Trusting to dare and to do: How is the Welsh context challenging the ‘rules’ and how can a university contribute?

Susan Haywood, Susan Roberts, Matthew Hutt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Recent reports into curriculum reform, the future of initial teacher education and the national ‘mission’ to improve education in Wales, emphasise the need for collaboration and mutual trust between professionals. Nevertheless, inter-relational trust within schools is in danger of becoming a scarce commodity. Pressures from a broad range of accountability processes, combined with tensions around the nature of professional autonomy, have undercut the foundations of mutual trust for many teachers. Increasingly, however, they are also being asked to develop collaborative working practices which imply high levels of trust.
As a result, teachers are generating new narratives of professionalism, attempting to accommodate these tensions which are also apparent at a local authority (LA) level. LA officers are required to hold school leaders to account whilst also supporting them through a period of intense change. One Welsh LA is responding by promoting cultural shift through a ‘Festival of Learning’, exploring pedagogical change against a backdrop of financial pressures and this session will explore the contribution of university tutors in this process.
In this landscape of competing pressures university tutors have worked with teachers undertaking their own Action Research. Mostly, after an initial university-based introduction, the teaching and tutorial support is conducted in colleagues’ own settings with teachers researching their own identified priority, often within a school-determined theme.
As well as changes to policy and practice these multi-level initiatives have resulted in renewed professional empowerment for practitioners and their organisations. This session will argue that the approaches explored can facilitate changes to practice but may be constrained by lack of trust and other systemic factors thus limiting their potential benefit. Conversely, it will explore how HEIs working with teachers in the field of ‘Professional Learning’, can overcome this challenge and contribute to the establishment of a high-trust culture.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventCARN conference 2018 - Friends' Meeting House - Edgehill University, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Oct 201827 Oct 2018


ConferenceCARN conference 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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