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Nov 28, 2011

The challenges of driving up quality in education

The challenges of driving up quality in education

Our education staff teach around 30,000 students annually, typically running three parallel sessions in three classrooms. Schools booking a taught session pay an additional fee.


We are keen to offer value for money and to make our ‘Discovery’ sessions exciting and memorable. We also want to ensure that quality of experience is consistent regardless of which classroom and which staff member a school is allocated. We felt that quality could improve if we increased opportunities for interactive learning and relied less on traditional presentations interspersed with questions and answers.

Education staff enthusiastically set about re-designing the sessions, to meet this objective and we devised a pre and post research framework to measure any resultant changes in the composition of the sessions. This also gave us the opportunity to benchmark the consistency of delivery across the three classrooms.

The researcher was an impartial observer and to ensure consistency we used the same researcher throughout. The research showed that despite all their efforts and feeling confident that student inter-activity had increased, there was little difference in the balance of components of the sessions.

The results of the research were undisputed though teaching staff were surprised and disappointed. It may be that staff who have ownership of teaching content and are also responsible for delivery can be too close to remain objective. This is where impartial research has a vital role to play. The objective of making sessions more interactive remains and education staff more determined than even to achieve this.

Chester Zoo

COMMENDATION  received in BIAZA Awards 2011 for Best education project:  schools and educational institutions

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