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Cass School of Education and Communities launches first research festival

Woman teaching child

Cass School of Education and Communities invites over 400 partner schools to research festival

The Cass School of Education and Communities at the University of East London (UEL) hosted its first Research Festival, on 20 March, drawing education associates from around London and beyond to showcase the exciting work being done at the School.

Representatives from 400 primary and secondary schools which the Cass School works in partnership with were invited to an evening of networking and talks centred around key topics in research.  Many schools are generating their own research initiatives and the festival sought to illustrate how UEL is in a prime position to help them with these projects.

Gerry Czerniawski, research degrees leader, said, “The Research Festival has been a fantastic way to bring headteachers, teachers and academics who are active in research together to build on our relationships.  This event has helped to demonstrate the impact that active engagement in research can have on school cultures and the professional development of teaching.”

Guests had the opportunity to talk to UEL staff representing a variety of research themes including special education needs, mentoring, curriculum research, initial teacher education, early years education and teacher professional development. There was also a display of 45 books on education written by Cass School members of staff, with the authors in attendance to discuss their work with guests.

The feedback from guests was overwhelmingly positive.

Bushra Mahjabien Iqbal, deputy director of higher education and access, Newham College of Further Education, said, “I left the event with an excellent list of contacts, having arranged CPD (continued professional development) and good practice sessions as well as being enthused to increase educational research at Newham.

“The dedication that UEL has to educational research is admirable and spirited. Other London universities could really benefit from the same ethos.”

Maureen Okoye OBE, chief executive of the Arbor Academy Trust, said, “It was really good to hear accomplished researchers talk about their research journey.”

Kate Fallan, director of Teaching School, East London Early Years and Schools Partnership, which is based at Kaizen Primary School, said, “It was really interesting to meet people and it broadened my knowledge of how UEL engages in research.”

Kate Hufton, associate principal for Educator Development at the Hornbeam Academy Trust, also voiced her appreciation. She said, “I left feeling confident I could signpost staff within the Trust who are considering a research project to a named person at UEL who could assist, direct and support them with their specific area of interest. Overall, it was a very worthwhile event to have attended.”

A number of research initiatives were discussed which will be followed up by Cass School staff who plan to make this research festival an annual event.