The School of ECYS works with many partners at a local, national, and international level.
From 2013-2015 representatives from the School of ECYS worked as part the Open University partnership with the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance in Milton Keynes through the RCUK-funded Engaging Opportunities Project. Through this work an effective partnership developed creating structured, strategic, sustainable and equitable mechanisms for effective school-university engagement. The project worked with 11 schools, engaging more than 6,500 people within Milton Keynes with authentic practices of contemporary and inspiring research in a range of academic disciplines, offering opportunities to participate in mutual learning and develop relevant and useful skills and competencies in how to access, assess, analyse and respond to contemporary research.
We have national networks and links with a wide variety of organisations. For example, our Primary Advisory Group is comprised of partners from across education such as the Eden Project, National Literacy Trust and the Natural History Museum. These strong links embed practice in our curriculum and ensure mutual collaboration on a wide variety of educational priorities. We have developed a wide range of Open Educational Resources (OERs) for Education. These 15 short Open University courses are aimed at supporting initial teacher education, teacher professional development and classroom practice.
We are an active member of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (www.ucet.ac.uk) which is an independent membership body for universities and others delivering HE level teacher education and engaging in education research.
We work on a wide range of international teacher education and development (ITED) projects, in close partnership with the International Development Office at the OU. We are currently working on projects in India (TESS India), Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA), Bangladesh (English in Action), Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Peru. We have extensive experience in these countries and others. Further details are available from the IDO website.
ECYS has been involved in this international project in Bangladesh for many years. English in Action (EIA) has developed a large number of interactive materials for both the primary and the secondary schools of Bangladesh. These materials were designed based on the principles of communicative language learning with a strong emphasis on digital contents delivered through ICT platforms. According to their function, they can be categorised in three groups:
- Classroom based materials focused on developing the English language skills of the students
- Training materials for the professional development of the teachers
- Self-learning materials for the English language development of the teachers
The Girls’ Access to Education programme seeks to support marginalised girls and children with disabilities to reach their learning potential and transition from primary to secondary education and beyond. As part of this project, an innovative pathway to the teaching profession for young women in rural areas has also been designed.
Improving Gender Attitudes, Transition and Education Outcomes seeks to improve the life chances of over 70,000 marginalised girls in Zimbabwe, by supporting their learning and helping them to transition from primary education to post-primary options such as secondary school or community-based learning.
A chronic shortage of teachers in Malawi means many students don’t get the support they need. Without female focused support and role models, many girls miss the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and the number of girls going into teaching never improves. The Malawi Access Into Teaching Scholarships project offers young women a second chance at a teaching career.
TESSA is a network of teachers and teacher educators stretching across Sub-Saharan Africa. At the heart of the network is a bank of open educational resources (OER), linked to the school curriculum, and designed to support teachers and teacher educators in developing active approaches to learning. The network is co-ordinated by The Open University, UK.
TESS-India is led by The Open University and Save The Children India, funded by UK Aid it is a multilingual teacher professional development programme whose aim is to support India’s national educational policy by enhancing the classroom practice of primary and secondary school teachers through the provision of freely available, adaptable Open Educational Resources (OER).
A collaboration between Indian and UK educational experts and policy makers, the OER aim to support the adoption of more learner-centred, inclusive, participatory, engaging, effective classroom pedagogy, thereby positively influencing children’s progress and achievement throughout their schooling.
Transformation by Innovation in Distance Education aims to improve the quality of higher education in Myanmar at a critical time in the country’s development. ECYS brings together multiple universities in the UK and Myanmar to improve the quality of distance learning to result in more employable graduates.
Learning outcomes for Zambia are low. Over 80% of children are unable to read and write at the end of their first year of learning, Grade 5 learners score below 40% in national assessments and Zambia has one of the highest pupil-teacher ratios in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Zambian Education School-based Training programme will contribute to improved quality of teaching and learning experiences for children in primary schools in Zambia’s Central Province. It will create and implement a scalable, school-based teacher development programme.