CER Recently Completed Projects
CER has completed many successful research, development and consultancy projects. Here is a selection:
Autism Spectrum Disorder – Empowering and Supporting Teachers (ASD-EAST)
Children and young people with autism share common education needs with all other children and are entitled to high quality education. However, they have specific, special needs resulting from the characteristic difficulties in autism regarding communication, social understanding, inflexibility and sensory processing. Teachers need a range of skills and strategies to meet the needs of these learners and providing effective education has been identified as challenging throughout Europe, and in Central & Eastern Europe and the Balkans in particular.
This 2-year project (September 2018-August 2020) focused on developing appropriate training to support specialist teachers to provide effective teaching, ensuring the inclusion in education of learners with autism in Croatia, the FYR of Macedonia and Poland. The project partnership combined academics, schools, SMEs and NGOs from Belgium, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia and Poland. The project’s principal investigator was Dr David Preece, supported by Dr Ivana Lessner Listiakova and Paul Bramble.
The ASD-EAST project was co-funded by the European Commission, Erasmus+ grant 2018-1-UK01-KA201-047872.
Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice Survey on Children with Disabilities in Bhutan
One of the challenges for Bhutan is to ensure that all children with special educational needs and disabilities receive appropriate education and social services. The Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice Survey on Children with Disabilities in Bhutan was commissioned by UNICEF (Bhutan) with the Ministry of Education of Bhutan to provide a data-set and accompanying commentary to stimulate discussion and act as a catalyst to further policy and practice developments for children with disabilities in Bhutan.
During the project, CER researchers generated data about knowledge, attitudes and practices among the Bhutanese population concerning children with disabilities in Bhutan, primarily from the perspectives of families.
The study provided UNICEF (Bhutan) and the Ministry of Education of Bhutan with trustworthy evidence regarding the extent, characteristics and provision for children with disabilities in Bhutan, together with a set of recommendations for future actions to inform the work of policymakers and children’s services workers in supporting children with disabilities. The Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Survey on Children with Disabilities in Bhutan project was funded by the UNICEF grant RFP/2015/003.
Digital Learning Across Boundaries
The Digital Learning Across Boundaries (DLAB) 1 project (2016-2019) addressed the need to align European educational practice with ways in which digital technology is changing how and what we learn, and how we apply this in education.
The purpose of the DLAB 1 project was to promote digital learning across the boundaries of physical spaces, across curriculum subjects and across languages and cultures, to facilitate collaborative learning across national boundaries.
Over three years we adopted three ‘learning across boundaries’ themes:
- Technology Outdoors: bridging formal and informal learning by extending learning beyond traditional classroom spaces and supporting learners with disadvantaged backgrounds by managing transitions positively through collaborative outdoor learning experiences.
- Stem to SteAm: adding the Arts to the integrated study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths creating inter-disciplinary challenge-based online learning resources.
- Technology Enabled CLIL: using curriculum contexts to teach language competencies and cultural sensitivity with aim of meeting the language needs of a diversity of learners, including learners for whom English is an additional language (EAL/EFL).
The DLAB1 project was co-funded by the European Commission Erasmus+ grant 2016-1-DK01-KA201-022332.
Cyberspace Generation (CYGEN)
The Cybersafe Generation (CyGen) project (2016-2019) was co-created to understand opportunities and challenges faced by children and young people when they go online.
CER was part of the project team comprising children and young people (aged 8-13), teachers, parents and academics in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark and Greece who worked in partnership to design and evaluate an evidence-based digital educational programme and resources to promote children’s and young people’s online citizenship and safety in their countries and beyond.
The European Commission co-funded the CyGen project with an Erasmus+ Key Action 2 strategic partnership grant 2016-1-UK01-KA203-024399.
The Below 10 project (2016-2019) was a partnership of nine organisations across six countries. The extended title for the project was ‘Learning by doing: Local communities work and learn together to prevent and reduce Early School Leaving and drop-out’.
The project’s partnership schools, NGOs and university research centres collaborated to address the challenge of early school leaving (ESL) across Europe through prevention, new pedagogical strategies, and strategic co-operation between schools and their local communities. Partners developed solutions and methods to help schools and informal education providers to work together, introduced highly motivating, inclusive teaching methods and developed plans to prevent and counteract early school leaving.
The European Commission co-funded the Below 10 project with the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 strategic partnership grant 2016-1-IT02-KA201-024125.
Leading Change Together: Managing Cultural Change Across the H.E. Workforce
The Leading Change Together project (2016-18), a Small Development Project funded by Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (now Advance HE), explored how university staff view and cope with change so as to develop an understanding of the role and dynamics of formal and informal leadership practices and strategies; and to make evidence-based recommendations grounded in real world challenges to support programmes and interventions suited to promote the career development of ‘leaders’ at all levels. The project collected evidence from a national survey (N=356), interviews (N=11) and focus groups (N=11 participants) with representatives of the HE workforce, hosted a LTHE Tweetchat on the theme of change and teaching (N=168) and participants’ artefacts in the form of drawings to elicit their experience of change.
The project critically explored the timely practice of change in higher education along three interrelated areas: change, leadership and working together. It concluded that change is pervasive across HE institutions and that effective change depends on leadership which is inclusive, democratic and ‘diffused’ across the institution which allows and enabled academics, professional services, and administration staff to work together.
The project partners included Prof Jackie Potter, Oxford Brooke University, Dr Hala Mansour, Faculty of Business and Law, and Nick Allen, Office of the Vice Chancellor, University of Northampton.
Living with Autism in Rural Coastal Areas of England (LARCAE)
Autism has been identified as causing significant stress to all family members. Research in the UK since the introduction of austerity measures has identified that vulnerable individuals – such as families living with autism – have faced increased difficulties, due to funding and benefit cuts. However, austerity has not impacted equally across the UK and coastal disadvantage is an emerging research area.
An initial literature review identified a paucity of research in particular regarding rural coastal communities and disability issues. LARCAE addressed this shortfall by using a qualitative methodology to explore whole families’ experiences of living with autism in a rural coastal area, the challenges experienced and barriers identified (if any) relating to autism, availability and access of formal and informal support, and the perceived impact (if any) of living with autism in a period of austerity. This 2-year project (April 2018-March 2020) focused on two rural, coastal areas of England: West Norfolk and Cornwall. The project’s principal investigator was Dr David Preece and Dr Ivana Lessner Listiakova was co-researcher. The project was funded by British Academy/Leverhulme grant SRG\170268.
ESIPP: Equity and Social Inclusion Through Positive Parenting
The presence of autism has been identified as a cause of greater family and parental stress than any other disability. The condition can challenge traditional parenting styles and cause parents to feel deskilled and disempowered. The presence of autism within the family can negatively affect the educational achievement, employment opportunities and social inclusion of mothers, fathers, siblings and the individuals with autism themselves.
UON was lead partner in the European project Equity and Social Inclusion through Positive Parenting (ESIPP) (2015-2018). The work was led by Dr David Preece in the Centre for Education and Research and included nine European partners. By developing an evidence-based parent education programme and training materials to help parents to understand their children with autism and manage their behaviour effectively, ESIPP offered significant benefits regarding social inclusion, quality of life, educational achievement, employment and equality of opportunity across Europe.
The European Commission co-funded the ESIPP project with the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 strategic partnership grant 2015-1-UK01-KA204-013397.
DfE Expert Advisors
Two CER members have recently been seconded as consultants to the UK Department for Education (DfE) to advise on different aspects of the content of the national technical education qualification (T Level) for Childcare and Education.
Voice of the Child
CER members worked in an advisory capacity as consultants for the ‘Voice of the Child’ project (2018-2020). For the project, a consortium of eight Northamptonshire maintained nursery schools investigated if – and how – eliciting the ‘Voice of the Child’ impacts on the wellbeing, development and learning of young children with SEND.
Following the research, the nursery schools reported that eliciting the ‘voice of the child’ supports children to feel valued and part of their community. They found that the project enabled parents and practitioners to work together in a two-way process to understand and listen to each child. Practitioners and parents said they learned from each other how to give each child a strong voice, a sense of identity and self efficacy.
The ‘Voice of the Child’ project was funded by the Laurel Trust.