Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence

The Department for Education have produced a new report ‘ Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence’ The need for a report is partly due to cuts in funding for Universities’ support for disabled students. Now the education provider is expected to ensure that their provision is already inclusive. Funding will still be available for very severe impairment issues.

This might seem like a bad thing – more cuts – etc. However, the report makes it clear that they are embracing a very enlightened approach to disability. They include a section on the Social Model of Disability p.12 where they say:

“Increasing opportunities for disabled students requires us to consider the social model of disability. This emphasises that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference and looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for disabled people. When barriers are removed, disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives. HE providers could embrace and adopt this approach as it supports and guides the ways in which pedagogy; curricula and assessment are designed and delivered to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all. It embraces a view of the individual and individual difference as the source of diversity that can enrich the lives and learning of others. This calls for a shift in thinking and focus to one which not only advocates the social model of disability but also promotes French and Swain’s (2000) affirmation model which views disability as a normal part of diversity and views it as a matter of pride and not personal tragedy.”

To read the full report go to:

Could Obsession with Exams lead to long term failure?

We like this article in the Telegraph and agree that exams are often not the best way to find out what a learner knows, exams only test things that are easy to measure – so they miss out the more subtle skills and abilities that are so important in today’s job market – communication, creativity, team work, practical skills, etc. This is why we don’t use exams to measure achievement in Crossfields Institute qualifications.

The power of collective education to disrupt straightforward cultural transmission

Kevin Stannard writes for TES that collective education (school, university, non-formal group learning, etc) can be the most effective way in which to challenge and question cultural and societal norms. This is especially true of education that values critical thinking, active engagement, self-expression and exploration. When we develop qualifications at Crossfields Institute we seek to go beyond the purely functional purpose of acquiring knowledge, understanding and skills, and inspire learners who can individually and collectively take a creative, reflective approach to their life and work.

London inner-city school adopts inspired strategies

The London Nautical School rejects exam focused schooling and chooses some radical strategies to engage pupils. In English and Science pupils can chose what to study, and which teacher to work with, from a range of proposals put forward by the teachers. It is interesting to note that in a book by John Bazalgette ‘School Life and Work Life’ published in 1978! similar suggestions were being made. The school has also rejected ‘setting’ – where pupils of different perceived ability are taught separately. To find out more about this and the results they are getting see this article from Aljazeera news

Congratulations to Graduates of Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Childcare

Congratulations to graduates of the NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Childcare who will shortly be celebrating their graduation. Crossfields Institute has been proud to partner with NCFE CACHE to develop and quality assure this qualification, and wish to celebrate the hard work and achievement of the students and tutor team.

A Better School Inspection Regime?

Ofsted’s new Chief, Amanda Spielman, who used to be the head of Ofqual has just given her first interview. She talked about being aware of the huge pressure schools feel when Ofsted inspection time arrives. As a charity committed to holistic education, we would like Ofsted to improve in measuring how a school performs in all sorts of ways that are not just about the academic achievement – how is the school developing the social and emotional intelligence of the young person, how are they doing in building confidence and curiosity? Let’s watch this space…

Launch of Teaching Excellence Framework for Higher Education in England

2017 sees the launch of the Teaching Excellence Framework for Higher Education providers in England. Those who sign up by the end of this month will self-assess, and then be externally assessed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England in relation to teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes.

The Framework provides opportunities for students to play an active role in supporting excellent teaching and learning environments, but may well cause concerns for HE Institutions who know that they have little influence over future employment opportunities, which form a significant part of measuring their success.

There is considerable concern about the implementation of this amongst higher education providers, especially as those signing up will be given grades.