Counting the cost of a fragmented school system

Sara Bubb. 

In an effort to turn schools into academies too little attention has been given to constructing a middle tier oversight system that is fair and efficient for all.

This is an unescapable conclusion of our new study, Understanding the Middle Tier: Comparative Costs of Academy and LA-maintained Systems, which has uncovered the cost of England’s systems for overseeing academies and local authority (LA) schools. We found a complex and confusing picture that reinforces the Public Accounts Committee judgement that the Department for Education’s ‘arrangements for oversight of schools are fragmented and incoherent, leading toinefficiency for government and confusion for schools.’

The ‘middle tiers’ are the systems of support and accountability connecting Read more ›

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Posted in Schools

Rules of engagement: 5 takeaways for research impact from the award-winning ASPIRES project


Tatiana Souteiro Dias and Emily Macleod

Collaboration with individuals and organisations beyond academia for the benefit of society is an increasingly important part of research teams’ activities. But how can academics achieve this when there are so many competing priorities? For Professor Louise Archer, Principal Investigator of the ASPIRES/ASPIRES 2 project – who received the 2019 ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize Panel’s Choice Award this week – investing time and effort in building long-term relationships based on trust and respect is one of the answers.

The multiple award winning team of ASPIRES, a longitudinal research project studying young people’s science and career ambitions from age 10 to 19, shared their successful impact strategies as part of the first IOE Impact Meet-up, a new series of workshops bringing together experts, doctoral students and early career researchers from the IOE to discuss how to make authentic impact a key Read more ›

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Research matters, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Getting the science straight: the schools minister’s suggestion that private schools convey little academic advantage does not stand up to scrutiny

Francis Green

A recent report from the Sutton Trust reveals that positions of public influence are still disproportionately cornered by the privately educated, with little progress since their previous report. So the Johnson – Hunt (Eton – Charterhouse) contest to be prime minister is but the tip of an iceberg. It is curious, then, to find Schools Minister Nick Gibb and genetic psychologist Robert Plomin seemingly agreeing on an ungrounded assertion: that there is little difference in the academic outcomes of state and private schooling in Britain, and that private is assuredly not worth the money.

The science is not on their side.

Professor Plomin asserts that: “Even though schools have little effect on individual differences in school achievement, some parents will still decide to pay huge Read more ›

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Posted in Research matters, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment, Uncategorized

UCL’s new BSc Social Sciences graduates offer a global perspective on social change

Image 04-07-2019 at 12.33

Claire Cameron, Ann Phoenix, Ashly Fuller, Charlotte Cook, Miya Baldwin.

We live in interesting times. News reports from every continent are by turn puzzling, alarming and heartening, particularly as it is increasingly clear that there are deep divisions in how any new event is received.

In the UK, Brexit and the Extinction Rebellion, the Syrian War and various migration crises are dramatic examples, raising fundamental issues about the relationship between individuals, society and international perspectives. It has never been more urgent to have the analytic tools to understand social currents and to be able to make informed decisions about how and where to take a stand. It is here that the new UCL BSc Social Sciences degree makes a distinctive contribution. Read more ›

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education, Social sciences and social policy

Education of children in care: small changes that can make a big difference

Michael Bettencourt.

Policy and publications concerned with children in care often focus on their ‘plight’ and map out a bleak scenario for their future opportunities. The narrative is beginning to change as a more sophisticated understanding of this vulnerable group and the complexity of the impact of care becomes better understood.

A ground breaking new report from the Centre for Inclusive Education at UCL’s Institute of Education highlights what schools are doing well and where things could improve. The study, The education of children in care in North East England, also showcases the views of children gathered from one to one interviews and for the first time from classroom observations.

Messages from children in care

Two key findings stood out from the accounts of children and young people. The first was that children wanted to be stretched. They welcomed academic challenge and indeed enjoyed it. In fact some Read more ›

Posted in Special educational needs and psychology, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment
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