A pioneering new research centre will be launched at Edge Hill University to help bridge the gap between academics and schools.

There is an age-old argument between academic research and schools: researchers complain that schools are more interested in ‘quick fix’ solutions which might be lacking in validity, than in serious research; whilst teachers complain that academic research is overly theoretical, with abstruse language and out of touch with classroom realities.

To address these issues the University will open its own Research Centre for Schools, Colleges and Teacher Education (SCaTE) in January 2013.

The idea behind the initiative is to change attitudes in the way that education research is viewed and to work with teachers to develop their own practices to raise the educational quality in schools and colleges.

Tim Cain, Professor of Education, has a particular interest in practitioner research and one of his ambitions when he joined Edge Hill University earlier this year was to develop the new research centre. He said: “My goal is to build on the existing expertise in the Faculty of Education and further develop Edge Hill’s growing reputation for education research.

“Having been both a teacher, a trainer of teachers and now in academia, I have a deep understanding and passion for teaching and learning, which is why I wanted to develop this professional practice research centre. It is a place where we can collaborate and help teachers understand what is expected of them and give a bespoke response to the challenges they face. Ultimately, we can help them make improvements that will benefit their school or college and make educational research more meaningful to them.”

As part of the launch there will be a free half-day conference on 14th January to address the question, ‘How can universities work together with schools and colleges to generate educational research that benefits teachers and students’?

Keynote speakers will include Professor Mary James, University of Cambridge and President of the British Educational Research Association. Throughout her career, she has been interested in finding out what teachers might do to improve learning by investigating what happens in their interactions with students, the curriculum and school structures. Acknowledged expert in the field of educational and teacher effectiveness, Daniel Muijs, Professor of Education at the University of Southampton, will also be presenting at the conference.

Symposium speakers include Dave Terry, Principal of the Sutton Academy; Carole Arnold, Headteacher of Evelyn C.P. School and; Lesley Gwinnett, Headteacher of Tarleton Primary.

The conference is from 12noon to 5pm and is free to attend but booking is essential online at www.surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/scatelaunch.