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Q&A with Richard Branch

Dr Richard Branch works as a member of Visiting Staff with the IOE's Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities.

Hi Richard, please tell us a bit about your role.

This is my second year of secondment to the IOE, where I spend one day per week with the Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO). The other four days I work at Lampton School, where I teach all three sciences at KS3/4 and Physics at KS5. I also support Initial Teacher Training at the London West Alliance Teaching School.

What do you most enjoy about your work here at the IOE?

Working with CEPEO affords me the time and space to think carefully about matters that I’m not able to dwell upon while in the busy school environment. And I appreciate being able to draw on the expertise of the researchers in the Centre.

What is the focus of your research and what benefits do you hope your discoveries and/or insights will bring?

I am currently focused on developing instruments that support better approaches to formative assessment in science education. These include item-banks of multiple-choice questions and ‘concept inventory’ tests. 

What other subjects outside of your area of specialism interests you?

More widely, I am interested in instruments that can support ‘deliberate practice’ approaches to curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. These include high-quality textbooks, simulations, and learning resources that are sensitive to theories such as cognitive load theory, dual-coding theory, and variation theory.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I was a crew member on two parabolic flight campaigns with the European Space Agency, where I conducted physics experiments in a zero-gravity environment.