Fellows receive lifetime achievement awards from BERA

29 September 2015

Since 2014 BERA has awarded the John Nisbet Fellowship to one or more people who are deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to educational research over their career. Named in honour of our first President, this award recognises individuals who exemplify BERA’s commitment to encouraging educational research and its application for the improvement of practice and public benefit.

2015 Winners –Professor Patricia Broadfoot CBE FAcSS and Dr Sara Delamont FAcSS

Patricia Broadfoot

Professor Patricia Broadfoot FAcSS

Professor Patricia Broadfoot FAcSS

After undergraduate studies in Sociology and a PGCE, Patricia’s first job was as a teacher in a Jamaican High School. This experience led to an abiding interest in the Sociology of Education and the beginnings of a research career that linked the study of assessment and comparative education. Subsequently working for the Scottish Council for Research in Education -then chaired by Professor Nisbet – she was involved in early pilot work in schools on ‘Pupil Profiles’ – work that was to lead to the major Government initiative in the 1980’s to introduce Records of Achievement and the co-directorship of the National Evaluation of the programme. Her 1979 book: ‘Assessment, Schools and Society’ proved the foundation for a sustained research engagement with the role played by assessment as a policy tool, especially in the contrasting settings of education in England and France, work which culminated in her !996 book ‘Assessment, Education and Society’ and the award of a D.Sc from Bristol University in 1999.

Having been appointed lecturer at Bristol University in 1981, Patricia subsequently set up the Centre for Assessment Studies which hosted a range of research projects relating to assessment policy and practice. A series of long-term, ESRC-funded projects traced the impact of the National Curriculum and Assessment in English schools and provided the basis for empirical comparative studies of the ethos and very different educational practice in France and Denmark. A parallel interest in the relationship between assessment and learning led to the creation with colleagues, of an on-line assessment tool – the Effective Lifelong Lerning Inventory – ELLI – which is now used around the world. The scale of interest in ELLI has led to Patricia’s recent work on the potential of technology-enhanced assessment to underpin a paradigm shift in contemporary assessment thinking and practice.

A former President of both BERA and the Comparative and International Education Society, Patricia contributed as a member of the Assessment Reform Group to its sustained efforts to translate research into policy and practice. She served on the ESRC Council from 2001 to 2006, chairing its International Advisory Committee and the Research Resources Board. Since 2008, Patricia has been the inaugural Chair of the Governing Board of the largest longitudinal household study in the world – ESRC’s ‘Understanding Society’. This has encouraged her to pursue the interest derived from her ESRC experience, in the future role of social science and the potential of large data sets to transform educational and social research.

She is a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was recently elected a member of its Council. Patricia was awarded a CBE for services to Social Science in 2006.

Sara Delamont

Dr Sara Delamont FAcSS

Dr Sara Delamont FAcSS

Sara Delamont was born near Southampton in 1947.  She read Social Anthropology at Girton Colleges Cambridge, and did a PhD in Education at Edinburgh.  The thesis was an ethnography of ‘St Luke’s’, an elite girls’ school.  She lectured in the School of Education at Leicester with Tom Whiteside and Gerry Bernbaum, and was part of the ORACLE project there until 1981.  In 1976 Sara moved to Cardiff and has been there ever since.

One of the 100 people to be invited to join BERA as a Founder Member, Sara was the first Woman to be President in 1984.  Sent to the inaugural meeting that led to the Academy of Social Sciences to represent BERA, by the then-President, Ted Wragg, she served on the council for many years and was elected as a Fellow in 2000.  She was the first woman Dean of Social Sciences in 1984-1986.

As a protest against the 1988 Education Act (which removed tenure from those who were promoted) Sara has never been a Professor.  She was the European Associate Editor of Teacher and Teaching Education from 1984-1994, and its editor (with John Fitz, Lesley Pugsley and Chris Taylor) for 2003-2010.  She was awarded a DScEcon by Cardiff University in 2007, was given the British Sociological Association’s Lifetime Service Award in 2013, and Cardiff University’s equivalent the same year.  Sara did two terms on the ESRC Training and Skills Committee 2006-2010 and was on the RAE and REF sub-panels for Sociology in 2008 and 2014.  She was conferred with Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2000. Most recently she has been elected a Fellow of Learned Society of Wales in 2014.

Her first book, Interaction in the Classroom came out in 1976, and the third edition of Fieldwork in Educational Settings is in press.  Since 2003 Sara, and a colleague Neil Stephens, have been doing ethnography of how Capoeira, the Brazilian martial art, is taught in the UK: and yes, that is educational research.