The importance of being enterprising for teacher education and teacher professional development.

Ewan Ingleby, Tahirih Cockshut, Mark Wijnbergen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper presents the findings from a research project that was funded by Innovate UK via the DfE (Department for Education) to a value of £99,706 from 2016-2017. The research explores organisational culture within primary and secondary schools in England and considers the implications of the findings for teacher education and teacher development. Although the research occurred in England, the findings have implications for teacher education and teacher development on an international scale. The research adopted a mixed methods approach. A survey, informed by Q methodology, was issued to school staff (headteachers; teachers; classroom assistants; school business managers; governors) in 800 primary and secondary schools in England and the completed surveys (n=257) were used to develop research themes that were explored during two focus groups discussions (with 13 school business managers) and loosely structured telephone interviews (with eight headteachers). The focus groups and interviews were based on participatory action research and visual methods. The research findings were presented formally to the DfE in August 2017. The research reveals that too much emphasis is being placed on achieving academic results in schools in England. In consequence, enterprise education (defined by Coffield [2006] and Gibb [1993] as the enabling of lateral or creative thinking through pedagogy) is being neglected. The research participants draw attention to the importance of applying pastoral support within primary and secondary schools in England and they observe that existing leadership and management structures are not always helpful in enabling enterprise education and pastoral care.
The research findings link to the work of Bernstein (2000) and his interesting argument that so many of our educational problems stem from the dislocation that exists between the Trivium and the Quadrivium. Bernstein (2000) reflects on the tension that is present within education in the West and he argues that the curriculum is a combination of Christian and Greek influences. The Trivium (rhetoric, grammar, logic) can appear to be at odds with the Quadrivium (arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and music). Bernstein (2000) argues that what is subjective and impressionistic may be associated with the Trivium and that the objective scientific world can be seen as a representation of the Quadrivium. In schools in England in 2018, the triumph of the Quadrivium is evident. There is a wish to measure and define that is based on the achievement of successful examination results.
The research findings also develop the work of Downie and Randall (1999). Although the Asclepian notion of ‘healing’ and pastoral work is regarded as being important by the research participants, the focus on results and targets can lead to this ‘messiness of human life’ being viewed as an inconvenience (Urban 2009). This, in turn, has consequences for professional development. If the achievement of results dominates a school’s zeitgeist, it is likely that the professional development that is taking place will focus on this objective. Enabling what Kennedy (2005, 237) refers to as ‘transformative professional development’ through enterprising education is less likely to become a key priority. This is revealed by the research participants in this study.
Vermunt (2016) argues that we ought to use research findings in education in ways that are similar to the ‘black boxes’ of aeroplanes. The collection of ‘hidden conversations’ within research studies like this project reveal what is happening ‘as it is’ as opposed to what exists ‘after the fact’. I hope that the research in this project has an impact within this international conference and beyond, in the fields of teacher education and teacher professional development.
Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Coffield, F. (2006). From The Decade Of Enterprise Culture To The Decade Of The TECs. British Journal of Education and Work, 4 (1), 59-78.
Downie, R., and F. Randall. (1999). Palliative Care Ethics: A Companion For All Specialities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gibb, A.A. (1993). The Enterprise Culture And Education: Understanding Enterprise Education And Its Links With Small Business Enterpreneurship And Wider Educational Goals. International Small Business Journal, 11 (3), 11-34.
Kennedy, A. (2005). Models Of CPD: A Framework For Analysis. Journal of In-Service Education, 31 (2), 235-250.
Urban, M. (2009). Strategies for change: rethinking professional development to meet the challenges of diversity in the early years profession. Paper presented at the IPDA conference, 27-28 November, Birmingham, UK.
Vermunt, J.D. (2016). Keynote Address. Paper presented at the IPDA conference, 25-26 November, Stirling, UK.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2018
EventBERA (British Educational Research Association Conference) 2018 -
Duration: 11 Sept 201813 Jan 2019


ConferenceBERA (British Educational Research Association Conference) 2018
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Dr Ewan Ingleby (ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0511-9070; Twitter @EwanIngleby) is based in the education department of Teesside University’s school of social sciences humanities and law. Ewan is the postgraduate research tutor of the school of social science humanities and law and co-leads the University’s ‘learning for the twenty-first century’ research challenge. Dr Ladan Cockshut works at Durham University. Prior to working at Durham, Ladan worked with Ewan at Teesside University. Mark Wijnbergen is a PHD scholarship student at Teesside University and he was employed as the project’s research assistant.


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