Westminster Symposium – Free to attend

Promoting Educational Equality: from the bottom to the top

Venue: Westminster Portcullis House, Attlee Suite

Date: 27th February 2018

Time: 14.00 to 16.00

  • Dr Carol Fuller, University of Reading
  • Fiona Craig, Managing Director Ufton Court Educational Trust
  • Conor Ryan, Director of Research and Communications at the Sutton Trust
  • Dr Matthew Easterbrook, University of Sussex
  • Gareth Morris, Executive Head at Claycots, Slough – the largest primary in the UK

Attendance is free but places are limited

Reserve a place: c.l.fuller@reading.ac.uk

This symposium aims to consider the role and purpose of education in promoting equality and to discuss the longer term social impacts of the current UK system that prioritizes academic performance. The key focus will be to consider how best to promote much greater equality via a bottom up approach to education as well as how a more holistic approach to learning, via activities such as resilience building, could not only improve educational outcomes, but also support mental well-being and the character traits need to succeed in education, adulthood and society more generally.

Martial Arts and Well-Being

Martial Arts Research Study

Dr Carol Fuller at the University of Reading and Dr Viki Lloyd of Sei Shin Kan School of Karate and Reading Taijiquan Academy are conducting research on perceptions of the personal value and health and well-being benefits of martial arts as well as other, broader benefits emerging from the social.  The research and data analysis is on-going but the following gives a taster of who has taken part and just a few of the findings. A more detailed report will be made available at the end of the research.


Who took part?

  • 515 people, across the full age spectrum took part, with those aged 36 up to 85 years being the largest age range (85%)
  • 62% are male and 38% female
  • All geographical areas of the UK are included, as well as 21% of people from across the world
  • All forms of martial arts are included, with Tai Chi, Karate and Qi Gong the most frequent
  • Experience of martial arts ranged from less than 1 year (7%) right up to 20+ years (33%)
  • 54% were not martial arts teachers; 14% taught a little whilst 32% were martial arts teachers

Has Martial Arts contributed to health improvements?

MA has contributed to improvements in… More Improvement
Concentration 70%
Sleeping 29%
Stress levels 69%
General health 77%
Posture 86%
General well being 83%
Balance 89%
Flexibility 86%
Rest and relaxation 60%
Levels of exercise 82%


Of course, a belief that there has been an improvement to health and well-being as the result of martial arts within the context of this research is about the perception of individuals’ as opposed to a measurable reality. We are therefore keen to make clear that we are not suggesting that this research is ‘proof’ of a direct causal relationship between martial arts and improved health. However, we are saying that a significant number of people who took part did believe this to be the case and beliefs are very powerful in motivation and behaviour. Indeed, when asked directly, 83% of those who responded said they were ‘very confident’ that the benefits they have noted in their health and well-being were the results of martial arts, with a further 13% a ‘little confident’


In participating in martial arts, which three factors are the most important?

1.      Skill of teacher
2.      Experience of teacher
3.      Getting to class


Which are the top three factors that impact on your ability to develop your martial art?

  1. Time to practice
  1. Getting to classes
  1. Finding the right teacher


What are the top three factors important in a martial arts teacher?

  1. Level of skill
  1. Teaching style
  1. Approachability


Nest Steps?

The data collected is truly fascinating and we are currently coding the very many comments we received within the survey. Needless to say, an analysis of the data that allows us to explore in much more depth, differences across a number of factors such as age, experience etc.  will be both necessary and very important. Our next steps are to undertake some first stage data analysis and then around 40 interviews with people who took part in the survey. We hope to start these from the Spring 2016 onwards. We will share a much more detailed and fuller report sometime next year, when this will all be complete


Both Carol and Viki are very grateful to the very many people who took part in this research and who shared links to the survey, which helped us achieve a much bigger response than we had anticipated – so thank you! If you would like further information regarding either the research or the data, do please feel free to contact either Dr Carol Fuller c.l.fuller@reading.ac.uk or Dr Viki Lloyd viki.lloyd@gmail.com

 Martial Arts Research Study – First Report

Residential outdoor experiences – research shows it makes a difference to GCSE exam grades


A research explored the role of outdoor residential experiences on the educational attainment and confidence of a group of under achieving students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. To track the impact that residential visits had on educational attainment and changes in levels of confidence, the research design was a mixed methods, intervention, case study.  The project focused on two groups of students and followed these from age 14 to 16 years. The research comprised a group of 12 students as well as a control group of 12 students and were tracked  over a period of three years: the research group, who took part in twice yearly, three day residential visits and a comparison group that did not.

Headline findings – the school students attended was on Special Measures and was situated in a context of high social disadvantage. Overall GCSE results for the whole school was only 22% A* – C. Excitingly, the results for GCSE educational gains in terms of overall attainment (attainment 8) as well as attainment in GCSE English and Maths for the students in the research show that the attainment results were much better for the research group and that the difference in attainment between the two groups was statistically significant.

So outdoor residential experiences make a difference! Why then are these considered enhancement experiences and not something essential – with government interventions consistently failing to reduce the attainment gaps between the rich and the poor, now is the time to consider what education really is all about!

Ufton and University of Reading Executive Summary