The Effects of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Children’s Education

The Effects of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Children’s Education

The theme of the ECER 2020 conference was Educational Research: (Re)connecting Communities. This focus was initially prompted by the concerns about the potential effects of Brexit and other fractures in communities in Europe. The conference aimed to interrogate the capacity of educational research to address the complexity of the challenges that are encountered in connecting and reconnecting communities in contemporary Europe.

The effects of Covid-19 and the consequent lockdowns that swept across Europe and the world led to further, more extensive, fractures and disconnects across Europe. Schools, universities and workplaces were closed. There were severe restrictions on travel and movement around Europe.

As the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns continued, a number of serious issues arose for children and the continuation of their education in Scotland. For many children and young people, school became an online engagement with teachers. The use of platforms and materials and the frequency of contact varied across Scotland’s 32 local authorities with learning resources provided by schools, media companies and commercial companies.


The Effects of Home Schooling

Recent research indicates that the move to learning at home for the majority of pupils led to mixed results for pupils, parents and teachers. Some parents and carers became anxious about adopting a greatly enhanced role in supporting the formal education of their children in the home. The formal education of children is normally assumed, almost exclusively, by highly qualified professional teachers in a school setting. There were not always sufficient resources at home to support formal home learning.

The effects of digital poverty, or digital exclusion, became apparent as awareness grew that some families did not have adequate equipment or even access to the internet to support their children in online learning. Not all members of the teaching profession had the skill set for the sudden move to online teaching and learning and, like many other professionals, had to upskill. Further, all teachers had to spend a substantial amount of time preparing and implementing online learning. There was serious disruption to the exam diet for senior pupils and a highly publicised reconfiguration of assessment practices leading to a controversial recalculation of grades for the major public examinations.

All of this unfolded in the context of serious concerns about rising levels of child poverty pre-COVID-19 and further increases as a result of job losses during lockdown. This situation contributed to a rise in food insecurity for many families and more families now seek free school meals for their children and access food from foodbanks. The effects of the rising levels of child poverty will have consequences for the physical and mental health and well-being of the children and young people.


The New Normal

There are other ways to view the outcomes of the lockdowns. As we came out of lockdown and schools resumed, ‘The New Normal’ was a phrase that came into current use. An important aspect of ‘new normal’ is the new knowledge, which will inform any altered concept of normality. New knowledge can emerge through any number of activities, but typically, it is the result of sustained engagement with others, materials and contexts during which we come to assimilate the nuanced experiences and perspectives of others in a new way.


Positive Effects of the Lockdown for Learners

Children and young people will have had a range of experiences of lockdown. As a result, they will have developed new knowledge about themselves as learners. There are likely to be pupils who will have experienced ‘schoolwork’ differently in a positive way; who have engaged with their learning at their own pace and on their own terms. Some will have enjoyed working alone, whilst others might have benefited from engagement with siblings and parents.

Anecdotally, we have probably all heard of examples of children and young people learning new things and developing skills and interests not directly connected to schoolwork. They have already blended their own ways of organising and engaging with their learning, their own interests and other people with whom they have interacted during this period.

The likelihood is that all young people will have learned new things and have a stronger sense of themselves as people and learners. It is important that this new knowledge is sought out, recognised and built on as our children, young people and schools return. We are in a unique situation and should take the opportunity to engage children’s and young people’s new skills, newly-realised abilities and personal interests. We should blend these insights into practice and pedagogy in schools as we simultaneously explore new ways to allow them to demonstrate their learning.


Positive Effects of the Lockdown for Teachers

Teachers will have learned new things about themselves, their colleagues and the children and young people with whom they work and the relationships among them. Teachers know that young people’s emotional experience of learning is as important as their cognitive experience. The current situation presents a unique stimulus for teachers to make sense of the relationships they have with each of their pupils.

Teachers already see their pupils as learners and not simply people who have to be taught. They will already be aware of pupils’ skills abilities and interests, and the new experiences which young people bring to school could be used to enhance and enrich the learning of all young people. Teachers’ interactions with pupils during lockdown will have enriched their own sense of themselves as teachers and their place in the lives of their charges. This new knowledge will help reinforce any new sense that pupils have of themselves as learners and teachers have of themselves as teachers.

EERA also has a role to play, and the recent online events had a significant role in reconnecting our research communities. The events provided new spaces in which education was explored, theorised and researched from the perspectives of all member associations and networks. EERA also has a role in generating the new knowledge that will increasingly and relentlessly nudge forward our understanding of education.


Professor Stephen J. McKinney

Professor Stephen J. McKinney

Professor, School of Education, University of Glasgow

Stephen J. McKinney is a Professor in the School of Education, University of Glasgow. He leads the research and teaching group, Pedagogy, Praxis and Faith. He is the past President of the Scottish Educational Research Association. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Beliefs and Values, Improving Schools, the Scottish Educational Review. He is a visiting professor in Catholic Education at Newman University, an Associate of the Irish Institute for Catholic Studies and on the steering group for the Network for Researchers in Catholic Education. He is a member of the European Educational Research Association Council. He is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the London School of Management Education. His research interests include Catholic schools and faith schools, the impact of poverty on education and education and social justice and he has published widely on all of these topics.

Dr George Head

Dr George Head

Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Education, University of Glasgow

George Head is Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Education, University of Glasgow, Scotland. George is a past-president of the Scottish Educational Research Association (SERA) and has represented the association on the European Educational Research Association (EERA) Council and served as Senior Mentor to the EERA Emerging Researchers Group. He is a visiting professor at Newman University, Birmingham. His areas of academic interest include Inclusive Education and the learning and teaching of young people whose behaviour schools find difficult. George was a member of the Local Organising Committee for ECER 2020 which was scheduled to take place in Glasgow

Education: An academic discipline or a field?

Education: An academic discipline or a field?

What is the problem?

Education research has periodically been sharply criticised for being weak in comparison with research from other disciplines. Some of this criticism has implied, or suggested more directly, that one of the reasons for the perceived weakness in education research is that education is not a ‘proper’ academic discipline when compared to other disciplines. Some go as far as to define education as a ‘field’ or an ‘applied subject’ (see Furlong, 2013 for an examination of education as a field versus a discipline; see Wyse, Selwyn, Smith and Suter, 2017, for an overview of the range of criticisms from researchers, practitioners and policymakers, that education research has been subject to).


Why does this matter?

Correctly categorising education matters because an area of knowledge described as a field is often seen as substandard compared to an area described as a discipline. For example, more than 20 years ago Deem (1996, p.7) noted the effects of discrimination in her university sociology department that she attributed in part to the distinctions that were made between ‘theoretical sociology (regarded as high status … and a masculine preserve’), ‘empirical sociology’, and ‘applied sociology which was generally regarded as being of somewhat lower status, although essential for would-be social workers, and female-dominated’. The debates in sociology about knowledge organisation can be seen mirrored in some debates in university education departments in the 21st century: for instance inequitable salaries; the place of teacher education/training in relation to academics being ‘research active’; lecturer identity and promotion at work; and theories of education as an area of knowledge (for a European perspective on categorising education see Whitty & Furlong, 2017).


The depiction and definition of education as a discipline versus a field also matters because people value accuracy and correctness in relation to any area of knowledge. Six criteria for judging whether an area of knowledge might be called a discipline were presented in a working paper from the UK’s ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (Krishnan, 2009). The most important of these was that ‘disciplines must have some institutional manifestation in the form of subjects taught at universities or colleges, respective academic departments and professional associations connected to it.’ Education not only clearly meets this criterion but also, in my view, the other five of Krishan’s criteria: education has, 1. A particular object, or focus, for its research; 2. A body of accumulated specialist knowledge specific to the discipline; 3. Theories that organise the specialist knowledge; 4. Specific terminologies; 5. Specific research methods. I am not suggesting that there is universal agreement on the manifestation of these criteria in education, but that sufficient evidence exists to depict education as an academic discipline.


What should be done?

We are approaching the final dates for all university submissions, for all academic disciplines, to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF). The most important outcome of the REF judgement of research quality in the UK will be the dividing of a substantial stream of UK government research funding, by university and by discipline, for what is likely to be at least five years. In other words, there will be institutional and discipline ‘winners and losers’. This allocation will have implications for all disciplines, for example, their capacity to maintain research capacity including people’s research careers. But another important outcome is the REF’s data, analyses and reporting on research outputs and research environment that can be seen as a measure of the state of academic disciplines, beginning in the REF panel reports with how each discipline is defined and described.

On the basis of the kind of work cited in this blog (and previous work cited in Wyse, 2020, and cited in Wyse, Brown, Oliver, & Pobleté, 2020) it is in my view essential that any REF description of education,[1] and any institutional submission for a department of education, clearly portrays education as an academic discipline rather than a field. While there are strategic benefits that arise from the description of some education work as social science, defining education as a field is likely to have a negative impact which risks damage to the future progress of education as an academic discipline in universities, and possibly as a force for good in wider society. Surely a risk not worth taking.

This blog draws on the articles ‘Education research and educational practice: The qualities of a close relationshipby Dominic Wyse, Chris Brown, Sandy Oliver and Ximena Pobleté, and ‘Presidential address: The academic discipline of education: Reciprocal relationships between practical knowledge and academic knowledge’ by Dominic Wyse.

Both are published in the British Educational Research Journal, and have been made free-to-view, for a limited period, for those without a subscription, courtesy of the publisher, Wiley.

A video of the latter presidential address, at the BERA Annual Conference 2019, is available here

Professor Dominic Wyse

Professor Dominic Wyse

Professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education at the University College London (UCL) Institute of Education (IOE)

Dominic is current President of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) from 2019 to 2021. He is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS), and of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Prior to his role at the IOE as Head of Academic Department Learning and Leadership Dominic was Faculty Director of Research, Consultancy and Knowledge Transfer, in the Faculty of Children and Learning. Dominic has significant experience in music that began with his undergraduate studies at The Royal Academy of Music.

Before joining the IOE Dominic was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. He was also appointed as the first Director of Music-Making at Churchill College Cambridge, where he was a Fellow and Director of Studies for Education. In the past Dominic was a Reader at Liverpool John Moores University, and a teacher with experience working in London, Bradford and Huddersfield in infant and junior phases.


Deem, R. (2006). Border territories: A journey through sociology, education and women’s studies. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 17, 5–19.

Furlong, J. (2013). Education – An anatomy of the discipline: Rescuing the university project? London: Routledge.

Krishnan, A. (2009). What are academic disciplines? Some observations on the disciplinarity vs. interdisciplinarity debate. NCRM Working Paper Series.

Whitty, G., & Furlong, J. (2017). Knowledge traditions in the study of education. In G. Whitty & J. Furlong (Eds.), Knowledge and the study of education: An international exploration (pp. 13–57).

Wyse, D. (2020). Presidential address: The academic discipline of education. Reciprocal relationships between practical knowledge and academic knowledge. British Educational Research Journal, 46(1), 6–25.

Wyse, D., Brown, C., Oliver, S., & Pobleté, X. (2020). Education research and educational practice: The qualities of a close relationship. British Educational Research Journal.

Wyse, D., Smith, E., Selwyn, N. & Suter, L. (2017). Editor’s Introduction. In D. Wyse, E. Smith, N. Selwyn & L. Suter (Eds.) The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research. London: Sage.

[1] Or equivalent process in countries outside the UK.


The Experiences of Irish Teachers in England

The Experiences of Irish Teachers in England

Emigration has become common for many Irish teachers due to the often precarious and casual nature of employment many recently qualified teachers face in Ireland. England, the nearby neighbour, has proved to be a popular destination for many. England has faced a severe teacher recruitment and retention crisis for many years and recruiting teachers from countries such as Ireland, often facilitated by recruitment agencies, has become a common practice.

Current Research into Irish Teachers in England

Ireland is now one of the top providers of teachers to England but, despite the volume of Irish teachers passing through the English education system, very little is known about their experiences in and perceptions of English schools. We often hear unpleasant anecdotes in Ireland or read complaints on social media channels and online platforms about teachers’ working conditions in England. Still, in terms of scholarly literature on Irish teachers’ experiences in and perceptions of English schools, it has until recently been confined to one published report.

My qualitative research adds to this report and offers a voice to an under-researched but common group of teachers in England. It may be of use to practising and pre-service teachers in Ireland considering moving to England, school leaders in England during the teacher recruitment process, and researchers and policymakers in both countries and beyond. The full research paper, where for the first time Irish teachers’ experiences and perceptions of autonomy and accountability in England are documented, is available here.

Teaching in England

To set some context, what it means to be a teacher in Ireland is very different from what it means to be a teacher in England. Internal and external policies, discourses, pressures, and inspections, to name a few, mean that the nature of teachers’ work differs significantly between the two countries.

England’s education system is widely regarded as one of the most high-stakes systems in the world in terms of accountability. It has been described by others as being ‘notoriously driven by accountability measures’, as having ‘one of the strongest accountability systems in the English speaking world’, and being the ‘mother ship of high-stakes, performativity-focussed types of evaluation’.

The reality for many teachers is that they work in low-trust environments characterised by heightened and oppressive top-down control and micromanagement, frequent and stressful inspections and audits, and intensive and unsustainable requirements and demands. In contrast, however, accountability is less of a feature of Irish schools, and the working conditions are more benign.

It is well documented in the literature that a teacher’s identity (i.e. his/her professional beliefs, values, and principles, and the professional self-image he/she holds) is closely linked with his/her past experiences of education. In my research I proposed that the cultural change for Irish teachers who move to England would be challenging for them and their professional identities given their previous experiences of school in Ireland. Here are some of the challenges that Irish teachers report facing in England:

Challenges for Irish Teachers in England

Profuse accountability

The Irish teachers I interviewed were overwhelmingly negative about their experiences in English schools. They contended that they did not exercise much autonomy, but endured too much accountability, including for aspects that they felt were beyond their control, such as the behaviour of students and the grades they obtained. A common way of holding teachers accountable was through what interviewees referred to as ‘learning walks’ where senior staff members enter their classrooms unannounced to observe their practice and to engage in dialogue with students. A second method was through inspections of their ‘marking’ or corrections of students’ written work.


Negative views

The participants reported working very long hours that went beyond early starts and late finishes and extended into weekends and school holidays. The feeling was that teachers’ work in England is dominated by administrative tasks that distract teachers from their teaching duties. The accountability and accountability-driven workload provoked various negative emotions and, notably, it was felt that school leaders in England were overly critical and unsupportive, which gives rise to fear and anxiety among teachers in English schools. As negative as the Irish teachers were towards the internal accountability regimes they faced, they were more critical of the external inspectorate which they recognised as being the source of their problems due to the pressure placed on schools in England. Irish teachers appear to have very strong views on the motivations of English schools, and they considered these schools to be more concerned with the needs of the organisation than the needs of the students.


Identity clash

Significantly, all participants experienced some form of identity clash or crisis.  The typical perception that English schools prioritise looking good over doing good, the discourses of what it means to be a ‘good’ teacher in England, and the feeling of being constantly watched produced many struggles. Some spoke of complying, but the adoption of coping strategies whereby teachers strategically give the impression of conformity was common. Worryingly, this means that students do not receive ample attention – to reduce their workload participants spoke of feigning peer-assessments, assigning oral tasks, and providing feedback on work they had not read. A quote from one participant, a female teacher who had recently left the teaching profession but remained living in England, always stands out for me and exemplifies how many teachers lose sight of their students’ needs due to their fight for survival. This participant acknowledged the students as not being ‘the main concern anymore’, and while resenting what she had become, she justified her behaviour through her vulnerable position in an accountability-driven system:


What I went into teaching for was to be with the kids. I wanted to help them, and at the end, I know this sounds horrendous but the kids actually became an inconvenience – they were getting in the way of everything else I needed to do… At the end of the day, I was being judged as well. So I was marking the kids’ work but my work was being marked by senior leadership so I was still a student.


Indicative of how Irish teachers experience and perceive professional autonomy and accountability in England is how, despite having a clear desire to eventually return to Ireland to teach, the participants would not be willing to work as teachers in Ireland under similar conditions. While there is a need for further research in this area, for now, it appears that Irish teachers have overwhelmingly negative experiences in, and perceptions of, life inside English schools. This is not to say that teachers from England do not struggle in these high-stakes and low-trust accountability-driven environments too – many do. Still, with their previous experiences in Irish schools, teachers from Ireland are perhaps more likely to find these conditions challenging and problematic.

Craig Skerritt

Craig Skerritt

Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

Previously educated at University College Cork and University College London, Craig Skerritt is a researcher at the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection in Dublin City University.

Craig is also the Dublin City University School of Policy and Practice Scholar, the Policy and International Programmes Manager at the Royal Irish Academy, and a member of both the British Educational Research Association and the Educational Studies Association of Ireland.

Craig’s research interests include education policy, teacher identity, student voice, and class-based inequalities in education, and he has published articles in journals such as Policy Futures in Education, Research Papers in Education, Irish Educational Studies, Improving Schools, Journal of Educational Administration and History, British Journal of Sociology of Education, International Journal of Leadership in Education, and European Educational Research Journal.

Twitter: @CraigSkerritt

References / Further Reading

Brady, J., & Wilson, E. (2020). Teacher wellbeing in England: teacher responses to school-level initiatives. Cambridge Journal of Education.

Page, D. (2017). Conceptualising the surveillance of teachers. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38(7), 991-1006.

Perryman, J., & Calvert, G. (2020). What motivates people to teach, and why do they leave? Accountability, performativity and teacher retention. British Journal of Educational Studies, 68(1), 3-23.

Ryan, L., & Kurdi, E. (2014). Young, highly qualified migrants: The experiences and expectations of recently arrived Irish teachers in Britain. London: Social Policy Research Centre, Middlesex University.

Skerritt, C. (2019). Discourse and teacher identity in business-like education. Policy Futures in Education, 17(2), 153-171.

Skerritt, C. (2019). Irish migrant teachers’ experiences and perceptions of autonomy and accountability in the English education system. Research Papers in Education, 34(5), 569-596.

Skerritt, C. (2019). ‘I think Irish schools need to keep doing what they’re doing’: Irish teachers’ views on school autonomy after working in English academies. Improving Schools, 22(3), 267-287.

Skinner, B., Leavey, G., & Rothi, D. (2018). Managerialism and teacher professional identity: Impact on well-being among teachers in the UK. Educational Review.


5 Tips to Help You Plan an Online Conference

5 Tips to Help You Plan an Online Conference

In September 2020, the Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) held its 44th annual conference. Unique on this occasion is the fact that this was the association’s first time to host this event online, necessitated of course by the current COVID-19 situation at both national and international levels. The conference ran across three days and consisted of over 120 live papers structured into nine rounds of 43 parallel sessions, with over 235 registered delegates. We asked Dr Enda Donlon of the organising committee to share his reflections on some of the decisions taken around the planning and organisation of this event. 


The technical considerations around what systems and platforms to use are key in the hosting of any online event. In our case, we opted to use the Zoom web-conferencing service for our virtual conference. We took this decision on the assumption that it would likely be a system with higher levels of familiarity among our delegates, either through professional use within their educational institutions or through personal use for conversing with family and friends during lockdown times.

Zoom offers two main options for online events such as ours: Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars. While the Webinar format has proven popular for a number of online conference events, we opted for the Zoom Meeting option for several reasons. Most prominently, our desire to make our conference as social and interactive as possible for all attendees.

The user hierarchy for Zoom Meetings (host, co-host, participant) is ‘flatter’ than that used for Zoom Webinar (host, co-host, panellist, attendee). Zoom Meetings allows all delegates to turn on/off their camera and microphone as they wish and to engage in a group chat with all present. In addition, Zoom Meetings is the ‘personal’ version of Zoom, so we assumed this would be the version that most attendees would know best.


One of our highest priorities during the run-up to this event was that all delegates felt supported and prepared to participate in this first-of-its-kind event for our association and for members. We designed a number of user guides (one for delegates, one for presenters, and one for session chairs) and included links to several ‘how to’ videos and tutorials. These guides were shared with delegates in the weeks running up to the event to give them plenty of time to review them.

We also offered a short ‘Zoom consultation’ to presenters. They could book a timeslot within an allocated timeframe to join a short Zoom meeting (hosted by a member of our conference committee) to test their connection, check their camera and microphone, and share their screen to display slides. This gave them the confidence that they were ready to participate in our online event.

The final decision was around how we would offer technical support to delegates during the conference itself. Our logic was that if delegates were experiencing problems with our main system (Zoom), then the last thing they would want is to have to engage with another system for technical support. We opted for a simple email address that delegates used to contact us with any problems they were experiencing. A small team from the conference committee continuously monitored this email address and responded to all enquiries immediately. The simplicity of this approach worked well during the conference days and we were able to resolve all technical difficulties very quickly.


Moving any face-to-face gathering to an online format brings with it a whole new level of consideration around issues of security. Our chosen platform for this event had its fair share of negative publicity around this since the beginning of the pandemic, with issues of ‘Zoombombing‘ having occurred for other online conference events. Conscious of the need to balance these critical security concerns with ease of movement into and within our conference online locations for all registered delegates, we put in place a number of simple but effective precautions.

First, a special version of the conference timetable (called the Delegate Timetable) was emailed directly to all delegates the day before the conference began and was not made available publicly. This Delegate Timetable contained all of the relevant links to the conference sessions. In contrast, the public version of the timetable that was available on the conference website for several weeks before the event did not.

Second, we applied a single conference password to all Zoom meetings in use for the event, and included this in the email sent to delegates the day before the conference began (again, not publicly available). Finally, we asked for delegates cooperation in not sharing the Zoom links or password any further to maintain the security and integrity of our online event. It is encouraging to note that we did not have any uninvited guests or intrusive incidents during our online conference event.


Across the three conference days, our event made use of almost 50 individual Zoom meetings. It was crucial that delegates were able to navigate the virtual venue with ease and could locate the various ‘Zoom rooms’ quickly. We solved this issue with the use of a structured timetable which showed the key details at a glance: session title and chair, the constituent papers and their authors, and the relevant Zoom link (see sample above). This timetable allowed delegates to easily move between sessions if they wished to do so and to quickly find the ‘room’ they wanted to go to next.


My final observation is one that philosophically underpinned the whole organisation of the event: keep it as simple as possible.

The majority of delegates really want to participate in these new online formats for conference events, so make it as easy as possible for them to do so in terms of registration, navigation, participation, and support. At the time of writing it is evident that the global COVID-19 pandemic will necessitate the online hosting of many conference events in the immediate future, with several high-profile and large conferences for 2021 already having committed to this format. I hope that these brief reflections from our event might prove helpful in informing discussions and decisions for those who may be organising their own virtual conference for the first time.

Dr Enda Donlon

Dr Enda Donlon

School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University

Dr Enda Donlon is a lecturer in the school of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. He is a former president (2018-2020) and vice-president (2016-2018) of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI), and has served on the national executive of the Computers in Education Society of Ireland (CESI) from 2008-2019. Enda is the APF (Area of Professional Focus) leader for Digital Learning on the Doctor of Education Programme at DCU. He tweets at @donenda.

The History of the Spanish Pedagogical Society

The History of the Spanish Pedagogical Society

The Spanish Pedagogical Society (SEP) was originally created in 1906 with the aim to encourage the study of educational issues. The initiative was founded to establish the practice of education on a solid foundation and endow it with scientific consideration. This same aim originated the creation of the Chair of Higher Education in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Madrid two years earlier. The appointment was given to Manuel Bartolomé Cossío, an influential member of the Institute of Free Teaching (ILE) one of the main Spanish pedagogical experiments at the turn of the century, bestowing the efforts of the Institution’s members with the introduction of the study of education in the University.

The European Movement

 The creation of the Spanish Pedagogical Society in 1906 was aligned with what was taking place in other parts of Europe. For example, in 1889 the Société Pédagogique Romande (SPR) was created in Switzerland through the adaptation of the Société des Instituteurs Romands (SIR) which initiated in 1864, and later merged into the Syndicat des Enseignants Romands (SER) in 1998. In the early stages, in many countries, the scientific objectives overlapped with the corporate interests of teachers. In Spain, this led to the signing of an agreement with the National Association of Teachers. The aim was to join forces for the collective benefit of the professionals through the creation of a Pedagogical Federation.

Following the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Víctor García Hoz, a professor from the University of Madrid and an influential member of Opus Dei, re-established the Society in 1949, shifting its focus towards a more scientific approach and as a support to the higher-education dimension of the educational studies. In that same year, the publication of the Society’s journal began: Bordon, Journal of Education. The journal was originally a monthly publication until 1973. It is now published quarterly. Currently, Bordon is present in the major indexes of scientific research.


The Conference on Pedagogy

Since its inception, another of the Society’s main initiatives was the organization of the Conference on Pedagogy, which has taken place every four years since 1955. The conferences are designed as a platform to present research results and share and discuss innovative ideas, often providing information and general approaches for potential reforms in the education system.


Current Priorities of the SEP

 During the last four decades, the Society has completely renewed its structures to adapt to the evolving situation of the country and the current challenges of educational research. The SEP is currently working on two priority areas: transdisciplinary dialogue and internationalization.

 Throughout the dictatorship (1939-1975), the SEP was the only official association of educational research that existed in Spain with a very close position to power. From the 1980s onwards, new societies emerged and were organized around specific fields of knowledge, including the Spanish Society of Comparative Pedagogy (1978), Interuniversity Seminar of Educational Theory (1982), Interuniversity Association of Research in Pedagogy, with a focus on experimental research (1987), and the Spanish Society of History of Education (1989).

 The surge of new groups continued to grow in the following decades. On the positive side, this proliferation of research environments added plurality and depth to the study of education. However, it also had the effect of failing to consider education as a unitary phenomenon and, in the long run, led to a lack of communication between specialists in different fields.


The Transdisciplinary Network of Educational Research (RETINDE)

 For this reason, several of these associations, together with the Spanish Pedagogical Society, began a project in 2009 to establish an organization in the form of a network that would promote exchange between various research environments. The result was the creation of the Transdisciplinary Network of Educational Research (RETINDE) in 2014, which is made up of 15 Spanish organizations that cover different areas of research. Since 2016, the Conference on Pedagogy has been organized jointly by the Society and RETINDE.


The Creation of EERA and WERA

Along with promoting transdisciplinary dialogue, educational research organizations face another major challenge which is internationalization. The Spanish Pedagogical Society was among the organizations that, in 1994, created the European Educational Research Association (EERA), to foster collaboration amongst educational researchers in Europe with the objective to improve research quality. In 2009, the Society also participated in the creation of the World Education Research Association (WERA) to advance education research policies and to promote the use and application of educational research around the world.

 To strengthen the tradition of scientific collaboration in the field of education between Spain and Ibero-America, in early 2000, the Spanish Conference on Pedagogy became an Ibero-American initiative that brought together both parts of the world. Since 2010, the conference has been held alternately in a Spanish city and an Ibero-American city to deepen collaboration between the two continents.  The last two conferences were held in Madrid in June 2016 and Buenos Aires in August 2018, with more than 1500 attendees in each event. The next Conference on Pedagogy will take place in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela in July 2021, together with the World Educational Research Association 2020+1 Focal Meeting. The theme to discuss will be “Networking Education: Diverse Realities, Common Horizons”.

We would like to extend an invitation to our next Conference on Pedagogy and look forward to seeing you in Santiago de Compostela in July 2021 to work and collaborate collectively.

Professor Gonzalo Jover

Professor Gonzalo Jover

Head of Department of Educational Theory and History of Education, Complutense University, Madrid

Gonzalo Jover is Full Professor of Education at the Complutense University in Madrid, where he was Head of the Department of Educational Theory and History of Education from 2006 to 2009, Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor of Postgraduate Programs and Continuing Education from 2010 to 2012, and Associate Dean for Research at the Faculty of Education from 2014 to 2018. He also served as Adviser for the Ministry of Education during the 9th Parliamentary Term. At present, he holds the position of Dean at the Faculty of Education of the Complutense University.

He has been Visiting Scholar at Boston University, Teachers College of Columbia University, and Queen’s University (Ontario, Canada), as well as Visiting Professor at several European and Latinamerican universities under the Erasmus mobility program and the UCM international mobility program. President of the Spanish Pedagogical Association (SEP) and Member of the Councils of the European Educational Research Association (EERA) and the World Educational Research Association (WERA). Associate Editor of the Revista Española de Pedagogía and Founding honorary co-editor of  Encounters in Theory and History of Education / Rencontres en Théorie et Histoire de l’Éducation (Canada)

His major research areas are educational theory and history, politics of education and professional ethics. He has authored or co-authored a number of books, and many articles in national and international journals of education.