19th March 2019

An academic research team from Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) have been working with colleagues and students from the University of Eastern Finland to collect data for a pilot study on inclusive practice.

Emma Clarke, Senior Lecturer in Primary, Shaun Thompson, ITT Regional Partnership Leader, and Aimee Quickfall, Head of Programmes for Primary & Early Years, are investigating inclusive practice in UK and Finnish primary schools and the well-being of teacher trainees.

Their pilot study has involved holding focus groups and interviews with teacher trainees and lecturers, finding out what their perceptions of inclusion are, and asking them to explore their well-being challenges and resources using a timeline drawing method.

As part of the trip Emma, Shaun and Aimee also presented their wider research interests to Finnish colleagues and visited three schools to meet with teachers and experience the best of Finnish education.

Aimee explained why Finland provided the perfect place for the pilot study and what the team hoped the study’s impact would be:

“We have been interested in Finland because it has a high-performing education system, where teacher training takes five years, includes a Masters qualification and only 10% of applicants are accepted on the programmes. We are looking at how Finland differs from the UK in terms of inclusive practice and well-being of teachers and trainees, with an aim to bring back ideas to share with our team to help improve our provision for initial teacher training.

What we have experienced at the University of Eastern Finland and in schools in Joensuu is a real focus on the needs of children and adults in the school environment. Our initial pilot data are highlighting lots of differences in our systems, but also many similarities and shared concerns and joys. We are looking forward to working with the university on more projects and to sharing our findings with colleagues at BGU through the Learning and Teaching Conference.”

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