A White House Invitation

Last week (w/c 18th April 2016), Mike Coldwell and Bronwen Maxwell of the Sheffield Institute of Education were invited as part of a very small delegation of international expert researchers to speak to educational policymakers at the White House in Washington. Organised by the William T Grant Foundation, the meeting focussed on looking at how research can be used to inform policy and practice in education.

White House officials from the Vice President's office and US Department of Education shared their approaches, and heard insights form Bronwen and Mike on two studies, one looking at moving to an Evidence-Based Teaching system in England (funded for the English Department for Education) and one looking at scaling up use of best evidence on deployment of Teaching Assistants in English primary schools (funded by the Education Endowment Foundation). The Scale up Campaign for deployment of Teaching Assistants looks at how schools are implementing the best evidence on using Teaching Assistants to support the learning of children in all schools, and is focussed on schools in West and South Yorkshire. Bronwen Maxwell leads the study with colleagues in the SIOE, working with colleagues form the Institute of Fiscal Studies. The Evidence-based Teaching Project is a DfE-funded study looking at how schools are making use of research in their teaching. Mike Coldwell leads this study with a team from the SIOE along with colleagues at UCL Institute of Education and Durham University.

Mike said, "we were very fortunate to be asked, along with colleagues at the universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Kingston and UCL, to share what we are doing in the UK, and learn about the key policy issues faced by the US about this crucial issue. After all, for a researcher what can be more important than making sure our work has real impact on education policy and teaching? We have built lots of new relationships across the Atlantic, with policymakers and researchers brought together by the William T Grant Foundation in the US and we are delighted to be at the forefront of this international effort to make sure what we do as educational researchers makes a real difference. It was a fantastic experience to be in the White House, in the Vice President's office. It was just a shame that we couldn't