British Council Programmes in Scotland: an Impact Study

British Council Programmes in Scotland: an Impact Study

Issued: Thu, 07 Mar 2019 14:42:00 GMT

A team of researchers from the School of Education, led by Kay Livingstone, Catherine Lido and Catherine Doherty, were commissioned to conduct a study on what impact the British Council programmes had on student outcomes in Scottish schools, in the context of the Scottish Attainment Challenge. British Council Scotland works with approximately a third of all schools in Scotland through programmes (Erasmus+, Connecting Classrooms, e-Twinning, and Modern Language Assistants) that enrich curriculum, pedagogy and professional development with a global outlook.  

The study used a mixed methods approach with quantitative data analysis using open national data and individual pupil data, in combination with seven qualitative case studies of schools in different settings and interviews with senior staff in key stakeholder agencies. The quantitative findings demonstrated a positive association between school participation in BC programmes and higher student attainment. However, schools in more deprived locations were less likely to engage with these extra programmes.

The case studies documented a variety of histories, motivations and enactments in their uptake of British Council programmes. Headteachers, senior managers and teachers in schools within Attainment Challenge local authorities reported purposefully using British Council programmes to build aspiration, confidence and school engagement for students. The programmes contributed to authentic literacy tasks and cross-curricular connections which made it hard to isolate their particular impact, except in the area of Modern Languages. The teachers placed a high value on the professional development opportunities they had participated in.

The report is freely available if interested in more detail. 


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