Cultural markers in the East of England

Month: April 2015

Cambridgeshire Timebanking Partnership
…can you help?

’Community calls’ for help – from across our region…

The Cambridgeshire Timebanking Partnership are keen to ensure the sustainability of their Timebanks by diversifying their funding.

The Partnership have  decided on a development programme to institute a major raffle and an Auction of Promises. The Partnership  are looking to develop this ambitious campaign which can be run on an annual basis.

What is needed is someone with the skills and knowledge to act as a ‘raffle’ project mentor.

Ideally, the Partnership is looking for someone who has successfully run a major raffle in the past, who has knowledge of the process, paperwork and also advice on attracting prize donations and increasing ticket sales.

To provide support to the Partnership Project Manager, with an initial meeting for key development advice, and then the sharing of documents or telephone support if required.

If you are in the Fellowship network in the East of England, do you have ‘raffle’ expertise and the time to support The Partnership in this interesting funding development project?

The short video below gives you a flavour of the activities the Timebanking Partnership have been able to facilitate…

If you can help please contact Wendy Lansdown of the Community Engagement Team of Cambridgeshire County Council – see it on-line here on 0345 045 5200.

If you do help – thank you.


Equality in Education?


Pasi Sahlberg addresses his audience…

A year has now passed since in April 2014 the Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg – discover his work here… and Peter Mortimer – see a collection of his articles in the The Guardian, UK, ex-Director of the London Institute of Education, met to discuss with a London audience the testing subject of Inequality in English Education.

With an ever increasing press for change in social and economic inequality and the drive for more standardisation and accountability by test, the time is absolutely right, we would argue, to spread the work of the Equality in Education Network that emerged that day in April 2014.

The short film linked below, from the event, shows Pasi Sahlberg delivering a critique of  GERM, the Global Education Reform Movement. Although presented with a light touch, the argument bites deep. GERM offers no improvement in educational outputs overall, he argues.

See the movie on YouTube   You can see the original talk by Pasi Sahlberg on YouTube here…

‘Competition is seen as the right way, striving for pan-education standardisation and test based accountability is now the norm. Education is seen as an industry, a business opportunity…’ Pasi Sahlberg 2014

Pasi develops his argument by looking at two key themes. Inequality and equity. In the frst case, using Finnish data he argues that the Finnish system of tax distribution and social equality has had a profound performance effect on education in his country. In the affluent West, he argues, those nations that have the highest levels of inequality have the lowest quality educational outcomes.

In the second case, equity, the presenter’s data is used to analyse how international education systems serve all the children of a nation. What is the aggregate benefit to a nation by educational system? Here Pasi illustrates the dramatic journey of Finland again, tracking forty years of improving educational attainment . Often within the context of a turbulent socio-political landscape.

Mr. Sahlberg astonishes his audience by announcing that he has read all five volumes of the most recent PISA Report – find key OECD findings on-line here…, at five hundred pages a volume. He has discovered, despite the policy debate and process changes that recently emerged in the UK, two key PISA recommendations – found in the fourth volume.

  • School choice and competition are not related to performance.
  • Greater equity and autonomy over curricula and assessment seem to improve performance.

The speaker closes  his argument with five key recommendations about the delivery of a nation’s educational infrastructure. Although not revolutionary, they are seemingly perhaps counter intuitive at first,  when assessed against current UK policy and practice, we would argue.

  1. Co-operation is key – collaborative work should be the driving force across teaching, political activity, headships and governance in schooling.
  2. Place less stress on early learning, and much more focus on play.
  3. Be less confrontational, the key players in education should always strive for consensus.
  4. Achieve less accountability, but make, what systems there are, trust based.
  5. Have less school ‘choice‘ and strive always for a more equitable school system.

This is a telling case for Equality in Education.

Call to Action:

At conversationsEAST we would like to support the work of John Bayley and his colleagues in the nascent, London based, Equality in Education Network.

Is there an opportunity for a network group in the East of England?

Make contact with us through our ‘contact us’ slider above and we’ll let the Eastern Region team, and John, know of your interest. We should have an event in the region to revivify the discourse?

Other items of interest on this topic…

You can see and listen to Peter Mortimer’s talk, at the same event, on Inequality in English Education here. Again, delivered in gentle terms, but with a telling cutting edge about current policy.

See the movie on YouTube  See Peter Mortimer speak on Inequality in English Education here…

Finally, if the need to examine global inequality issues has grabbed you, it is well worth revisiting The Spirit Level. You can see Richard Wilkinson speaking  at TED below…


Understanding Autism?

Following our recent publication of last year’s review of the Unleashing Potential event, courtesy of Jennifer King FRSA and Sue Hind Wooodward FRSA, we are delighted to find that The University of Hertfordshire are delivering a short course, in May 2015, on the nature of Autistic Spectrum Condition.


Understanding the spectrum – a short course…


‘There will be parent perspectives, including the latest research and publications on new approaches to working with and assisting children with autism. If you are a parent or professional who works with people with autism eg Teacher, Teaching Assistant, SENCO, health and social care workers, this course is for you…’

The short course will take place over two mornings on May 5th and May 12th. Running from 09.30am to 12.30.

You can see more of the course detail on this University web page, including fees.

You can book on-line on the University’s Short Course Booking page here.

Jennifer and Sue’s call to action still holds good. The call for course attendees above at the University of Hertfordshire could be just the impetus needed to help carry forward the good work of the Unleashing Potential conference. Coagulating interest into a new project committee?

Read our original article here. Come on the Fellowship…can we hold another event in the region?



A Fellow, a camera, a keyboard?


This month’s conversationsEAST sponsored Coffee with My Councillor session will be held in Chelmsford. It is an opportunity for Fellows to meet and talk directly with their Fellowship Councillor in the East of England.

Tim reports that conversations he has had, so far, have fallen on stony ground in his search for female Fellows to champion a new Female Fellows group in our region.

Why not come along to the Ideas Hub, a great open and friendly venue, see below, on the 18th and explore the starting of this new group. Designed to support and promote female Fellow led research, social and community business projects or to lobby for family friendly services at our meetings, conferences and get-togethers.

He’ll also have his camera and keyboard to hand, if we can help you complete your Fellowship profile on the new RSA web pages. Read more about the rolling Coffee with my Councillor programme here.

Saturday 18th April -10.30 to 13.00 Chelmsford in Essex

The Ideas Hub, 1-4 Market Square,
High Chelmer, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1 1XF

  • The beginning of an Otrera Group, supporting female Fellows in the region
  • Working alongside the new Public Services and Communities RSA thematic initiative
  • A Fellow, a keyboard, a camera – completing your Fellowship profile on the new RSA web pages.

See the work of the Ideas Hub on-line here.


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