All posts by Tricia Kelly

Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD & Education Minister Norma Foley TD announce successful projects under the Shared Island-SCoTENS research partnership

Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and Minister for Education Norma Foley TD have announced two successful projects awarded funding under the partnership between the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach and the Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS).

A call for research on the theme of “Enhancing educational attainment: sharing experience and learning on a shared island” was issued earlier this year with funding of up to €25,000 per project available. Projects are North-South research partnerships, with contributions from international experts, which will conduct action-based research on tackling educational underachievement.

The first two projects which have been awarded funding are:

  • “BUDDIES” – led by Dr Glenda Walsh, Stranmillis University College, Belfast, in collaboration with Dr Seaneen Sloan, University College Dublin and Clíodhna Martin, Marino Institute of Education, Dublin. Building on discussions of the role of Home-School Community Liaison at the Shared Island Dialogue on education, this study will seek to gain a clearer understanding of the valuable but under-researched work of HSCLs across the island.
  • “SHARED” – led by Dr Melanie Ní Dhuinn and Dr. Julie Uí Choistealbha from Marino Institute of Education, Dublin, in collaboration with Julie Hamilton, from St. Mary’s University College, Belfast. This project explores how teacher educators can prepare and support student teachers to negotiate and engage with the challenges of educational underachievement while on their school placement.

The project teams will publish their reports in October 2022, and their findings will contribute to enhanced understanding and professional and policy development, on a shared island basis, and internationally.

Welcoming the awards, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said, “I am very happy to be announcing the successful projects awarded funding under this partnership between the Shared Island unit in my Department and the Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS).  Tackling educational underachievement is a core priority of mine and this Government.  Through collaborative North/South projects such as this we can learn lessons about how to enhance supports for children at risk of educational underachievement, and improve the outcomes and quality of life for children and young people right across this island.  I would like to wish the researchers well as they begin their work and I look forward to reading their findings next year.”

Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD added, “I would like to congratulate these first awardees under the Shared Island SCoTENS research programme.

“I am confident that these two research projects will add significantly to teacher education practice, and to the scope for deeper cooperation at a policy level on the island. I wish both of the research teams the very best as they start their work, and look forward to seeing the results.”

A second funding call under the Shared Island-SCoTENS research partnership on the theme, “How we teach: acknowledging, understanding and learning with others and from others on a shared island” is open for applications, with research to be undertaken in 2022-2023.  More information is available here.

Co-chairs of SCoTENS, Dr Maria Campbell and Dr Gabrielle Nig Uidhir added, “This partnership on the Shared Island SCoTENS research initiative is a reflection of common aspirations to enhance cooperation, connections and mutual understanding. It has enabled the expansion of SCoTENS’ support for North-South collaborative research, and we are particularly pleased that it builds in opportunities for leading international experts on teacher education to collaborate on the research, for the mutual benefit of all involved.

“The members of our SCoTENS network have such a wealth and breadth of expertise on teacher education, and this research partnership is harnessing that expertise to explore how best to tackle educational underachievement and to share learnings on the important ways in which educators can have a positive impact on enhancing students’ educational attainment.”

“These two important research projects addressing educational underachievement have the potential to inform policy and practice for both pre-service and in-service teacher education on the island and beyond, and we look forward to seeing the results of their work ”.

The two projects for the Shared Island SCoTENS research initiative were funded by the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach. 

All in this together! Teacher Education and Social Justice – Registration Now OPEN!!

Education is meant to be the great leveller, the great equalizer that also enables all learners develop their capacities and excel. From a social justice perspective, there is agreement that full appreciation of differences in linguistic background, class, culture, gender, ability, and race should be taken into account in our education policies and practices. How do we understand and enact social justice so that we can ensure we are ‘all in this together’? This year’s SCoTENS conference offers a timely opportunity to critically consider this major theme and examine questions such as:

  • How can teachers, teacher educators and education leaders be both educators and advocates for social justice?
  • To what extent can and should education be held to account for reducing inequalities?
  • How can education itself, through schooling and teacher education, help redistribute educational and other opportunities?
  • In what ways is education in the form of schooling, teacher education, accountability systems, assessment procedures, curriculum reform etc. complicit in constraining the democratic ideal?

Taking the view that social justice and teacher education is a form of action and a journey, rather than a destination to be arrived at, the SCoTENS organisers invite delegates to pose their own questions and contribute to the dialogue in the company of Professor Stephen Ball who will provoke and challenge us in his keynote address and a Panel of Speakers who will further inspire us through insights into their perspectives and practices.

To register click HERE


SCoTENS Doctoral Workshop 2021 – Virtual

The Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS) invites proposals for participation and working papers at the 6th SCoTENS Doctoral Studies Roundtable (Virtual).  The Virtual Roundtable will provide a mix of short presentations by participants on their work in progress and will also feature participation by SCoTENS colleagues who are leaders in the field of Teacher Education and related research in Ireland and beyond.

The 2021 SCoTENS Doctoral Roundtable will take place online on Thursday 21st October from 7.00pm to 9.30pm.

This roundtable will bring together doctoral researchers working on topics relating to teachers, teaching, and teacher education in its broadest readings on the island of Ireland. We will explore the changing landscape of teacher formation, the emergence of new voices and perspectives, and the evolving debates around teacher professionalism, both as a focus for our research community and a methodology for constructing knowledge. The SCoTENS committee invites doctoral students from affiliated institutions, who are interested in these and related issues to apply for a place at the roundtable to discuss their work with like-minded peers and SCoTENS network colleagues. 

The roundtable will provide a space for doctoral researchers who are university-based and/or from the wider professional arena to meet and discuss their interests and to showcase their work.

Applications are now being accepted. Please complete and return the application form electronically to by 4.00pm Monday 20th September 2021. Invitations to participate will be sent out by early October along with joining instructions and details pertaining to the format of the roundtable.


John Coolahan Award 2021

In recognition of John’s contribution to the foundation of SCoTENS, the John Coolahan award is made to the authors of the Seed Funding Report which is recognised to be most in line with the values and ideals of SCoTENS.  This award is awarded annually at the SCoTENS Annual Conference.

Through his pioneering work on SCoTENS since 2003 John immeasurably enhanced cross-border cooperation in teacher education, such that the SCoTENS mission is synonymous with his name.  Thanks to John’s vision, teacher educators, student teachers, serving teachers and doctoral students have learned to work across boundaries, to build bridges and to recognise common interests and challenges facing contemporary education on both sides of the border. The opportunities provided for cross-border working through SCoTENS have yielded new knowledge and understandings that shape daily practices and attitudes.

This year’s John Coolahan Award presentation took place as part of the Research Webinar held in March 2021.  Prof Linda Clarke, Ulster University, Coleraine awarded the successful seed funded project Readiness and Practice to Teach and Learn in a Digital World (RAP) to Pamela Cowan, Queen’s University Belfast (Lead Partner: North) Martin Brown, Dublin City University (Lead Partner: South) Stephen Roulston, Ulster University and Rachel Farrell, University College Dublin

RAP Report


Leadership Learning in Initial Teacher Education (LLITE)

This report provides results from the establishment of a new collaborative working group of threecoll eagues from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland who sought to conduct a study on leadership learning across three respective systems. The study titled “Leadership Learning in Initial Teacher Education (LLITE)” began on 1st September 2018. Leadership in this study refers to “the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives”
(Yukl, 2013, p.23). An important distinction is made between leadership and learning and learning for leadership (i.e., preparation for an imminent or future leadership role). Leadership learning is concerned with developing the professional knowledge and skills to make sense of the leadership that newly qualified and early career teachers will experience and see enacted in schools. It also aims to enable teachers to develop the leadership knowledge and skills necessary to practise leadership within their classrooms and in the wider school community as part of their collaborative professional
practice .(Hargreaves and O’Connor, 2017; King and Stevenson, 2017).

The study aimed to explore the extent to which leadership learning is embedded within the initial teacher education curricula and featured in national policies of the participating systems (i.e., Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland). The specific objectives are:
● to examine current models and approaches of leadership learning for teachers adopted in
each of the systems;
● to review curricula within initial teacher education programmes with a view to identifying
opportunities to further strengthen leadership learning for (pre-service) teachers;
● to provide a seminar for academic staff, school partners and initial teacher education
students in each of the participating systems to engender further debate and innovative
practice in relation to leadership learning; and
● to prepare a position paper for the policy, practice and academic communities and a planning
and delivery resource for teacher educators.




SCoTENS Research Webinar

As part of our ongoing series of online eventSCoTENS hosted a research focused webinar on 23 March 2021.

The event was aimed at members of SCoTENS and was a thoroughly successful event.  The seed funding research speakers provided a very thoughtful and inspiring input on how Scotens seed funding enabled them to carry out much needed research and detailing the impact the funding had. They all embodied what the committee of SCoTENS aspire to, namely creating a safe space for collaboration, sharing, listening and learning for educators on the island.

The full programme and link to the webinar are included below:


Webinar  LINK









Webinar exploring childhoods in the North and South of Ireland post-partition in the period 1921-1931.



Conceptualisations and constructs of children and childhood are temporally and contextually grounded. This webinar will use an article exploring childhoods North and South post-partition in the period 1921-1931, recently published in the British Educational Research Journal, as a spring-board from which to explore the concept of contested childhoods across borders and boundaries. The seminar will feature inputs from a SCoTENS-funded research collective from Maynooth University and Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

The webinar will be of interest to those from a wide range of disciplines including pedagogy (early childhood and primary), history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc.

Discussion will be facilitated by Prof Nóirín Hayes, Visiting Professor, Trinity College Dublin and Prof Seán Farren, Visiting Professor University of Ulster. If possible, please read the article in advance of the seminar to maximise engagement.

To sign up for this Webinar please click HERE



SCoTENS Funded Project receives ‘Paper of the Year’ Award

We are delighted to announce that a research article arising from a SCoTENs funded project has just received the ‘paper of the year’ award in a leading international physical education journal. This is a high profile and prestigious award and we would like to congratulate the team of Melissa Parker, Déirdre Ní Chróinín, Maura Coulter, Paul McFlynn & Ciaran Walsh.

Finding the image using photos to give voice to teacher educator professional learning