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Critical Education Policy and Leadership Studies RIG Meeting


Date: Thursday 30th November 2017
Venue: London
Time: 12:00pm -  5:30pm

Please join us for a half-day forum on the theme of Practice and Professionalism organised by the BELMAS Critical Education Policy and Leadership Studies Research Interest Group (RIG).

Organising Professions  

Transformations to the organisational context of professional work have challenged the legitimacy and status of professions. In education, notably, policy reforms of decentralisation, deregulation and privatisation have led to an increasingly fragmented school market of public and private providers, in which teachers and head teachers are now subject to more corporate and ‘own brand’ forms of professionalism. Yet, whilst there is a significant body of empirical and theoretical research which examines the changing nature of professional work in organisations, little is known of how professions as organisations, both formally and informally, have responded to these challenges within and beyond the workplace. In a recent report for Education International, the international trade union organisation, Bascia and Stevenson (2017) underlined the importance of organisation or professionalisation ‘from within’. Although based on seven country-specific case studies of trade unions, these authors offer recommendations which might be of relevance to educators more widely such as: reframing the narrative of education as a public good; making connections within and across professions; and building the collective base through the repositioning of a collective professional identity for ‘being for something is what is required if momentary interest is to develop into long-term engagement and commitment’ (p.56).

Taking these recommendations as a point of departure, this forum brings together a diverse group of academics and professional groups to debate current theories of professionalism in education, share approaches to the promotion of professional community, and discuss areas of common ground and potential collaborative action. It will attempt to address the following key questions:

  1. What do we as members, representatives and researchers of education professions stand for individually and collectively?
  2. Where can connections be made within and across the education professions?
  3. What strategies can we use to communicate our shared messages and advocate for educational change?

Presenters include Professor Howard Stevenson (University of Nottingham), Professor Viv Ellis (King’s College, London), Dr Steve Courtney (University of Manchester) and James Noble-Rogers (UCET). Additionally, there will be contributions from Rob Copeland (UCU), Nansi Ellis (NUT/ATL) and Darren Northcott (NASUWT). The discussant for this forum is Professor Helen Gunter (University of Manchester). Other presenters will be announced in due course.

Delegates are invited to a buffet lunch at 12:00. The formal programme will start at 12:45 and end at 17:30.

Registration for this event is free and full venue details will be provided to registered delegates in the form of joining instructions. Please note that there are limited places available for this forum therefore early registration is advised. The deadline for registration is 21st November 2017. 


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