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York academic recognised for public impact in education

Posted on 17 September 2015

A University of York Honorary Professor is the first winner of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Public Impact Award, sponsored by SAGE publications.

Professor Robin Alexander

Professor Robin Alexander receives the award for his initiation and leadership of the Cambridge Primary Review and its successor the Cambridge Primary Review Trust, based at the University of York since 2013.

Funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Cambridge Primary Review (CPR) was established at the University of Cambridge in 2006 as an independent enquiry into the condition and future of English primary education.

Addressing questions relating to issues of value, process, content, quality, management, structure, governance and policy in English primary education, and contingent questions about childhood and society in a changing world, CPR’s work constituted the most comprehensive research-based public enquiry into primary education ever undertaken.

The Cambridge Primary Review Trust (CPRT), based at the University of York and funded by Pearson, is a not-for-profit company set up to build on and extend the work of CPR and advance the cause of high-quality primary education for all children grounded in vision, principles and evidence.

Establishing 13 regional networks and a CPRT Schools Alliance of outstanding primary schools, CPRT secures evidence-based school and classroom practice through research, teacher discussion groups and other activities. It submits evidence to government and Select Committee consultations and enquiries, and comments on policy developments.

CPRT also works with Pearson to develop jointly-branded support materials and services for schools.

The BERA Public Impact Award, sponsored by Sage, recognises the critical importance of research in the education community, and awards those whose work has achieved exceptional  and beneficial impact on education policy and practice beyond academia.

Professor Alexander said: “I'm delighted that the Cambridge Primary Review has been recognised by this important new award. It's nearly ten years since we began our campaign to bring independent evidence to bear on key questions about what is and what ought to be in English primary education, and although the Review hoped to influence policy - and has done so demonstrably if not dramatically - its real and lasting impact has been among teachers.

“The expanding regional networks of the Review's successor, the Cambridge Primary Review Trust, bear ample witness to that, as do the numerous schools now using the Review's findings to advance a primary education grounded in vision and evidence. I’m also pleased that having relocated to York the Trust has developed research partnerships with the Institute for Effective Education and, through Professor Kate Pickett, the Department of Health Sciences.”

Nick Johnson, Executive Director of the British Educational Research Association, said: “The Cambridge Primary Review and its successor The Cambridge Primary Review Trust are fantastic endeavours that under Robin’s careful guidance and leadership have had a profound impact on primary schools in England; their teachers and their students.

“Our partnership with SAGE to sponsor this award is an important way to recognise the value that important research projects like Robin’s have within the community and we are delighted to be able to honour Robin’s achievement.”

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