Project Update: Professor Sally Power

WISERDEducation is a really exciting initiative which is designed to promote educational research in Wales. The core programme of research is funded by HEFCW (Higher Education Funding Council of Wales) and is designed to increase the quantity and quality of educational research in Wales.

We are now into our second year, and the first year has been so busy that we have only just begun to disseminate what we’re doing – hence my blog only appearing now!

Over the last year we have been busy building the research infrastructure – which has involved establishing longitudinal cohorts in 29 Welsh schools. We gathered data from three cohorts of pupils in Year 6, Year 8 and Year 10 from 1200 students. We were planning to have a much younger cohort of Year 1 students but decided to postpone that until this year.

We are now in the middle of collecting the second sweep of data from these same students  – who are now in Years 6, 9 and 11. It has been something of a challenge to get all the Year 11 data collection done before the students go ‘off timetable’ for their exam preparation. We are also now hoping to pick up the youngest cohort who are now in Year 2.

In addition to collecting the data, we are also in the process of analysing the data. My colleague, Kevin Smith, is working with me on an article which is exploring what our Welsh children said in response to the question ‘If someone gave you £1 million today, what would you do with it?’.

At first sight the issue of what children would do with £1 million looks quite trivial. However, it is actually quite revelatory of a number of key issues connected with children’s desires and their relationship with money and wealth. A first glance at the data suggests that our respondents are really quite altruistic  – with over half of them saying they would give all or some of it to charities, family and friends.

Over the next few months we’re hoping to develop a number of articles which we hope will be of interest.

In addition to going into schools to survey students, we’ve been interviewing headteachers, chairs of governing bodies and surveying staff. We hope this will give us a clearer idea of the challenges which Welsh schools face.