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Past event

Small Schools and Effective Curriculum

The BERA SIG for School Effectiveness and Improvement invited school leaders, educational researchers, education policy makers and interested stakeholders to a twilight online panel discussion on ‘Small schools and effective curriculum’. Small schools have been championed for the value they bring to their typically rural/coastal communities. The future of small schools in England is in question due to policy changes and austerity for public services funding. This panel discussed one element that is believed to be challenging small schools – delivering and leading a curriculum that is ‘fit for Ofsted’.  

Small schools are subject to the same curriculum and subject leadership requirements as all other schools. This may appear to offer equality but has been challenged as being inequitable as policy is focused on larger schools with more staff and greater access to resources. The panel members have a range of roles that focus on small schools and used their collective knowledge and expertise to explore how small schools can develop an effective curriculum that meets their pupils needs and that of regulatory bodies. 


Draft programme: 

18:00 BERA introduction
18:05 Welcome from Chair and introduction to the panel members
Tanya Ovenden-Hope
18:15 Panel Discussion
Overview from each panel member then response to questions from Chair

Denise Bryant, Andy Wolfe, Aimee Tinkler, Mike Sheridan, Lee Owston,
Cath Gristy, and Morag Redford
19:15 Questions from audience
19:30 Event close


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Chair and Panel Members

Profile picture of Tanya Ovenden-Hope
Tanya Ovenden-Hope, Professor

Professor of Education & Dean at Plymouth Marjon University

Professor Tanya Ovenden-Hope is Provost and Professor of Education at Plymouth Marjon University. In 2018 she developed and opened Marjon University Cornwall based in Truro, which she leads. Tanya is a committed and enthusiastic educationalist...

Profile picture of Denise Bryant
Denise Bryant, Ms

Education Improvement Advisor at N/A

Currently an Education Improvement Advisor at Nottinghamshire County Council. Prior to this, I was a primary school Headteacher for 14 years and have experience of coaching and leadership development. I have facilitated NPQSL and am passionate...

Profile picture of Morag Redford
Morag Redford, Professor

Associate Dean Education at University of the Highlands and Islands

Professor Morag Redford is Head of Teacher Education in the University of the Highlands, a federated institution situated in nine colleges across the north and west of Scotland. Her research focuses on teacher education and the interface between...

Profile picture of Andy Wolfe
Andy Wolfe

Director of Education at Church of England

Andy oversees the programmes, networks and research of the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership – working with thousands of school leaders across the UK. He is committed to combining rich theological...

Profile picture of Aimee Tinkler
Aimee Tinkler, Mrs

Deputy Director - Institute of Teaching at Greenwood Academies Trust

Aimée Tinkler has been a teacher for over 20 years during which time she has taught and led in schools in a variety of circumstances and contexts. Most recently, Aimée has become an advocate for small and rural schools after spending 10 years...

Profile picture of Lee Owston HMI
Lee Owston HMI, Mr

Acting National Director, Education at Ofsted

Lee Owston is one of His Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) and the acting National Director, Education. He oversees Ofsted’s inspection policy for early education, state-funded schools, non-association independent schools, unregistered schools,...

Cath Gristy, Dr

Lecturer at Plymouth University

I have been a secondary school science teacher and worked in special needs and pupil referal unit schooling. My doctoral thesis, Life on the edge: the role played by school in the lives of young people from a rural community in the South West of...

Profile picture of Mike Sheridan HMI
Mike Sheridan HMI

Regional Director, East of England and East Midlands at Ofsted

Mike Sheridan took up his post as Regional Director, East of England and East Midlands on 01 June 2022. Previously, Mike held the post of Regional Director London for over six years, having worked prior to this as a senior HMI and operational...