Whatever happened to Extended Schools? A question at the heart of education


Peter Moss.

The question in the headline is the title of a new book published by UCL IOE Press. It’s written by Doug Martin and based on research in four North of England schools and communities. But the question is also one that should be asked today, for it raises an issue at the very heart of education. What is the identity of the school? What is it for?

Education in England since the 1988 Education Reform Act has been dominated by four themes: governance, choice, regulation and performance. Local authority control has been replaced by self-government and, with the rise of academies and free schools, a direct contractual role for central government; parents have been given, at least on paper, increased say over which school their children attend; a national curriculum and national inspection agency have been introduced and endlessly wrangled over; while examinations have proliferated, with endless picking over schools’ performance. What has emerged is a particular idea of schools: as exam factories, judged on grade productivity; and as businesses competing in an education market place for the custom of parent-consumers.

But something happened for a few years at the start of the century that complicated this Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Education policy, Social sciences and social policy

Losing our democracy: one step at a time

Michael J Reiss.

Born in the 1950s – and it’s difficult to imagine a better time to have been born in England – I belong to the generation that assumes democracy is here to stay. That belief was reinforced as I grew up by the end of fascism in Spain, the fall of the Berlin Wall and other world events towards the end of the twentieth century.

In the twenty-first century, things aren’t looking so rosy. Events in a number of countries across the globe are deeply worrying and I now find myself checking each day for the 2016 US Presidential election forecast. I would like to believe that the worst case scenario for the US couldn’t happen to England, where I still live. But I’m less sure. Perhaps I have been reading too many dystopian novels – I finished Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood this morning. Read more ›

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Social sciences and social policy

Ending gender violence in schools: what works and what does research tell us?


Jenny Parkes. 

Every day, girls around the world face physical, sexual and psychological violence in and around schools. A male teacher may seek to exchange grades for sex; a member of the community may abuse a girl on her way to school; a boy may taunt or molest a classmate against her will.

Today is the International Day of the Girl Child. Its aim is to highlight the importance of addressing the social, economic and political barriers faced by adolescent girls. UNICEF and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) are marking the day – and examining the ways in which the sustainable development goals (SDGs) address these barriers – with the launch of A Rigorous Review of Global Research Evidence on Policy and Practice on School-Related Gender-Based Violence, by a UCL IOE research team including Jo Heslop, Freya Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Evidence-based policy, International development

Children’s mental wellbeing and ill-health: not two sides of the same coin

Praveetha Patalay. 

If I asked you what makes a child happy, one possible answer would be the opposite of what makes them sad. This would be considered a non-controversial response. The intuitive assumption when considering subjective wellbeing and psychological distress is that factors associated with one are associated with the other – albeit in the opposite direction. But what if we’re wrong? What if wellbeing and mental illness, or happy and sad, are not two sides of the same mental health coin?


We set out to investigate this question using data from more than 12,000 children born across the UK in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Our Read more ›

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Research matters, Social sciences and social policy

Universities have a crucial post-Brexit role in working across borders

glasgow u

Simon Marginson

At first, after the June referendum, it was unclear what ‘Brexit’ meant, but the post-Brexit landscape is now emerging. Theresa May will table the complex bill to leave the EU in the House of Commons in March 2017, but the two most important decisions have already been made. First, the Government will give priority to ending free people movement from Europe. Second, as confirmed by Home Secretary Amber Rudd this week, total net migration will fall. The referendum was decided because people opposed migration and it seems that for the Prime Minister both measures have become politically essential.

These decisions are truly momentous as they trigger both a harder Brexit and a tough medium term prospect for higher education and research. In the universities, where relations with Europe have been unambiguously positive and productive, the Read more ›

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

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