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The LEGO Foundation

Policy Research Specialist Appointment Brief March 2018

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Policy Research Specialist ¡ Appointment Brief


The LEGO Foundation

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Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief


The LEGO Foundation

Welcome

From the Head of LEGO Foundation Centre Dear Candidate, The LEGO Foundation has a unique position in promoting playful experiences to empower children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. We have identified that this requires the ability to deliver systemic and scalable change by transforming the attitudes and behaviors of system-level influencers, and we have a unique brand and assets to make a critical difference to the lives of children. Over the past decade, we have built the most extensive network of international research partners, and a clear articulation of the science behind how effective learning happens through playful experiences throughout childhood. We recognise the positive impact of play on children’s creativity and lifelong learning into a successful adulthood, and we are beginning to demonstrate this impact across a range of international programmes. Now we are looking for a candidate who can design and deliver high quality, innovative policy research and advice to engage with policy-makers, advisory functions and dissemination processes. It will be an integrated function with our Centre for Creativity, Play and Learning to develop research and position papers for our target audiences, and at the same time, work closely with our Play in Education programme to deliver impact on the educational system, policy, curriculum and pedagogical approaches. To support the Play in Education Programme, we are looking to develop new evidence around the role of play in teaching and learning and translate that evidence into actionable approaches for policy makers. This role is a critical part of our focused advocacy agenda, to significantly influence how the world approaches and values playful learning as part of the educational system and within a context when global attention is galvanising for the achievement of SDG 4. It’s a particularly exciting time for several reasons, but in particular because of the world’s attention to the shift from an ‘education’ to a ‘learning’ focus; the need for changing the assessment approaches to focus on ‘quality’ instead of ‘standards’; the importance

of skills like creativity, critical thinking and collaboration as an integrated part of curriculum approaches; and not least, the technological revolution that will change the approach to the workplace and education. There is an urgent need to demonstrate the value of play in improving the quality of learning globally and ensuring that play is not seen in opposition to learning. We are interested in documenting examples of play-based approaches across both low income and high income countries and where these can be scaled up in cost effective ways. As Policy Research Specialist in the LEGO Foundation, you will be the go-to expert for how we can leverage playful experiences into international policy, teaching and education, particular for children in schools, age 6 – 12. You will work with our own team of researchers, educators and developers, and with our extensive network of international experts, as well as directly commissioning and managing research relevant to our international initiatives. If you share our values, have experience of managing and translating research into programmatic activities, and have experience of working in international research programmes, then we would like to hear from you. To learn more about the opportunity, please do read the content of this appointment brief, and you can also contact our advisors at Prospectus for a confidential conversation. Let’s inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.

My very best, Bo Stjerne Thomson Head of LEGO Foundation Centre

Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief

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The LEGO Foundation

About us

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Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief


The LEGO Foundation

Our LEGO® heritage The LEGO Foundation wants to build a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. We do this by making sure the fundamental value of play is understood, embraced and acted upon. We fundamentally believe that children are our role models because of their natural hands-on, minds-on approach to learning. Children are curious, creative and imaginative. They embrace discovery and wonder. They are natural, intuitive learners that experience the world through play. These are qualities we should nurture and stimulate throughout life. We share a mission with the LEGO Group - to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow - and we benefit from more than 80 years of LEGO Group experience, the strong reputation of the LEGO® brand, and an unwavering ambition to have a positive impact on children and society. The story of the LEGO Group is also a story of family ownership. Ole Kirk Kristiansen, a carpenter, founded the company in 1932. He came up with the name LEGO from the Danish words LEg GOdt which means “play well” and the company grew to become the LEGO Group. As part of the ongoing commitment to giving children better opportunities to reach their full potential, the LEGO Group owner family has entrusted the LEGO Foundation with 25% ownership of the LEGO Group. This is how we fund our activities.

Our Values Imagination – Creativity – Fun – Learning – Caring – Quality Our aim is to re-define play and re-imagine learning. There is an increased global attention to the need for developing stronger life skills, including critical thinking, creativity, and social skills, and we know that play is a meaningful way to equip children to be better prepared for the challenges they´ll face. However, the understanding of play’s transformative power and how to make it an inherent part of learning is not very widespread and therefore not leveraged to its full potential. Play must be recognized for the role it has in establishing vital skills and its transformational role in learning across our lifespan. Our work focuses on children aged 0 –12 with a special emphasis on early childhood – the period when children develop most rapidly both mentally and physically.

The LEGO Idea The LEGO idea is what our family enterprises are built on. It started with the LEGO name coming from LEg GOdt (Play Well) and developed into the LEGO System in Play. Our family believes that LEGO play is one of the best ways to play and learn. With the LEGO bricks, we can build anything we can possibly imagine as if they were glued and yet they can easily be taken apart and reconfigured into a new idea. When we do this, we are not only creating, but also evaluating, reflecting and recreating to achieve new possibilities. We learn through play in a self-motivated and fun way.

Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief

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The LEGO Foundation

Theory of Change

The LEGO Foundation wants to build a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged life-long learners. Children benefit from the transformative power of learning through play to develop the social, cognitive, physical and emotional creative skills to serve them, their communities and society throughout a lifetime. Our shared mission with LEGO enables us to:

Inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow Re-define play and re-imagine learning

Our aim is to: The impact we ultimately seek is:

Which requires that:

We will achieve this by:

Three mutually reinforcing activities

Learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, strong learners and develop the holistic skills that serve them, their communities and society throughout a lifetime

Parents are equipped and empowered to use learning through play

Teachers are equipped and empowered to use learning through play

Systems (eg. schools, childcare etc.) embrace learning through play

Governments resource policies that support learning through play

Delivering systemic, scalable change in partnership with others by transforming attitudes and behaviours to learning through play: Build and share evidence to show value

Open minds to develop buy-in

Identify and support programmes that demonstrate results 6

Policy Research Specialist ¡ Appointment Brief


The LEGO Foundation

Our Work We believe that sustainable change happens when you transform attitudes and behaviours across society. That’s why we want to work with parents, carers, schools systems, institutions and governments. Our work combines three approaches that collectively enable us to reach our aim: • • •

Identify and support programmes as examples of play that works Build and share evidence to explain the value of learning through play Communicate to gain buy-in about how children best learn for life

Research Centre Our Research Centre is core to our work. We develop, support and share evidence on the value of learning through play to act as a critical resource for thought leaders, policy makers, teachers and parents around the world. In partnership with leading institutions across geography and academic disciplines, we seek to explore and demonstrate the critical link between play and learning. Below is a brief description of current partnerships and projects. www.legofoundation.com/en-gb/research-andlearning/research-partners

Our programmes and the LEGO Foundation Centre for Creativity, Play and Learning: Learning through Play in Early Childhood Connecting Play and Education Communities of Learning through Play

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The LEGO Foundation

Role Profile Job Title

Policy Research Specialist – Education and Learning Reporting to Head of Research Purpose of the Job The position is based in the Centre for Creativity, Play and Learning within the LEGO Foundation, reflecting the Foundation’s commitment to be a leading authority on the role of play for children’s development, creativity and lifelong learning. In line with the Foundation strategy, this role will be the goto-person for policy and research across the Foundation’s programmes, supporting learning outcomes in education commissioning quality policy research, producing briefing papers and position statements etc., and external representation. The role will provide research and policy support to advocacy and influencing in all stages of the programme cycle across the Foundation’s work. The post holder will commission high-quality and policy relevant research, policy advice, and public affairs work. He/she will analyse existing data and advisory projects, engage with policymakers in research and advisory processes, and disseminate results. The LEGO Foundation is engaged in international programmes to measure impact on children’s learning through play, and the Centre has an international network of research partners and institutions to develop and implement research on creativity, play and learning. The Centre drives research projects within the LEGO Foundation programmes in order to support the strategic initiatives of the Foundation; to measure the impact on

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Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief

children and change the attitudes and behaviors of critical audiences. Middle childhood and quality learning interventions are a critical focus area for the LEGO Foundation, and we aim to support play-based approaches within the educational systems, policies and pedagogies. This position will support the research projects and intervention designs in the area of middle childhood, and particularly focus on the successful policies and strategies that have transformed a traditional content focus to a more skills-based and holistic focus on learning. The position requires a strong understanding of the learning process at all levels, including teacher motivation, teaching quality and practice at the classroom level, child engagement in terms of learning and learning levels, and a breadth of skills with the ability to quickly grasp the agenda on playful learning, creativity and skills. The research specialist in middle childhood will be part of the research team in the Centre, and will work closely with research colleagues, ambassador networks and research partners to support the programmes in delivering research-based practices to support positive learning outcomes in children.


The LEGO Foundation

Network & Links External

Internal

A core research staff in the Centre for Creativity, Play and Learning.

Initiative managers in the Connecting Play and Education programme.

Research partners focused on middle childhood, particularly supporting institutions like policy influencers, OECD etc. Programme partners like Brookings Institution, Right to Play, Global Education institutions, governments etc.

Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief

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The LEGO Foundation

Job Description Key tasks and activities In order to ensure that our international programmes are supported with the best examples from rigorous research and can gradually develop new interventions, we need to equip our teams with clear guidance from existing evidence and secure ongoing attention to research gaps. Play has a critical role in children’s learning across policies, and the position will: •

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Commission applied research studies, commissioned by programmes, within Learning Through Play (LTP) in childhood age 5-12 to support teaching and education. Develop the LEGO Foundation’s expertise on policy analysis and research methods across childhood age 5-12, and maintain an open database of relevant knowledge. Gather relevant research from academic partners to provide diverse and complex analysis at the macro and micro level to ensure a strong internal culture and consultation across programmes. Share expertise in research methods with programme staff and provide specialist advice and guidance, including the development of disruptive schemes. Support research related interactions with academic partners and other academic parties when relevant for programmes or the Research Centre. Participate in debate and dialogue in international education and learning, to promote play, creativity and skills in such fora and create impact on the policy and practice of other agencies.

Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief

Accountabilities / Scope • Develop LTP expertise within international policy, teaching and education related to children’s play and learning around age 5 – 12. • Availability of research projects that builds the understanding of the role of play in education, age 5 – 12 to support educational systems and pedagogies. • Ensure the Foundation has the appropriate research partners and connections to connect to programme partners. • Align research needs from initiatives on educational systems and policy with the current research and literature in the area. • Review research methods and measures that are particularly targeted towards educational interventions. Authority • Prepare recommendations for research projects that support the international initiatives in programmes. • Independently manage research projects in agreement with research questions and methods defined by the programmes and research team. • Evaluate ongoing research needs and methods from the programme team. • Maintain the access to an updated list of research studies and share key summaries with colleagues and partners.


The LEGO Foundation

Measurement

• • •

Change in attitudes and behaviours among influencers on the educational systems.

Direct impact on children’s skills through play in the LEGO Foundation programmes. Reputation as a credible source of information among partners.

Candidate Requirements

Manditory

Desirable

Knowledge of the LEGO Foundation

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Knowledge of other domestic social and philanthropic organisations

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Experience in foundations, social enterprises or major non-profits (internationally)

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Knowledge of the education and/or early childhood development sector

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Experience in working across cultures

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The LEGO Foundation

Candidate Requirements

Minimum Knowledge and Education • A post graduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject or related disciplines. • Significant experience on the ground in policy research contexts. • Significant experience in an international policy development research environment, such as policy related research, demonstrated by publications and reports. • Proven capacity for quality research and policy analysis and a demonstrable track record of producing high quality evidence-based policy papers. • Experience in play-based interventions and the support of holistic skills among children. • Experience in finding and communicating research examples and studies. • Background in social sciences, teacher education, or international educational policy frameworks. • Understanding of quantitative and/or mixed-methods of research approaches with knowledge about educational assessments. • Global or international expertise in working in a minimum of two different country contexts, including expertise in developing countries.

LEGO Foundation Capabilities LTP Advocacy

LEGO Brand Deployment

• •

Demonstrated capacity to work collaboratively in partnerships and experience of working with a wide variety of partners. Experience in producing research outputs in a short period of time and for different audiences.

Behavioural Skills • Works independently, making decisions and problem solving on routine, new and complex issues, which are often highly unpredictable in type, content, or circumstances. • Strong interpersonal skills, and a highly developed ability to work in multicultural settings and with community groups, academics and policy networks, with a developed capacity for tact, diplomacy and negotiation. • Excellent analysis and writing skills. • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to negotiate successfully with a wide range of people and cultural awareness. • Passionate believer in play and its benefit for children’s development and learning. • Resilient and persistent in tackling complex results frameworks and research questions. • Motivated by being a member of a cross-disciplinary team developing world-class research.

Basic x

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Partnering Model & Management

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Monitoring and Evaluation

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Project Management

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Contextual Knowledge

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Communication

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Capability Building

Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief

Strong

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LTP Thought Leadership

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Qualified

x


The LEGO Foundation

How to Apply Your application should be submitted via the Prospectus website, where you can upload your CV and a supporting statement of no more than 500 words, outlining your interest and suitability for the position. We ask that you complete the equal opportunities information online when you submit your application via our website. The information collected will be treated as confidential, used for statistical purposes only, and will not be treated as part of your application. We would also be grateful if you could let us know if you will require any special provision as a result of any disability should you be called for interview.

Recruitment Process: You will receive information detailing the outcome of your application within seven working days of the closing date. The successful appointment is subject to satisfactory references. Queries: If you have any queries about any aspect of the appointment process, need additional information or wish to have an informal discussion, please contact Børge Andreassen, or James Wilkinson on +44 (0)207 691 1920 or via email at: borge.andreassen@prospect-us.co.uk james.wilkinson@prospect-us.co.uk

Finally please ensure that you have included mobile and home telephone numbers, as well as any dates when you will not be available or might have difficulty with the indicative timetable. Applications should be made via the Prospectus website at: https://www.prospect-us.co.uk/jobs/details/hq00172303

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The LEGO Foundation

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Policy Research Specialist · Appointment Brief

Lego Foundation  
Lego Foundation