In this article from the Journal of Science Communication the authors reflect on their work with teachers and students at a local school in Milton Keynes in the UK. Their programme aims to encourage the Open University and local schools to value, recognise and support school-university engagement with research. The article goes on to propose a flexible and adaptive metric to support school engagement.
Within the paper the authors describe a planning tool, which is a flexible and adaptable metric designed to support a change in practice in how researchers, teachers (and where relevant students) plan for school-university engagement. Researchers are working in an ever more competitive environment for research funding and they propose that if the metric works it should require that researchers work in partnership with schools, e.g. by gaining School Senior Leadership Team approval for their planned school-university engagement activities before they submit their grant proposal.
The metric described in the article is also designed to demonstrate that an intensive, ongoing partnership with a small number of pupils is equivalent in terms of the reach:depth ratio to a lecture theatre full of students for an hour. At the operational level the authors hope the tool will be used to support a bold and progressive vision for school-university engagement, ultimately improving the quality of planning for school-university engagement, and making the negotiations between researchers, teachers, and ultimately research funders, more transparent.
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