EU-funded tools for the job: helping teachers and health workers tackle gender-related violence

Miriam David

Gender violence has been a key theme of the European Union’s Daphne programme. I have been involved with a most exciting and innovative Daphne-funded research project to develop free online training tools, which we hope will help teachers, youth workers and health professionals across Europe to tackle gender-related violence in children and young people’s lives.

Our particular approach in the GAP WORK project draws on earlier research I conducted with Dr Pam Alldred of Brunel University (where the project is based). It found that teachers, health and youth workers do not feel adequately trained to work with children and young people around sex, sexuality and relationships and showed how sex education and dealing with violence remains marginalised in school curricula. Such Read more ›

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Posted in Research matters

Select Committee Academies report: a clear-headed action plan for a new Secretary of State

Toby Greany

Back in 2006-07 I acted as special advisor to the House of Commons Education Select Committee for an enquiry on Building Schools for the Future. Labour’s Barry Sheerman MP was the committee’s longstanding chair back then and it was fascinating to watch him work with a disparate group of MPs to achieve consensus on the findings and recommendations after a year or more of evidence-gathering.

Barry used to say that the Committee became more dangerous as an enquiry progressed. His point was that the MPs may be generalists, but they quickly become sufficiently expert in any given area to be able to home in on the fundamental issues. Yet, re-reading the report now, it seems remarkably quiet on the problems of bureaucracy and waste that Michael Gove MP used as Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Schools

Politicians should be held accountable when their pet experiments fail

Frank Coffield

The closure of a third ‘free’ school, this time in Durham, raises some very serious issues for our whole education system and for our democracy. The coalition government invested £900,000 of taxpayers’ money in the Durham free school for only 34 students when it opened in September 2013. Now after five terms it has attracted only 94 pupils, and almost five times as much resource is being spent on these pupils than on Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Schools

English and maths skills: do England’s young people catch up once they’re in the workplace?


Brian Creese, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC)

I have lamented here before that while the OECD’s comparative assessment of 15-year-olds (PISA) is deemed sufficiently important to cause entire shifts in a country’s education policies, the adult equivalent, PIAAC, creates barely a flutter of interest.

Having said that, one finding has struck home, albeit incorrectly. I have lost count of how many times I have had to correct speakers claiming that, uniquely, the skills of England’s young people are worse than those of the older generations. Actually PIAAC tells us nothing about my skills compared to someone 30 years my junior. What it does is compare us with similar cohorts in other countries. So actually the 2012 report tells us that our young people perform poorly compared to similar aged cohorts across the OECD while my cohort does rather better than similarly aged people in other countries.

Dr Newman Burdett’s study of the data for the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), presented at a conference last week, does confirm that England’s adult skills age profile is unusual. In most countries Read more ›

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education, International comparisons

A caricature of character education? Morgan needs a broader vision

John White

The Department for Education has just invited schools and other bodies to bid for money to support projects in character education. Since her appointment last July, Nicky Morgan has shown an especial interest in this area. In a recent talk at Birmingham University, she spoke of “ensuring that young people not only grow academically, but also build character, resilience and grit”.

She went on: “We want to ensure that young people leave school with the perseverance to strive to win…. We want pupils to revel in the achievement of victory, but honour the principles of fair play, to win with grace and to learn the lessons of defeat with acceptance and humility.” These values are reflected in the bidding invitation. Pride of place is given to perseverance, resilience, grit, confidence, Read more ›

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Posted in curriculum & assessment, Education policy
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.

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