmatism and commitment, questions will be raised too about the role of theory, knowledge accumulation, technology, media, outputs and dissemination infrastructures. And what exactly is the relationship between research quality and research impact?

This Panel Discussion brings together colleagues who have been wrestling with such issues for many years.  We hope to challenge them by posing some of dilemmas which this new priority generates and to stimulate debate within BERA. The session will be facilitated by Andrew Pollard who was Director of TLRP (2002-09) and who now chairs the UK Strategic Forum for Research in Education. And how responsible should researchers themselves be for impact anyway? There is a lot to discuss.

Chair: Professor Andrew Pollard, Chair, UK Strategic Forum for Research in Education and former Director, ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme


Dr Lesley Saunders, Visiting Professor, Institute of Education, London
Research Fellow, Department of Education, Oxford University
Associate, Leadership for Learning Network, Faculty of Education, Cambridge University

Biography: My current affiliations are Visiting Professor, Institute of Education, London; Research Fellow, Department of Education, Oxford University; Associate, Leadership for Learning Network, Faculty of Education, Cambridge University.

My key previous posts were as Senior Policy Adviser for Research, General Teaching Council for England and before that as Principal Research Officer and Head of the School Improvement Research Centre, National Foundation for Educational Research.

I am a qualified teacher, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Honorary Fellow of the College of Teachers; also a published poet. I served as a user member of the Education sub-Panel for the Research Assessment Exercise 2008.

Outline: The broad theme I will probably address is the notion of ‘research impact’ in the context of future capacity-building, for example:

what kinds of attitudes and activities might help to increase the influence of research on decision-making.

Professor Peter Tymms, Director of CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring), Durham University

Biography: Professor Peter Tymms PhD is Director of CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) at Durham University which runs projects monitoring the progress and attitudes of a million pupils across the UK and beyond each year. His main research interests include monitoring, assessment, interventions and research methodology generally. Work in these and related areas have produced more than a hundred publications and reports. Peter Tymms is a member of the Advisory Board of the UKCeMGA  of the Office of national Statistics, and of German National Educational Panel Study and is on the Expert Board of the European Science Foundation.

Outline: Areas and issues

Professor Judy Sebba, Director of Research, School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex

Biography: Director of Research and Doctoral Studies and Professor of Education, responsible for providing research leadership. Undertaking research on children's rights, personalised learning, youth innovation and widening participation. Education RAE panel.

1997- 2003, Senior Adviser (Research), Standards and Effectiveness Unit, DfES. Previously researcher and lecturer at Universities of Cambridge and Manchester.

Outline: Much research that is intended to have an impact on policy stops short at communicating findings. Many funders require impact plans showing how impact will be maximised and the future REF is likely to give greater weight to impact. How do we measure this, how can user engagement in research processes increase impact and what is the role of 'knowledge brokers'? Drawing on ongoing research including that from the University of Toronto Research Supporting Practice in Education Team ( where I was recently a visiting professor, I will provide a few pointers to start off the discussion of these issues.

Richard Bartholomew, Chief Research Officer, Analysis and Research Division, Children and Families Directorate, Department for Children, Schools and Families

Biography: Chief Research Officer for the Department for Children, Schools and Families and responsible for research on children and families as well as representing its wider research interests.  Richard has led on providing and commissioning analysis and research for the Every Child Matters programme, ensuring a coherent approach to the collection, analysis and use of data and research evidence. This has included research and evaluation on early years, parenting, vulnerable children and children’s social care. He a member of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s  advisory committee on poverty and disadvantage and the governing board of the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. He has worked as a researcher for the former Manpower Services Commission, the Department of Employment and the Department for Education and Employment.

Outline: Richard Bartholomew will reflect on the impact of educational research on the policy process. What researchers can do to enhance their impact and the forms of evidence and types of presentations most likely to have an impact on policy thinking.  He will also discuss moves within government to build the use of evidence more effectively into the policy development process.

Saturday 4th September 09.00 – 10.00

Professor Anne Phoenix, Co-Director of the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education University of London

Title: Wellbeing in education? Intersections of gender and racialisation in everyday practices

Ann Phoenix is Co-Director of the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. Her research is mainly about social identities and the links between psychological experiences and social processes. She is currently conducting a programme of research on ‘Transforming experiences: Re-conceptualising identities and ‘non-normative’ childhoods’ as an ESRC Professorial Fellow. Her books include: Black, White or Mixed Race?  (1993/2002 with Barbara Tizard), Routledge; Young Masculinities (2002, with Stephen Frosh and Rob Pattman), Palgrave and Parenting and Ethnicity (2007 with Fatima Husain), JRF.

Over the last year, ‘wellbeing’ has become increasingly prominent in various policy and disciplinary agenda. The DCSF has set up a Centre on Childhood Wellbeing and the ESRC, together with a number of government departments is in the process of funding another research group in this area. It seems a fitting time, therefore, to take stock of what wellbeing is and its implications for education.

This presentation first critically engages with wellbeing as a concept. It then considers what a policy focus on wellbeing would mean for everyday practices of schooling. It draws on data from studies of masculinities, consumption and adults looking back on their childhoods to consider how the intersection of gender and racialisation differentiates experiences of education.

Conference organisers: In Conference Ltd. - Site by Source