New research centre to be launched

The Centre for Research and Development in Lifelong Education (CRADLE) will be part of the University’s School for Education Futures.

It is one of 10 new projects to have received support from a £6 million pot at the University to enhance and grow research at the institution.

Work at the centre will focus on research into further education policy and practice, with a particular emphasis on the early years of a teacher or trainer’s career. There will also be knowledge transfer activities for those working in FE.

The Centre will be led by Professor Denis Gleeson, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Warwick and a distinguished researcher, author and teacher in further and higher education, who has been appointed as the new professorial chair.

IfL is the professional body for teachers, tutors, trainers and student teachers in the further education and skills sector, and its members will help to inform CRADLE’s priorities and benefit from professional development opportunities.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We are very pleased to have a formal partnership with IfL, as we share its values and its commitment to teachers and trainers in FE and skills being trained and supported to be world-class professionals.

“IfL has a major role to play in the professional development and status of teachers in our colleges and training providers. CRADLE will build on the considerable success of our post-compulsory education department, which oversees the provision of initial teacher education and continuing professional development (CPD), and on our strong regional partnerships with FE colleges and providers in the West Midlands and beyond.”

Toni Fazaeli, Chief Executive of IfL, said: “We are delighted to be working in close partnership with the University of Wolverhampton to create the new centre, CRADLE, which will add to the University’s distinguished body of knowledge and research-based teaching and training practice.

“As one of the original ‘big four’ leading on initial teacher training for post-compulsory education, the University is a beacon in its strategic commitment to FE. Our joint working builds on and extends IfL’s existing and productive partnerships in further and higher education, for the benefit of excellence in teaching and training practice.

“The nation depends on truly expert teachers and trainers across FE and skills to boost the capacities, skills and intellectual capabilities of millions of young and adult learners every year IfL members will help inform CRADLE’s priorities and benefit from new professional development opportunities. By working with the university, IfL will continue to help raise the status of teachers and trainers in FE and skills and empower them to engage with policy research and carry out their own work-based research and development projects.”

Dame Christine Braddock, Principal of Birmingham Metropolitan College, said: “The University of Wolverhampton is located in the heart of the area that gave birth to the industrial revolution and continues to champion its very proud vocational tradition and strong commitment to vocational education, so it is very fitting that it should work with IfL to focus on more research to support teachers and trainers in further education and skills.

“We have been working closely with both institutions for some time as part of our commitment to supporting trainees and teachers in developing excellent teaching practice, and are very excited about the creation of this new research centre.”

CRADLE’s research and development and its knowledge transfer work will take account of the concerns of IfL members as well as the key issues impacting on practitioners across the sector. By working with the University, IfL will continue to help raise the status of teachers and trainers in FE and skills, and empower them to engage with policy research and carry out their own work-based research and development projects.

The aim of the Centre is to feed research findings back into practice, thereby assuring up to date, high-quality provision for use by the professional community of practitioners in the further education and skills sector. The centre has a particular emphasis on teachers and trainers in their early years of practice, but will also incorporate postgraduate research and development activity for more experienced practitioners.

CRADLE, which will be formally launched at an inaugural event in May, successfully attracted innovation funding from the University for three years, and will seek further investment for research.


Date Issued: Monday, 28 January 2013

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