Knowledge Exchange Projects
Transforming Lives is an initiative sponsored by the Jerusalem Trust (one of the Sainsbury's Family Charitable Trusts) and managed by the Stapleford Centre in Nottingham. Its purpose is to develop a rationale for the role of teachers who come into the teaching profession as an expression of their personal Christian faith and who see teaching as an expression of a Christian vocation.
Professor Trevor Cooling is contracted for two days per week until the end of December 2011 to give intellectual leadership to various projects being developed as part of the project. For example he has recently published a report for Theos, a Westminster-based think tank, entitled Doing God in Education, which examines the controversial debates surrounding the place of faith in public education. Another project entails the development of a website offering teachers working in church schools a pedagogical tool for expressing the ethos of the school in planning their teaching and learning.
Introducing Trainee Teachers to Issues of Faith and Education
Handling controversial issues relating to faith and education is an increasing aspect of teachers' work. This is not restricted to those teaching Religious Education, but in a religiously diverse world will impinge on all teachers.
In conjunction with the faculties of education at Canterbury Christ Church University and Liverpool Hope University and with sponsorship from the Jerusalem Trust, NICER is developing materials for use in the professional studies programme of trainee teachers to support them in thinking about issues of faith and education. This has included the production of video clips to act as discussion stimulus material alongside lectures and seminar notes. The materials are being trialled and evaluated in the 2010-2011 academic year and will be made available to other universities in 2011-2012.
Anglican Education Commission, Diocese of Sydney
Professor Trevor Cooling is acting as a consultant to the Anglican Education Commission in Sydney on the development of the Anglican ethos of its schools. This has included leading seminars and workshops for teachers and school council members and working in individual schools with curriculum managers. In addition he is working with diocesan staff in the development, communication and implementation of a theology of education, including the development of an academic text. This project entailed four weeks work in Sydney in August/September 2010 and will probably involve another two weeks in July 2011.
Leadership in Christian Schools
A key issue facing many Christian schools and academies is leadership succession. Increasingly they are finding it hard to recruit candidates who have experience in developing the distinctive ethos they wish to nurture.
Funded by a charitable trust, NICER is working with Oasis Academies, the Anglican Diocese of Coventry and the National Society (Church of England) in developing and delivering programmes for middle managers that enable them to think through the issues surrounding school ethos in their schools. The aim is to generate a pool of aspirational teachers who have thought carefully about issues of leadership in faith schools.