SCOTENS Conference: 13-14 October, Dundalk, Ireland

I’ll be talking at the 2017 SCOTENS conference in Dundalk in a few weeks, on the conference theme of Educational innovation – the challenge of evidence-informed change.

SCOTENS – the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South – is a network of 37 college and university education departments, teaching councils, curriculum councils, trade unions and other organisations in Ireland established in 2003 and  administered by the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh. It’s a unique educational network of committed organisations across a contested border, in my experience, and I’ve really enjoyed attending their conference in previous years (the last time being in Limerick in 2015).

Here’s the conference theme description:

As teacher educators we are conscious of the contested discourse around evidence-informed change, whether in school classrooms or in terms of teacher education itself, and we feel that there is an important debate to be had around the role of evidence in driving innovation: what sort of evidence is needed? Who is producing it? Is it adequate? Are policy makers listening? What are the consequences of not listening?  Are there tensions around values and evidence, and if so, how do we reconcile them? How do we address the tendency to have ‘one size fits all’ innovation? How do we obtain the best balance among decision makers: policy makers, researchers, professional educators?


The 2017 Annual SCoTENS conference theme aims to encourage speakers, panel members and delegates to consider these kinds of questions in a way that prompts reflection, discussion and debate.

I’ll be talking about my recent study of historical cases of innovation in initial teacher education in England and the particular contribution of joint curriculum work with schools. And, arising out of this research, proposing a different meaning for ‘innovation’ to one focused on technical ‘efficiency’ and cost-cutting. I’m looking forward to it.