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CATS Cambridge to host collaborative research conference on behalf of CamSTAR

15 March 2021

As part of CATS Colleges pursuit of future-thinking academic excellence, we understand how vital it is to collaborate with teachers and academics from across the education world. As a culmination of research CATS Cambridge has undertaken with CamSTAR (Cambridge,School Teachers And Research) since 2015, the school will be hosting an online conference on behalf of the network on Thursday 18th March 2021.

This conference will give CATS staff members the opportunity to present their collaborative CamSTAR research projects to an audience of educators from schools and institutions across the UK and is designed to further share ideas, strategies and teaching best practices.  

CamSTAR and CATS Cambridge

The CamSTAR philosophy is that teacher knowledge is at the heart of effective teaching and learning, and the professional right of teachers to engage with, generate and disseminate such knowledge is paramount for teachers’ continuing professional development. These ideals very much chime with the CATS Colleges philosophy of combining exceptionally high-quality teaching with a deep understanding of our students and their personal needs. 

At the conference, seven of the CATS Cambridge team will present their current CamSTAR research projects, giving their peers from across the education world the opportunity to learn of their findings and create more collaborative opportunities. In addition to this, CamSTAR founders, Dr Sue Brindley, senior lecturer at Cambridge University and Dr Mike Walker, CEO of Cambridge Learning and Teaching Limited, will give a keynote speech on the benefits of CamSTAR research.

Presenting Collaborative Research

The research undertaken by CATS Cambridge Staff is diverse and compelling with the projects having a holistic focus on educational advancement and student-centred learning.

Some of the highlights from the conference include:

Hayley Pienaar (Teacher of English, Business and Economics) and Ruby Van Veldhoven (Teacher of Art and Photography) will present their project Delving Deeper: Making links – Learning from the Visual Arts and Poetry, which highlights different approaches to collaborative practices into ‘link making’ and explores the possibilities created through the Art of Poetry.

Rebecca Baker-Milne (Assistant Principal, Pastoral Care and Professional Development) will host a workshop on Creating a Sense of Belonging for Students and Staff, which focuses on the methodology that will be used to monitor the ‘sense of belonging’ held by staff and students and draws upon CATS Cambridge’s experience of moving away from year groups to Houses.

Martin Blake (Programme Director (Upper Sixth) and Teacher of Science) has examined Intervening to Individualise – Making the Most of Tracking Information to Support Progress and will lead a workshop on how best to use data to enable effective interventions and dialogues to help keep students on track to realise their potential.

Generating Real Learning in a Virtual Environment, is the title of Elena McKain (Teacher of Russian) and Sandra Vojnovic’s (Teacher of Business) session exploring the pedagogical and andragogical approach to learning and teaching, and how teachers can make use of different online tools and methods to increase students’ engagement.

CATS Cambridge Principal Dominic Tomalin will examine how CATS Cambridge’s approach to teacher professional development has evolved over the last four years in his brilliantly titled session, A Beginner’s Guide to Herding Elephants.

The conference will culminate in a live question and answer session, Turning Research into Practice: Challenges and Potential Remedies, where attendees can further discuss the days themes and findings.

CamSTAR is a Network of School Teachers and Research associated with the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. CATS Cambridge has been a member of CamSTAR since July 2015. This partnership has proved to be a valuable forum for researching ideas and strategies and sharing best practice with our peers from schools and institutions across the UK.

If you are interested in finding out more about CATS Colleges involvement with CamSTAR, please email us at

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