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SLN RESEARCH SHARING DAY 23 RD AUGUST 2011. AIM OF THE DAY To share understanding of theoretical base for our work To learn from research into similar.

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Presentation on theme: "SLN RESEARCH SHARING DAY 23 RD AUGUST 2011. AIM OF THE DAY To share understanding of theoretical base for our work To learn from research into similar."— Presentation transcript:


2 AIM OF THE DAY To share understanding of theoretical base for our work To learn from research into similar work To shape our thinking for the future

3 SLN – THE JOURNEY SO FAR 10 Years Bradford Tower Hamlets National – 40 local projects and some national (i.e. Cross country)

4 CONTACT THEORY Allport’s conditions for intergroup contact theory: Equal status between groups Participants sharing common goals Co-operation not competition between groups Institutional support and sanction SLN’s model was initially based on this BUT always with an educational focus. Cross discipline focus – very little research into learning and pedagogy. Ref: EPPI Report 2007

5 OTHERS LATER ADDED Serial contacts Opportunities for individual relationships to develop (Learning objectives) to encourage behaviour that disconfirms stereotypes

6 Looked at whether SLP could: Achieve increased understanding and trust between children separated by cultural or community differences, and Improve the potential for longstanding relationships between groups who do not normally meet. The programme seeks to achieve this by using creative learning tools and techniques which encourage cognitive dissonance on a safe environment 1 st EVALUATION: BRADFORD ANNI RAW 2005 - 2006

7 What factors can contribute to positive change and what factors can inhibit positive change Is there an age at which attitudes become more fixed; how readily can they be changed or developed? How robust, widespread and transferrable is any change achieved? FURTHER QUESTIONS

8 MANY VARIABLES Socio- economic status Geographic distance Age and year groups Faith / secular school Degree of diversity within a school Cultural / faith identity of staff Length of time linking ( 1 st / 2 nd year)

9 REPORTING IMPACTS 1. Observing improved relationships and increased openness to mixing. 1.1 Readiness to broaden contacts beyond their own cultural community. 1.2 Increased reciprocity. 1.3 Increased confidence and trust. 1.4 Enthusiasm to maintain links beyond the programme. 2. Observing increased teamwork and mixed team / mixed community awareness, leading to a broader community identity. 2.1 Greater cross-cultural co-operation and teamwork. 2.2 A greater sense and ownership of a mixed Bradford community identity.

10 REPORTING IMPACTS CONTINUED 3. Observing increased awareness of/embracing of differences and diversity. 3.1 Increasing curiosity/ confidence to discuss differences. 3.2 Increasing awareness of/ respect for differences. 3.3 Recognising learning opportunities presented by meeting people from a different background. 3.4 Increased confidence/assertive with peers, to challenge prejudice.


12 NECESSARY CONDITIONS FOR POSITIVE CHANGE Teacher conviction Strong support from the SLP team Allport’s conditions in place Reflection between meetings Length of involvement Absence of these factors inhibits positive change

13 ADAPTATIONS TO OUR WORK Convincing schools work needs embedding School commitment and preparation: staff and children Methodology to allow curiosity to be expressed and explored Open debate and dialogue Awareness and articulation of identity Catalytic activities Ongoing reflection/evaluation

14 VARIABLES Boys: focus on co-operative activities Internal linking needed in many schools first Optimum age – Year 5 ( and same age) Advocacy/mentoring / ongoing learning opportunities

15 PAUSE This is the most in-depth survey of school-based linking/contact work and needs revisiting in light of current political/educational context.

16 Raw 2009 – First cohort NFER 2011 – Fourth cohort Raw – replicated findings from Bradford study - Not as in-depth (10 Local Authorities and some gateway Schools) - Very clear that LA support is valued and needed NATIONAL REPORTS

17 Enthusiasm and commitment – spreading throughout the school community Children very keen to meet on each link day Children able to create direct and personal bonds at their own level Open attitudes amongst children and staff, open discussion, a growing curiosity to explore deeper Children wondering about themselves, their classmates, their belonging and identities as a result of ‘safe’ discussions QUALITIES OF EXCELLENCE IN STRONG LINKS

18 Children growing more confident to ask questions Children placing what they’re learning through linking in the broader context of other experiences in their own lives Children asking philosophical questions, and wondering about big issues and different beliefs Children compelled to challenge disrespectful attitudes – amongst peers, at home or elsewhere – by asking for reasons and engaging in discussion. QUALITIES OF EXCELLENCE IN STRONG LINKS

19 COMMON CRITERIA FOR HIGH PERFORMING LINKS Thoughtful teachers, committed to taking children to a deeper level of exploration, using the project as an opportunity and framework, and regularly reflecting on difficult issues A positive, open, questioning and healthy partnership between linked teachers, including co-reflection after linking days Well co-planned, well organised, equal and reciprocal linking experiences

20 Face-to-face contacts for children, balanced and complemented by in depth classroom based support work Staff / school with previous experience of linking, confidence in delivery and discussion Whole school commitment and focus (passion at leadership level) The school ethos places diversity, openness, curiosity and non- judgemental attitudes amongst its highest priorities Working with the most productive age-group for this work (Key Stage 2 children benefited most). COMMON CRITERIA FOR HIGH PERFORMING LINKS

21 CHALLENGING ISSUES Children’s expectations of their link group are unrealistic, lead to disappointment Children remain mutually suspicious, find it hard to trust their link group Children competitive, keen to assert their own group identity within the link Children expressing feeling threatened or unsafe when in their link school Children feeling their concerns aren’t or wouldn’t be heard, believed, understood by teachers – and therefore not raising them Children afraid to disappoint an enthusiastic teacher, and therefore unable to raise concerns

22 Teachers given or finding no time to facilitate dedicated reflection time or related exploration between linking days Teachers given or finding insufficient time to co-plan and discuss linking work with their peer link teacher Teacher not trusting peer link teacher’s commitment to the work. CHALLENGING ISSUES

23 Poorly performing links were in settings which bore some or all of the following hallmarks: – Confused, unsupported, overburdened or uninspired link teachers – Links with insufficient contact – whether face-to-face or virtual – between children (common amongst the Gateway links) – Links with insufficient contact between teachers – Links in which differences between children, as well as children’s expectations and assumptions, are not explored, and in which children’s anxieties are not adequately addressed – Links between groups in which children have different expectations of behaviour, respect and ordinary interactions between people COMMON CRITERIA

24 – Settings in which competitive behaviours are common amongst children – especially amongst boys – Links in which children can’t get on, or are insufficiently supported to find common ground – Tensions, fights, children showing off through aggressive interactions (sometimes quite subtle) - tensions and negative impressions which remain unresolved, or are not addressed at all – Secondary (KS3) settings – in which children are often acutely self-focussed and self- conscious, and can find this work too challenging.

25 Improve work on identity Secondary schools model need more thought Girls/boys Local support Tighter linking activities Teacher CPD and connecting to curriculum Whole school support RECOMMENDATIONS

26 Data on types of activity Impact and outcomes on pupil/staff communities Sustainability and cost effectiveness NFER

27 Local authorities (LAs) played a critical role in supporting the SLN programme schools. This included auditing local needs and cohesion issues and agreeing on priorities, then linking schools and providing three days training and support. Programme successfully implemented across most schools. Some issues around matching link partners (with some schools not being able to link with the type of school they originally envisaged). Most LAs and schools were planning to continue linking activities into the future. School linking can have a positive impact on many aspects of pupils’ skills, attitudes, perceptions and behaviours, particularly their respect for others, their self-confidence and their self-efficacy, as well as broadening the social groups with whom pupils interact. KEY FINDINGS

28 Mixed evidence for the programme’s impact on pupils’ knowledge and understanding, their willingness to express their opinions, and perceptions of school and wider community climate (e.g. perceptions of the incidence of bullying). Programme more likely to have an impact if there is sustained involvement (two or more link visits) of pupils in the programme, and impact beyond those pupils directly involved in linking activities is likely to necessitate a deliberate and sustained dissemination effort within the school. Evidence that school and local authority staff also benefit from involvement in the intervention. KEY FINDINGS

29 Positive impact on skills, attitudes, perceptions and behaviours particularly respect, confidence, self advocacy. Mixed evidence re: learning as defined by knowledge and understanding Strong evidence of benefits to adults (Teachers and LA Staff) Single most influential factor was frequency of contact, but school practice not sufficiency investigated or matched to high or low performancein this study. KEY FINDINGS

30 SO WHERE ARE WE NOW? Questions and discussion Over half of the LA’s are continuing Continue to improve quality of support through CPD and resources to enable schools to: Prepare well both in class and for meetings Develop methodology of reflective practice Seek more ways to disseminate and deepen learning (connect to curriculum and ways of working with parents etc)

31 AND... Work with some individual schools in range of settings to establish optimum conditions for positive outcomes, i.e. Linking just one thread of whole school ethos which focuses on respect/empathy/critical thinking/emotional literacy What are these conditions? Methodology to develop? Big part of this has to do with language

32 How have changes in government policy and social landscape affected ways of working over the past 10 years? How/what do we need to change again now? QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION

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