researchED 2014 is GO: Better, faster, stronger

18th April 2014 at 17:44


Sequels often disappoint: Superman IV, Jaws 3D, Godfather III. Sometimes they escape the gravity of their inception and evolve into something as good or better: Superman II, Godfather II. With a little luck, it looks like researchED 2014 could be the in the latter group.


researchED is a conference based project, aiming at bringing the best, most useful research into classrooms,  bringing together teaching and research communities for the mutual advantage of both, and raising the quality of research understanding in UK schools and beyond. 'Working out what works' was the catchphrase on the back of the napkin, and it stuck.


I'm enormously proud to finally announce the first line up for 2014's national researchED conference on Saturday 6 September, at Raine's Foundation School in East London. Last year was a goddamn miracle, appearing out of nowhere, built from optimism and high hopes. Astonishingly, this candle refused to gutter, and despite my best, laziest efforts, it roars on. We've already had researchED Birmingham (I think: locals disputed the geography) and 3 May sees a joint conference with the National Teacher Enquiry Network (NTEN), researchED York (click here for details)


And so, inevitably, the national conference slouches back to London, to be reborn. Confirmed contributors so far are ......


  • Ben Goldacre, best-selling author, broadcaster, campaigner, medical doctor and academic @bengoldacre
  • Michael Gove, secretary of state for education. Rarely speaks his mind.
  • Tristram Hunt, shadow secretary of state for education, historian, teacher 
  • John David Blake, historian, Labour teacher and flame-haired enfant terrible. @johndavidblake
  • Daisy Christodoulou, director of research, ARK academies, author of The Seven Myths of Education. @daisychristo
  • Robert Peal, Civitas, @goodbyemrhunter
  • Dr Katherine Burn, University of Oxford, @KatherineBurn
  • Dr Carol Davenport, National Science Learning Centre @DrDav
  • David Weston, director of the Teacher Development Trust, and general good egg @informed_edu
  • Laura McInerney, Fulbright Scholar from the University of Missouri, and lover of FOI. @Miss_McInerney
  • Jonathan Simons, Policy Exchange @PXeducation
  • Mary Whitehouse, University of York @MaryUYSEG
  • Sam Freedman, director of research, Teach First @samfr
  • Andrew Smith, the blogger formerly known as Old Andrew  @oldandrewuk
  • John Walker, Sounds-Write 
  • Dr Marlynne Grant, Reading Reform Foundation 
  • Sarah Kitchen, NatCen @sarahkitchen2 
  • Amanda Spielman, education adviser, ARK schools and chair of Ofqual @amanda_spielman
  • Michael Shaw, journalist, wit and TES Brainiac @Mrmichaelshaw
  • Joe Kirby, Teach First @joe_kirby
  • John Tomsett, Headteacher @johntomsett,
  • Alex Quigley, writer and assistant head @huntingenglish
  • Professor Rob Coe, Durham University @Profcoe
  • Tomás Ó Ruairc, director of the Teaching Council, Ireland
  • Professor Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford, @deevybee
  • Dr Hilary Leevers, head of education, the Wellcome Trust @wellcometrust
  • Professor Paul Black, grand Duke of AFL and co-author of Inside the Black Box, Kings College London
  • Russ Mayne, University of Leicester @ebefl
  • Alom Shaha, author of the Young Atheist's Handbook @alomshaha
  • Dr Matt O'Leary, University of Wolverhampton @drmattoleary
  • Dr Becky Allen, Institute of Education @drbeckyallen
  • Tom Sherrington, headteacher @headguruteacher
  • Katie Ashford, Teach First @katiesarahlou
  • Oliver Quinlan, Nesta @oliverquinlam
  • Mike Cladingbowl, director of schools, Ofsted, @mcladingbowl
  • Prateek Buch, Sense About Science, @prateekbuch
  • Donald Clark, online learning guru, @donaldclark
  • Andrew Sabisky, graduate student, Institute of Education, @andrewsabisky
  • Representation from the EEF, CfBT, NFER, BERA, RSA


Plus some other belters we're just confirming...


What will happen?


Some of them will present papers, some will lecture, some will host workshops, some will debate. It'll run in the now-fashionable festival style, where several sessions will run simultaneously and attendees can decide for themselves what kind of day to have. It also means that everyone is guaranteed to leave at the end wondering if they could have chosen more wisely, and maybe they wishing they could have been in two places at once. For these people, like last year we'll be filming as many sessions as possible and putting them online afterwards, with the speaker's consent. We might even manage a livestream this time, although I apparently act as some kind of organic wi-fi signal dampener. Lunch will be available to buy on the day from the authentic school canteen, and boutique caffeine delivery systems will be on red alert. There'll be time to eat, to chat, to network, to process, to tweet, blog and Instagram the whole damn thing. 


As ever, Helene O'Shea is my co-pilot (God was unavailable), and a volunteer army of lovers will be assisting because goodness. If you want to get involved and help out in any way, please drop Helene or I an email and indicate what you might be up for, and we'll do our best to marry desire with reality. We're also happy to talk to potential sponsors and exhibitors, as long as they cohere with the spirit of the event. In other words, you can take your Brain Gym and peddle it elsewhere 


One thing that sets this part from other educational movements is just how grassroots this has been — I already knew how altruistic and supportive the teaching and research communities could be, but if I needed a demonstration of this axiom, researchED would be the word made flesh. We're not-for-profit and in-it-for-the-common-weal. And that's why it works (I worked that out already). 


There will be several strands of thought running through the day, and I've deliberately tried to include people with hands dirty from research and academia, teachers who have experienced or implemented research, organisations that attempt to broker good research, organisations that act as intermediaries between schools and academia, media outlets responsible for reporting education, teacher trainers and as many parties as possible.


There's a deliberate emphasis on utility, because teachers have struggled too long with a top-down model of research, where it is dropped on them from high at the start of their careers, and only sporadically encountered thereafter, and then usually because someone three chairs above their paystation got wood for something fashionable they read on an Inset. Well, no more. Let teacher speak unto teacher. Let researcher speak unto teacher. In fact, let's just all speak to each other for a change. Only good can come of it.


Hope to see you there.


Get your ticket for researchED2014