Review -The Higher Education Personal Tutor’s and Advisor’s Companion

Review of Lochtie, D., Stork, A. and Walker, B.W. (2022) The Higher Education Personal Tutor’s and Advisor’s Companion St Albans: Critical Publishing

For many years, personal tutoring has been an under-researched area; indeed, Thomas (in Lochtie et al 2018) describes it as “something of an academic desert” (p.x). Academic staff have found themselves in the front line supporting students, with little guidance available from the pedagogic literature.

Hence, when Lochtie et al published a text on personal tutoring in 2018 it was an extremely welcome resource for tutors, researchers, student services staff and management. This new (2022) text takes us further and provides 25 case studies illustrating how to translate the theory in the first book into practice.

The book is even more timely given the pressures faced by HE generally and individual students particularly in the context of the pandemic, and the significant changes to teaching and learning, such as the increased adoption of blended approaches. The authors conclude that “belonging and connectedness have arguably never been more vital” (Lochtie et al 2022 p.xvi) and personal tutors are key agents in achieving this.

One problem facing the editors of a book containing wide ranging case studies is how to organise and form connections between them. Rather than try to pummel them into ill-fitting categories, the editors have arranged the case studies alphabetically by author, and produced a “themes” table which is near the start of the book. This is not only valuable signposting for readers with specific interests, it is also cross-referenced to the relevant section of the companion (2018) text.

Each chapter consists of one case study, and the beginning and ending of each follows a broadly uniform structure – again, quite an achievement on the part of the editors. Following an initial chapter focused themes table, the case study is summarised in a succinct introduction or background; at the end of each case study is a conclusion or “key messages”. Finally, there is a set of “critical reflections” to consider, which indeed could also be used by staff developers.

However, here the similarity ends. The case studies are diverse, including scholarly research and more informal stories of practice, with authors from academic, leadership and student support roles.  Some have one author, some have many (indeed, up to eight) authors. 25 UK institutions are represented, including long-established and more modern universities. The topics are wide ranging, encompassing whole institutional approaches, module based tutoring, group tutorials, training for tutors, employability, “at risk” students, coaching, and more. Moreover the fact that a significant number of institutions are not only working with students and staff to research and enhance their approach to personal tutoring, but also prepared to share their good practice, is highly encouraging – maybe this key issue is finally moving from the sidelines into the spotlight.

The diversity of case studies mean that readers are likely to find something relevant to their own circumstances, as well as approaches and questions which might challenge them to further enrich their own practice. Once again, this is an essential text which would be of great value to all involved in supporting students directly or organising and managing such support.

Kathryn McFarlane, Independent Consultant, Professional Development Manager at Staffordshire University (retired).

The Higher Education Personal Tutor and Advisor’s Companion

Having co-authored Effective Personal Tutoring in Higher Education which detailed what we thought was happening in the sector at that point, what I personally found exciting about co-editing (with Andy Stork and Ben Walker, two of my previous co-authors) The Personal Tutor’s and Advisor’s Companion was that it details what is happening in the sector right now – at a very interesting time for higher education. As a previous Critical Blog has explored, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our institutions so the exposition and examination of advising and tutoring these 25 case studies offer is needed now more than ever.  The opportunity to gather these examples of excellence and innovation from across the sector, at this particular point in history, was a genuine privilege to be involved with.

Our team of 50 authors come from a wide range of academic and professional service roles, even including some recent graduates, drawing upon their own student voice and experience.  The institutions they write about are similarly varied coming from across the UK and featuring red brick universities, post-1992 institutions and lots in between. The case studies are presented in a variety of forms from scholarly enquiry and action research to personal stories of practice.

My favourite part of editing this book involved conducting a thematic analysis of the case studies we received.  You could be forgiven for feeling that advising and tutoring is perennially ‘under-review’ as reflected by the fact that nine of our case studies detail accounts of institutional review and implementation. The exact nature and outcomes of those reviews offer a detailed snapshot of contemporary student support in the sector. 

Four of our case studies show differentiation by individual student needs – including via coaching and methods such as Social Identity Mapping. Six feature differentiation by subject area asserting that no ‘one size fits all’ and identifying the specific needs of, say, STEM students and then later, Arts and Humanities students. 

Six of our case studies consider differentiation by student population for varying categories of students who may be considered as ‘at risk’ (whilst discussing the challenges and limitations of such a term). Nine case studies provide a range of views on an expert versus generalist debate… showing examples of how both specialist advisors and personal tutors, as part of a balanced teaching and research workload, can improve the student experience. Nine case studies discuss student involvement and co-creation so detail the voice and needs of contemporary students, which is surely more important now than ever?

With such diversity across our case studies and the wider sector, can we truly learn from examples of good practice elsewhere? I believe so. I believe our institutions have more in common than they do in contrast.  Alongside the smorgasbord of various student support solutions featured in the book I recommend seeking common principles.

The need to develop a sense of wellbeing among students features in ten case studies, with notions of student engagement, pastoral support, well-being and transition featured in 22 case studies combined. Through all of our differences what we have in common is having students at our core.

There is no ‘one student experience’ at any of these institutions but our case studies show how we are all working towards consistency in structure where it is possible and beneficial.

It is our ambition for advising and tutoring to build towards a body of literature (and associated development) on a par with the wealth of such which exists for teaching and in full coordination with developments in wider student development theory. We feel this book is a significant step towards that and very much hope that you get as much from reading these examples of good practice from across the sector as we did in editing them.

Dave Lochtie, Andy Stork and Ben Walker

Do you want to develop your own creativity and the creative skills of children?

If you are a teacher or a parent wanting to make sure that you are giving young people every chance to be creative, this book by Dr Karen Hosack Janes looking at how creativity can be nurtured is for you.

First it explores the early creative experiences of some people well-known for being creative and then draws together these insights to propose three conditions for nurturing creativity: Being in an environment that values the arts in everyday life; having time for experimentation and play; and having opportunities to collaborate with others.

The book goes on to use the three conditions as lenses to view a variety of educational theories and current educational practices, in and out of school settings, including online cultural learning programmes. The aim is to demonstrate how much consensus there is about developing creative skills. However, also highlighted is the importance of understanding that primarily creativity comes about when an individual has a significant amount of creative agency. This means, in practical terms for professional educators and parents, that children’s personal input into shaping a creative experience needs to be considerable. This important point brings into question activities that are not as creatively demanding as they could be, for example tasks that simply require children to copy, or to follow step-by-step instructions, or just to colour in. Instead, activities need to involve the individual more in experimenting with ideas, utilising their own prior experiences, and building and expanding on these by collaborating with others. In this way personal creative responses are most effectively elicited.

Each chapter in the book guides the reader through some complex ideas and poses reflective questions with a view to the reader finding a personal (creative) understanding of creativity. The multiple perspectives voiced throughout, including from writers, artists, musicians, academics, teachers and cultural venue educators, make it clear that developing creative skills is a life affirming experience that has widespread social, cultural and economic benefits. 

Dr Karen Hosack Janes is the author of ‘Nurturing Creativity in the Classroom An exploration of consensus across theory and practice’.

Available NOW in Paperback, PDF, EPUB, and on Kindle for just £17.99!

ISBN : 9781913453893
Edition No : 1
Publication : Jan 12, 2022
Extent : 128 pgs

Review of ‘Enabling Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education’

Enabling Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education’, provides practitioners and educational professionals with a holistic overview of the subject. The book highlights pragmatic ways in which critical pedagogy can be integrated into daily practice, as well as large scale curriculum changes. Key concepts are broken down in a dynamic and digestible way and essential tools are provided to create more stimulating and anti-oppressive learning environments.
Through the lens of Enabling Critical Pedagogy, education is envisioned as an informal, shared and negotiated experience in which the roles of student and educator are flexible and interchangeable. Within this space, rich, organic learning can truly take place. The book explores the multifaceted and multidisciplinary application of critical pedagogy and suggests that by enabling such practice, educators can empower the production of authentic knowledge and the development of critical thinkers.
The book offers an exciting reimagining of institutions and the frameworks in which they operate. Mike and Alan emphasise the significance of platforming minoritised narratives such as those of queer, indigenous and working class communities – whose voices have been stolen and suppressed by academia. They critique the white, patriarchal, Eurocentric and classed nature of higher education and prepare the reader to challenge the downfalls of current neoliberal, colonial teachings and methodologies.
Mike and Alan discuss the potential obstacles of enabling critical pedagogy in higher education. They point out that learners are often unaccustomed to such interactive, inclusive and autonomous academic environments in which they can equally challenge, and be themselves. Mike and Alan give readers the confidence to step out of their comfort and employ courage and passion in order to redefine the passivity of education. They encourage readers to become responsible practitioners by acknowledging the intersections of their own privilege and oppression, which in turn empowers an understanding of the unique context of each individual learner or group. They address creative, compassionate and comprehensive solutions to de-standardise, de-colonise and de-centre hetero-patriarchal norms within academia and voice non-dominant epistemologies and ideologies. The book is landmarked with poignant questions; allowing a chance for both reflection and an experience of critical pedagogy in practise.
From a student perspective, higher education lacks a sense of togetherness, transparency and accountability. We are in need of more liberating learning environments in which we can thrive and question ourselves, our peers and the very institutions we are part of. Environments that recognise marginalised voices and the wealth of knowledge in the room and address the need to engage with our compliance in exporting ideologies across the colonial world. The current process of learning does not allow space for students or practitioners to come together in collective force to share stories, struggles and cultures and can easily become hostile, exclusionary and simply inefficient.
The book instills faith in oneself as a practitioner and student and offers the possibility of genuinely fulfilling experiences in higher education. Readers are left with the message of, “we don’t know if we don’t try”. Whether it be creating an inclusive space for honest dialogue within daily practice, or becoming actively accountable for academias debt to the colonial world  – the book offers a sense of hope that pedagogues can create radical change and transformation within higher education.
Hannah Poklad,
Freelance Photographer & Leeds Beckett Youth and Community Work MA Level 7 Student

Hannah Poklad reviews Enabling Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education’ by Mike Seal and Alan Smith and edited by Joy Jarvis and Karen Smith.

Available NOW in Paperback, PDF, EPUB, and on Kindle for just £20.00!

ISBN : 9781914171093
Edition No : 1
Publication : Sep 3, 2021
Extent : 96 pgs

Why is choosing the right school for your child important? The differences between school types in England

The English education system has a variety of school types available (from privately owned to publicly funded, academies and free schools, single-sex and mixed, grammar schools and comprehensives), and deciphering the differences between them can be confusing to many parents. Too much choice can be overwhelming, but the best way to deal with the confusion is to gather together some relevant and dependable information.

School choice – in England at least – is about asserting your right to indicate a preference for your child to attend a particular school.

But ‘indicating a preference’ is not the same as ‘getting a place’ in your first-choice school, so for the 93% of children who attend state-funded schools, the next step in the process is for their highest possible school preference to be respected and acted upon.

Let’s acknowledge that – wherever you are in the process of choosing a school – some of your choices have already been made. For reasons such as family and jobs, you live in a particular place and the unavoidable fact is that, for most people, where you live affects the choices of school available to you. If you live in a densely populated area, there will be a greater number of schools closer by than if you live in a less densely populated area.

Indeed, we would argue that it’s helpful to remember the Bananarama Principle, which suggests that, to paraphrase, it’s not what type of school you’re in, it’s what happens in your school… and that’s what gets results. We know of many schools in challenging contexts and with low Ofsted ratings that are doing incredible things to serve the needs of their pupils, things that a prospective parent would only know about it they seek out dependable information from a range of sources.

Types of schools in England

Schools in England can, broadly, be grouped into two categories: those that are state-funded and those that are privately funded (sometimes known as ‘independent’ or, confusingly, ‘public’ schools). State schools in England either are funded through the local authority, or get their funding directly from central government. Private schools, on the other hand, charge a fee for the education they provide, and this is often paid directly by parents, though in some cases bursaries and scholarships are available.

This table visualises the types of state-funded schools in England.

Traditionally known as ‘local authority maintained schools’. They follow the national curriculum and are independent of any business or faith group.Funded by the local authority but sometimes receive support from faith groups.Funded by not-for- profit academy trusts. They operate outside of the local authority’s control.These may be run by the local authority, a foundation, or an academy trust.
These schools do not have selection tests for entry.These schools do not have selection tests for entry.These schools do not have selection tests for entry.Grammar schools select their pupils using entrance tests of academic ability.

The first two columns in the table describe schools with which most people will be familiar to some extent – many parents in England will have attended a local authority school of one kind or another. Academies, however, are a relatively new and significant development in England’s education system, and so we turn our attention to them now.


Academies were originally introduced by the Labour government in 2002 as a ‘remedial intervention’ to improve the quality of education in so-called ‘failing schools’. After the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition government came into power in 2010, the number of academies began to rise dramatically. Studies into the effects of this new school type find that there has been little impact of academies per se on children’s outcomes, although some positive effects have been found (schools rated as outstanding by Ofsted before they converted to being an academy between 2010 and 2014 saw increases of around one GCSE grade in two subjects, on average).

Unlike community schools, academies do not have to follow the national curriculum (the collection of subjects that children in primary schools and secondary schools learn, and the standards they should meet in them), but they do have to offer something of equal or greater depth and ambition that responds to what children attending the school know and can do: they must respond constructively to fill the gaps in knowledge and skill the children they teach have.

According to the Department for Education in England, 32 per cent of primary schools and 75 per cent of secondary schools are (at the time of writing) either academies or free schools, with over four million children attending them (about 2.5 million of these children are in secondary schools, while more than 1.6 million are primary school children, and those not accounted for in these figures attend special and alternative provision academies). Academies have grown in number, and it seems likely that this trend will continue in years to come.

Grammar schools

At age 11, when children move from primary school to secondary school (after the end of Year 6), most go to a state-funded school which is non-selective. A small number go to one of the 163 academically selective grammar schools which use entrance testing to assess a child’s achievement and ability. Their presence in the English education system stems from national and local policy decisions which have created heated debates about privilege, segregation and fairness in society. But these debates generally don’t directly affect the majority of parents, due to the relatively small number of grammar schools in the country (which tend to be clustered in certain geographic regions – there is only one in Cumbria, for example, and 15 in Lincolnshire).

The knowledge, skill and dedication of leaders and teachers in grammar schools is not to be diminished but it is important to acknowledge the body of research indicating that this school type per se is not superior to any other, something that can also be said for single-gender schools.

Single-gender schools

If you are considering either an all-boys or all-girls school for your child, you may be surprised to find that – despite anecdotes and intuition – research suggests that sending your child to one appears to make very little – if any – difference to how well they’re likely to do academically. This is not to say that they won’t flourish in a single-gender school, but that, on average, this school type does not confer an academic advantage per se (yet again, the Bananarama Principle returns!).

When we spoke to Durham University’s Professor Stephen Gorard, he offered his thoughts on why, for example, single-gender girls’ schools seem to achieve better results than mixed-gender schools: ‘Single-sex girls’ schools have results in line with those of girls in mixed [co-educational] schools – they just have more girls so the average is higher as girls tend to have better outcomes.’ Looking at the research evidence, we have to conclude that attending a single-gender school appears to make very little – if any – difference to how well a child is likely to do academically.

Private schools

Defining private schools (sometimes known as ‘independent’ or – confusingly – ‘public’ schools) is not as simple as offering a neat, one-line description. As ever in the world of education, things are a little more complicated than that.

For example, the 1400 or so schools registered on the Independent Schools Council website ( include day schools and boarding schools, co-educational schools and single-sex schools, faith schools and those with no religious affiliation. While private schools often have long histories and are well-known, the number of pupils attending them in England has gone down in recent years: there were 2300 fewer pupils attending in 2019 than in 2017 (Department for Education, 2019).

While entrance testing is common in many private schools, not all select children based on their ability (as demonstrated by performance on an entrance test, for instance), although paying school fees creates a form of selection for all but those who receive the (often generous) bursaries and scholarships available. As with grammar schools and single-gender schools, research evidence indicates that attending a private school does not necessarily confer an academic advantage on average (Ndaji et al, 2016).


So, to summarise, there is a variety of different school types available in England, although where you live will affect which are actually available to you. School type itself seems to affect the education that children receive less than the quality of the teaching and leadership, so it is advisable to focus your attention on what happens in and around a school, more than what type it is.

Some schools select students: by ability, by gender or financially. Many make the argument that characteristics of their school type – such as its basis for selection – lead to better academic outcomes for students, on average. But is this really the case? Mostly, the answer to this question is ‘no,’ although there do seem to be other ways in which certain types of school confer certain advantages. In most cases, school type makes much less of a difference than the quality of teaching and leadership.

This blogpost is created from excerpts from ‘What Every Parent Should Know About Education: How Knowing The Facts Can Help Your Child Succeed‘ written by Chris Atherton and Stuart Kime.

Available now in Paperback, EPUB, and PDF for just £14.99!

ISBN : 9781913063139
Edition No : 1
Extent : 144 pgs
Publication : May 5, 2021

How do social workers really make decisions?

By Abbi Jackson

Independent Social Work Consultant, Senior Planning Officer, Practice Educator, Lecturer

I have written this book to help guide students and newly qualified social workers in applying theory to practice.  I aim to help people learn from the experience of established workers, firstly to gain insight into practice in areas they have no professional experience yet, but primarily to help them consider how decisions are made reflexively in the moment. I hope this gives readers learning experiences that bridge the gap between university and practice without the pressure of being on placement.

I used first person narrative to create fictitious stories which firstly outline the central character and their challenges, and then demonstrate the thinking “in action” of a social worker trying to help them. There are side boxes highlighting which theory or intervention might apply as the story unfolds and some rationale as to why the social worker makes their decisions. The imagined social work practice does not profess to be the definitive answer but invites the reader to think of the ethical dilemmas and debate approaches and interventions. I intend the book to be a springboard for learning and offer some pointers to further reading around the themes.  Practice educators can use the material in any way that suits their student’s learning needs.

I have included some reflective questions at the end of each chapter to prompt critical thinking. Students and newly qualified workers can reflect on their own or with others and the questions will be of value to all social workers, in fact, regardless of their level of experience.  The wider themes raised in each story can be discussed and deliberated in supervision or team meetings.

Through the fictitious cases, I have demonstrated the value base of the social work narrator and where they consider and manage risk and relationships.  The reader is invited to consider how they themselves, would take accountability for these decisions in practice and share their rationale with multiple audiences: other professionals, the people they serve and their families.

The most challenging thing about writing this book was to get the characters to appear real. Their stories evolved mainly whilst I was walking the dogs! Lots of the inspiration came from my own mundane day to day experiences – like my uncle advising me to paint my wet room floor with waterproof paint before tiling it and our own washing machine breaking down and having to go to Grandma’s with washing loads. Some of the material parallels the writing of skill self-assessment tools for my own practice education purposes. I was very fond of the characters by the end and hope that people find them and their imaginary social workers realistic.

I hope the material will spark critical discussion and debate: for example – what would be the threshold in the reader’s agency, of removing Kim to alternative carers when her needs were not being met by her parents? Or what would the minimum expected standard of housing conditions for Elizabeth’s situation, and how can we work with the complexities of her constructs around her relationship with her son?

Overall, I hope this book supports the development of attuned, insightful social workers who can use their knowledge to defend decisions and challenge the right people at the right time, in respectful and sensitive ways.

Abbi Jackson is the author of Dilemmas and Decision Making in Social Work.

Available now in Paperback, EPUB, and PDF for just £12.99!

ISBN: 9781914171208

Edition No : 1

Extent : 112 pgs

Publication : Oct 12, 2021

How has COVID-19 impacted Higher Education? Questions over Online Learning

By Julian McDougall

Professor in Media and Education, Head of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice at Bournemouth University and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

I had been teaching on online or blended programmes for eight years and, when COVID-19 hit, in our centre we found ourselves in demand, to support colleagues with the ‘pivot’ to online or virtual. But there was a tension between the requests for ‘how to’ and our lived experience of the ‘why’ and all of the complexities that make such a big difference. Things like the socio-material context for every different student and the way that learning gets designed with more knowledge exchange between students and teachers, often, by necessity in the online space. And then all the mindset stuff – like moving away from a deficit model of online as a supplement or virtual version of the campus, towards thinking of the virtual space as a ‘de-situated’ campus, or going further to think about ‘we, the campus’ – the people, not the buildings. But also the politics – who owns the platforms, what about surveillance, what happens to diversity and inclusion?

Critical questions, for critical practice.

So, writing for this book series was perfect. I chose to start with the configuration of time, space, machines and people, so that from the outset the book would be talking about these elements ‘in play’. Then I wrote about people in relational practices, again not thinking about online relations as being a version of something ‘real’, but maybe as ‘more than human’. And then onto assessment, socio-cultural politics and decolonising the online curriculum. I was mainly curating research and practice by other people, trying to bring together the most important learning from pre-COVID and situating the pandemic experience in that, as well as projecting forward to the ‘new normal’ and various futuring discourses. For that purpose, I finished with a recorded panel in which I asked a group of key thinkers in the online learning world to think about their work in the frames of reference from Newman’s ‘The Idea of a University’. Maybe, and probably despite our instincts, the virtual learning environment can get us closer to that ethical, values-driven vision of what higher education can be?

So, I hope it all joins up and the reader is challenged by this book to think more critically about online learning but also enabled in their practice, and the series format makes that prominent, raising questions for practice. I started the book with a quote:

When distance once again becomes a choice, not a necessity, we will collectively be in a better and more informed position to understand it as a positive principle in many contexts.” (Bayne et al, 2020, pxix).

At the time of writing this post, in October 2021, in the UK, when we are not isolating for short periods, we are largely back to making decisions about where to be and how to teach, face to face, blended, asynchronous. Hopefully that will remain so. But I hope also that this book will contribute to this sense of greater confidence, this more secure, more informed relationship with online learning as a way of being in HE, a pedagogic design choice, rather than a force majeure.

Julian McDougall is the author of Critical Approaches to Online Learning.

Available now in Paperback, EPUB, and PDF for just £12.99!

ISBN: 9781914171017

Edition No : 1

Extent : 100 pgs

Publication : Oct 3, 2021

The long awaited second edition Psychopharmacology: A mental health professional’s guide to commonly used medications by Herbert Mwebe

Herbert Mwebe

This jargon-free book is suitable for all trainee and registered health professionals who require knowledge and understanding of drugs used in the treatment of mental health conditions for prescribing or administering purposes.

Whilst there are various alternative interventions to managing moderate to severe mental health presentations, psychotropic medications remain the mainstay interventions used in various clinical settings. These medicines have been around for over 5 decades with evidence showing that they help to lessen and improve the severity of psychiatric symptoms in people suffering with a mental illness. The arbiter of whether these medications are useful or not is the person taking the medication. Just like most drugs, psychiatric drugs produce benefits and risks for patients; it is the duty of the health professional to have a good understanding of the benefits and harm we expose patients to when psychiatric medication is considered as an intervention.

Throughout the 1960s to the early 1990s, extrapyramidal side effects associated with the use of first generational (typical antipsychotic drugs) were the main concern for people taking these drugs. However, over the last decade, there has been increasing concern around, and incidence of metabolic effects related to the second general antipsychotic drugs (atypical drugs); these include weight gain, diabetes, dyslipidaemia and glucose intolerance. Very often, mental health professionals complain about non-adherence with treatment and silently blame patients for refusing to consume drugs that while useful in alleviating psychiatric symptomatology, are equally harmful and toxic to their health and wellbeing.

Empathy is a common term we like to use as health professionals to try and live in any of our patients’ sensory modalities through their journey. Nevertheless, I wonder how many of us in our daily clinical practice try to appreciate the challenges and difficulties of firstly living with a complex illness like schizophrenia and secondly, how medications (e.g haloperidol or clozapine) might either worsen or improve the person’s physical, mental and psychological wellbeing. Do we stop to appreciate whether in prescribing medication that may induce sexual side effects, that patients will continue taking these medications? The reality of weight gain and obesity in the psychiatric population is not far removed from the characteristically more “refined” newer drugs or atypical antipsychotics. We know that poor physical health is linked to developing mental illness, likewise, mental illness can cause or reflect poor physical health in patients.

Mental health professionals have a central role and duty to play in alerting patients of how the medications they take work, their limitations and side effects and potential benefits as well as alternatives. At the very least, in doing so, this may enable patients/ mental health service users, especially those taking psychotropic medications, to manage their own condition. To achieve this, the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC), Royal Pharmaceutic Society (RPS) and General Medical Council (GMC) expect all their members and registrants to possess up-to-date skills and knowledge around safe use and administration of medications in clinical settings, the recognition that medication interventions are a part of a wide-ranging interventions, and that medication is just a tool to aide recovery and should not define how health professionals’ work.

With all of the above in mind, the content of this book, including updated and newly added information of clinical management in substance use disorders and clinical decision making, is relevant to students on health courses, qualified health professionals and users of mental health services, helping them to develop a sound appreciation and understanding of the main first line interventions used in clinical psychiatry.

Herbert Mwebe is the author of Psychopharmacology: A mental health professional’s guide to commonly used medications

ISBN: 9781914171444 235pp £24.99


Available now in Paperback, EPUB, and PDF for just £24.99!

For more on Psychopharmacology: A mental health professional’s guide to commonly used medications click here 


Les Walton, CBE

This book is for anyone who cares about children, why they learn, how they learn and what they learn.

So, why Education: the Rock and Roll Years?

I was born at the birth of the modern education system and grew up in a period when rock and roll stormed on to the scene. I am like many of the people of my generation who have a certain iconoclastic and challenging approach to the received ‘wisdom’ of those in power. 

I firmly believe our education system is in need of radical reform and re-engineering. This book contributes to that process by looking right back to the formation of our present education system and seeing what we can learn.

My school career began during a period when infant school children were belted with a leather tawse, some children were described as ‘backward’ and childhood transition, including bereavement, and sexual development were ignored. The children were also divided up into secondary modern, grammar and technical schools on the basis of a test, based on falsehoods and lies of a corrupt professor.

Les Walton, ‘good whacking’, Education: The Rock and Roll Years

I join a teaching profession where men and women met in different staff rooms, grammar schools were being closed and comprehensive schools introduced. The school leaving age is then raised, the Warnock Report considers the special needs of children and corporal punishment is eventually banned.

Les Walton, ‘special needs’, Education: The Rock and Roll Years

Many of the recent events I have been directly involved in have been pivotal points in the development of our present education system. The introduction of Ofsted, specialist and ‘fresh start’ schools, outsourcing Bradford education services, academisation and multi academy trusts.

Over the years I have, in my own way, been a bit ‘rock and roll’, attempting to challenge ‘the system’ and the status quo, including the establishment of the National Association of Pastoral Care, involving headteachers in Local Authority system improvement and following captains of industry as the first educationalist to chair a national education funding agency. I also instigated Schools North East, the Northern Education Trust and the Association of Education Advisers. All of these organisations have been based on a fundamental philosophy which is that children are the centre of everything we do and those who lead and teach want to improve by collaboration rather than competition.

Each of us should dig deep into our own backgrounds and ask straightforward questions. 

  • What is our view of how children should learn?
  • Where do our beliefs and values come from?
  • To what extent are our values and beliefs learned from our experiences of childhood and our own education?
  • Why do we think a particular approach to leadership is the right one?
  • What has led to our present views on how children should be educated?

I have written the book unashamedly from my own northern Geordie point of view. I have tried to be humorous even though my fellow professionals think education is no laughing matter. After you have read Education: the Rock and Roll Years, you may agree.

Les Walton is author of Education: The Rock and Roll Years – A northern perspective on a lifetime of learning, teaching and leading

For more on Education: The Rock and Roll Years click here

Available now in Paperback, EPUB, and PDF for just £18.99!

ISBN : 9781914171321

September 2021


School-based practice in teacher education

Who should be involved in deciding what school-based practice in teacher education should look like? Often it is the provider of initial teacher education – a team of teacher educators working at a central base, university or school. Including in this dialogue the school-based teacher educators who are supervising all students in their school and who work with their mentors is vital for a strong collaborative partnership to develop.  Are there any resources designed to enhance the critical conversations that need to take place around school-based practice? The Teacher Educator’s Handbook – A narrative approach to professional learning contains a wealth of such resources for teacher educators. These resources are based on narratives written by teacher educators about the challenges they have experienced ‘on the ground’, collected in England and the Netherlands as part of an international research project by Miranda Timmermans and Elizabeth White. The stories capture the complexities of practice in partnerships with many stakeholders, some of whom cross boundaries between institutions where there are different priorities and a different ethos.

The detailed stories are explored in variety of ways using critical questions that you can use on your own or in professional learning conversations with other teacher educators. These resources have been used effectively with groups of teacher educators at local, national and international professional development workshops. No right or wrong solutions are provided, and interpretation may be ambiguous. This enables freedom for teacher educators to suggest  some possible solutions and explore them together. A further advantage of using stories in workshops is the opportunities they provide to challenge practices, understand power relationships and consider what learning can be transferred between contexts. A story may bring participants in a workshop closer because they provide a way in to share  their perspectives and to listen to the perspectives of others.

The themes covered in the stories include guiding and assessing students; working collaboratively; professionalism and well-being; and quality of provision. Each theme is complemented by a range of coaching questions to advance your practice. Further chapters provide ideas from practice about how to write your own stories about practice and how to use stories of practice collaboratively and creatively. Using a narrative approach may enhance the quality of initial teacher education by recognising and valuing the unique contributions made by teacher educators in the partnership and by supporting effective cooperation within partnerships.  In a time of significant disruption to initial teacher education  and major shifts in policy around the curriculum and induction of new teachers, this narrative approach can provoke a dynamic dialogue to improve and enrich practice.

The Teacher Educator’s Handbook: A narrative approach to professional learning
By Elizabeth White and Miranda Timmermans

Available now in Paperback, EPUB, PDF, and on Kindle for just £20!

ISBN: 9781913453657

May 2021