Grace's Centre for Innovation
Midlothian Council officially launched a new Centre of Research and Innovation in Learning today (Friday 22 June).
A partnership project with the University of Edinburgh and the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS), the centre is based at the council’s Fairfield House in Dalkeith.
Speaking at the launch event at the GTCS headquarters in Edinburgh, Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Jim Muirhead said: “Spearheaded by our innovative partnership working with the university, the centre will build on the pioneering work already underway in Midlothian.
“With our focus already on evidence-based best practice such as Professor John Hattie’s Visible Learning, we want to support, commission, harness and share research to improve the way students learn.
“This is a very exciting project that will impact on learning and attainment not just in Midlothian but certainly across Scotland, if not further afield.”
The Centre of Research and Innovation in Learning will:
- Promote practitioner enquiry as a consistent and deliberate practice. Practitioner enquiry is an area of professional learning that supports teachers to become more engaged with research to support their own learning and ultimately pupil experiences.
- Promote collaboration within and across schools.
- Promote the impact of collaborating on student learning and the use of Visible Learning coaches.
- Promote the use of research and evidence-based practice to support improvement.
- Support staff undertaking Masters-level research and learning.
- Commission research with partners that enhances the way students learn.
- Support external researchers undertaking work with permission in Midlothian.
- Support distribution and sharing of effective theory and practice about how students learn.
- Support publication of research within Midlothian.
- Ensure central records are kept of relevant research and papers for staff to access.
Professor Rowena Arshad, the head of Moray House School of Education and co-director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES) was one of the two keynote speakers at the launch.
Back row (left to right): Councillor Jim Muirhead, Midlothian Council's cabinet member for education and Ken Muir, Chief Executive of GTCS.
Front row (left to right): Dr Mary Smith, Midlothian Council's Director of Education, Communities and Economy, Professor Rowena Arshad, the Head of Moray House School of Education and Co-director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES), and Dr Grace Vickers, Midlothian's Head of Education.
Professor Arshad said: “Midlothian Council is to be highly commended for establishing this centre and for recognising the place of research in improving educational practice. The possibilities this hub provides is exciting. For example, it may help develop basic research on how pupils and teachers learn or aid in researching specific teaching strategies to develop language acquisition. Now teachers and pupils can be part of finding answers to questions they want to ask and solutions to problems they want to solve.”
Ken Muir, Chief Executive of GTCS, also spoke at the launch. He said: “Practitioner Enquiry is an area of professional learning that is embedded in the GTCS Professional Standards for teaching. It is recognised within Scottish education as a key way for teachers to engage with research in order to enhance their own practice and lead educational change.
“GTCS is pleased to support this innovative project that will see teachers in Midlothian and beyond offered increased support in this area. This will undoubtedly lead to enhanced learning and teaching, and ultimately improved outcomes for our children and young people.”
The new centre comes just weeks after Midlothian Council launched its first Centre of Excellence. Again working with the University of Edinburgh, the newly opened Newbattle High School will specialise in digital skills.
Note: Visible Learning means an enhanced role for teachers as they become evaluators of their own teaching. According to John Hattie Visible Learning and Teaching occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.