At the heart of the school: celebrate National Libraries Day

Aith school3

Sally Perry.

Question: What do you have in school that can:

                                    Improve literacy

                                    Foster reading for pleasure

                                    Raise academic achievement

                                    Develop positive attitudes towards learning

                                    Deliver information literacy skills

                                    Create a community

                                    And more…

Answer: A School Library

National Libraries Day will be celebrated on Saturday (6 February) and it seems fitting that here at the UCL Institute of Education Library we use the occasion to consider the role of the School Library.

So what can school libraries do? Read more ›

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

Childcare policy: we need decent pay for the workforce and flexibility for parents


Antonia Simon and Charlie Owen

A large body of research evidence shows that good quality childcare makes a big difference to children’s start in life. However, according to new research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, many children do not have access to childcare of a sufficient standard to achieve good developmental outcomes.

Children, especially those under three, the study argues, often do not receive childcare from highly qualified staff. This is important because evidence from research such as the IOE’s Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education programme (EPPSE) indicates that higher staff qualifications contribute significantly to a preschool setting’s quality. The implication is, therefore, that youngsters who miss out on top quality staff are likely to fall behind youngsters who don’t.

But could the problem relate to childcare workers’ shockingly low pay? Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Evidence-based policy

Workplace training is crucial in preventing another Mid Staffs, but we know little about what works


Karen Schucan Bird and Mark Newman

The public inquiry into the breakdown of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust highlighted the important role of education and training in ensuring that similar failures were prevented in the future. It was one of many reports that have recently highlighted the importance of workplace-based learning for the delivery of a modern health service. The Willis Commission on nursing education, for instance, emphasised the importance of the work placements provided by the NHS.

Learning ‘on the job’ is an essential part of the training to become a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional in the UK. Workplace-based learning is built into training from the early stages. Before registering as a nurse, for example, students must spend half of their time caring for the public in a clinical or public health setting. Work placements are expected to ensure that professional standards and capabilities are passed down to the next generation of healthcare workers. Work-place based learning is vital for healthcare students but what do we know about its effects?

Very little it seems. Whilst work placements are an integral part of professional training, Read more ›

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Further higher and lifelong education

Class size does make a difference – but 30 is not a magic number

Teacher with School pupil[467]

Peter Blatchford

Here we go again. The arguments over class size are with us once more. Now there are worries about ‘supersized classes’ for young children in school, the result of pressure on school places and the current fragmented state of local educational planning.

Large classes are a recurring worry, especially when experienced by the youngest children in school.  Worries about this problem led the last Labour Government to introduce a legal cap of 30 on class sizes in England. Last year there was a debate in Parliament about perceived breaches of this rule by the then coalition Government, and now the problem is receiving coverage again. The concern is that the 30 maximum protection is being relaxed and this will have a negative impact on children’s education.

The educational issue here is whether there is a threshold beyond which class sizes Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Research matters, Teachers and teaching assistants

How attractive is a career in academia?

William Locke

The growing pressures faced by universities have had an impact on academic careers. Changes to academic roles, contracts and career paths, along with increasing workloads, have created new challenges. Yet in today’s competitive global environment, academic career opportunities are key to universities’ future success.

A report for the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Celia Whitchurch, Holly Smith, Anna Mazenod and me investigates these challenges and proposes a number of solutions. Read more ›

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.

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