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Home » News » Principles and Practices that support the AP-type role

Principles and Practices that support the AP-type role

Skills for Life Network

What does the concept of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) mean to you? This subject was explored, throughout the 3-Day CPD programme, in relation to how we can be sure that a particular change or intervention is good to do, or not.

EBP originated in healthcare, but in education contexts it has sometimes morphed into the narrower concept of ‘Research Based Practice.  Dr Gary Jones urges us to regain that wider focus in which research alone is not, and should not be, the only arbiter.  

evidence based practice

Research is not unimportant, but neither is the judgement of experienced professionals who understand the values, concerns and needs of their learners and other key stakeholders. There is a need to critically evaluate and sometimes modify the application of research evidence within the diverse contexts that we encounter in vocational education and training. The idea here is that even in clinical practice, a well-researched treatment may not be effective with some patients due to a range of other personal and situational factors. Research is also often slow to catch-up with the present and pressing needs of education professionals and this model also acknowledges the relevance and importance of sharing and using organisational data (both quantitative and qualitative) to inform judgements about what works well and what would benefit from improvement. 

So, in this programme, APs have been encouraged to consider all four dimensions of EBP when selecting alternative approaches and testing them out, in practice.

Facilitating and managing change: is a core aspect of much of the AP’s role. Understanding the psychological and the organisational implications of change is so important because, as we all know, change is inherently unsettling and can create anxiety and disempowerment, at the personal level, and resistance and poor commitment, at the organisational level.


Helping colleagues to negotiate change, with minimal anxiety, is an important aspect of the AP’s pastoral role and requires the empathy implicit  at the heart of effective coaching techniques. See our two coaching guides:

Coaching techniques are varied and diverse, but all include the principles of empathic listening (please see Creating Spaces to Think in Further Education and Training here as well).

APs have experienced and practised the power and the transformative impact of empathic listening at various points in the programme, and we thoroughly recommend the AP Guides which explain how these techniques can be applied to turbo-boost effective practice, from the teacher in a classroom through to leadership and governance.

project people

On day 3 of the CPD and during our collaborative project lead days in December 2018 we explored how to facilitate and manage change from an organisational perspective. This model of change usefully highlights the essential aspects required for successful implementation. It also illustrates the impact of failing to make sufficient provision (illustrated by a ‘?’) for any one of these aspects. Which of these factors are in place or missing in your organisation when leading an initiative?

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