Former Education Secretary calls for universities and schools work together to boost teaching standards

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SCHOOLS and universities working together is the key to driving up standards, says an education expert.

Former Education Secretary Baroness Estelle Morris has called for universities and schools to work together on classroom techniques to raise the standard of teaching.

Speaking at a University of Sunderland public lecture, Baroness Morris said they do not communicate effectively enough at the present time.

The Labour peer proposes that politicians, schools and universities need to work together to collate and address the masses of research that currently goes on.

However, she emphasised the need for teachers to be given the space and time to access and learn otherwise the system would not work effectively.

She said: “What we’re missing from the education service is evidence based research of what works in the classroom.

“This would help teachers become true professionals and exercise their professional judgement as they should do. Universities can be the link that hasn’t yet been made.

“The knowledge about teaching and learning rests in universities, but it is held there and not released.

“Schools and universities should work together alongside politicians to bank information and research to discuss what works in teaching and learning.

“We need to ensure that teachers can have time and space to access it, to discuss and reflect on it.

“If we do that, we will build a body of knowledge that underpins pedagogy in our schools.”

Baroness Morris, who was a PE and humanities teacher before entering politics, said her biggest fear for the future is that private sector companies will begin to make profit at the expense of education services and that schools will be left alone and no longer share good practice among each other.

She explained: “My biggest criticism of this current government’s policies is that they put independence ahead of interdependence by making every school separate from their wider community in every sense.

“It has broken the glue that holds the system together.

“We know schools learn from each other and other good practitioners.

“Teachers are no different to anyone else, they learn from watching, sharing and observing.

“Working with other teachers and different schools is absolutely vital.

“I’m convinced that the best education we have in this country is as a result of partnerships and interdependency.

“Schools cannot exist alone and I think where we currently are is dangerous.

“We’re in a collapsing stage as schools go to academy status.

“The private sector has and can continue to make a valuable contribution to education.

“My biggest fear would be if they were allowed to run schools for profit.”

Twitter: @SunEchoSchools