British Council Programmes in Scotland: an Impact Study
A team of researchers from the School of Education, University of Glasgow, led by Prof Kay Livingston and Prof Catherine Doherty, were commissioned to conduct a study on the impact of school participation in British Council programmes on student outcomes in Scotland, particularly in the context of the Scottish Attainment Challenge. British Council Scotland works with approximately one third of all schools in Scotland through their programmes (such as Erasmus+, Connecting Classrooms, e-Twinning, and Modern Language Assistants), which aim to enrich curriculum, pedagogy and professional development with a global outlook.
This research employed a mixed-methods approach, beginning with quantitative analysis of open national attainment 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 analyses, carried out in collaboration with Urban Big Data Centre (with open and securely held ScotExed pupil data in the Edris Safehaven), demonstrated a positive association between school participation in BC programmes and higher student attainment. However, schools in more deprived locations were significantly less likely to engage with these extra programmes than less deprived areas.
The case studies documented a variety of histories, motivations and enactments in their uptake of British Council programmes. Headteachers, Senior Management Teams 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 available here.
Start and End Date
January 2018 – January 2019
Funder and Funding Amount
British Council Scotland
Livingston, K. and Doherty, C. (2020) A counter-narrative of curriculum enrichment in performative times. Curriculum Journal, 31(4), pp. 666-686. (doi: 10.1002/curj.32)