Engaging Opportunities: Connecting young people with contemporary research and researchers

Holliman, Richard; Davies, Gareth; Ford, Diane; Russell, Mark; Steed, Anthony; Brown, Helen; Pearson, Victoria; Collins, Trevor; Stutchbury, Kris; Squires, Andrew; Scanlon, Eileen; Whitelegg, Liz; Ansine, Janice; Braithwaite, N St.J; Swithenby, Stephen; Dommett, Ellie; Sumner, Janet; Lee, Clare; Kendall, Joe; Green, Penny; Sharp, Damien; Bullivant, Mike; Devine, Peter and Hawthorne, Val (2018). Engaging Opportunities: Connecting young people with contemporary research and researchers. The Open University and the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance, Milton Keynes.

URL: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/per


This is the final report for ‘Engaging Opportunities’, an RCUK-funded School-University Partnership between the Open University and the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance. Informed by action research, this four-year project was designed to create structured, strategic, sustainable and equitable mechanisms for effective school-university engagement with research. The report describes an evidence-based strategy designed to embed school-university engagement with research within the University’s strategic planning for research and the operational practices of researchers. Through the early stages of our partnership we noted a lack of suitable planning tools that work for researchers, teachers and students. We therefore introduced a flexible and adaptable framework of four types of activity—open lectures, open dialogues, open inquiry and open creativity—combined with an upstream approach to planning based on a set of six principles. A sub-set of these activities were evaluated through a combination of surveys, interviews and interventions. In conclusion, we argue that institutional and professional cultures can be resistant to the prospect of fully embedding school-university engagement with research in a structured, strategic and sustainable manner, and offer suggestions for how this context could and should be changed.

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