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Young people in care: how lockdown provides a haven of security and belonging

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 27 May 2020

Claire Cameron.

Amidst all the gloom, and concerns about what effect the lockdown is having on children, there is a small group of young people finding positive benefits.

Children in foster care were thriving under lockdown, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services told the House of Commons education select committee. In residential care homes, where about ten percent of young people looked after by local authorities live, the national restrictions have created opportunities for them to take up new skills, get fit and get along better with those around them.

Staff at Care Visions, Scotland’s largest independent provider of residential services for children and young people who have complex needs, say young people are less distressed than before lockdown, and fewer are running away. Danny Henderson, one of Care Visions’ managers, says that many young people seem happier than they were before the measures were Read the rest of this entry »

Get children thinking: why philosophy is the perfect lockdown activity for youngsters

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 20 May 2020

Yana Manyukhina 

Lockdown unquestionably brings significant challenges into children’s education. But it also presents an opportunity for parents and carers ­– and teachers – to create new, more inspiring and more freeing learning environments for children learning at home.

What is enjoyable, effective and easy to implement, while developing children’s cognitive, emotional and social skills? Philosophy. It offers open ended challenges which are fun, and which stretch those brain cells in every direction.

In order to help parents and carers initiate valuable philosophical conversations with children, the team at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy at UCL has designed a new social media campaign called “GetChildrenThinking”. Every week, a different philosophical question appears on the Centre’s Twitter Feed, followed by a mid-week prompt to further ignite and enrich the discussion. The first two are: What is fairness? and What is it like to be a bat? Bring philosophy into your home by following this link.

In my experience of teaching philosophy to primary and secondary students, Read the rest of this entry »

Social capital: in the days of Covid-19, good neighbours keep their distance

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 18 May 2020

 

Francesca Borgonovi and Elodie Andrieu.

In Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam illustrated the decline of social capital in the United States and traced it to changes in how individuals spend time at work, family and leisure – alone. According to Putnam, when people bowl alone (it was always such a sociable sport), community spirit is lacking and individuals in these communities suffer.

Although close physical social relationships allow Covid-19 to spread, ‘social capital’ – the resources and benefits people receive through their connections with others – may be significant in determining if and to what extent communities implement behavioural changes aimed at halting the spread of the virus. This is crucial, because in the absence of vaccines or effective drugs to treat Covid-19, public health measures have been directed at preventing SARS-CoV-2 contagion by reducing interpersonal physical contact and by promoting the use of protective measures when such contact occurs.

Those with high levels of social capital tend to be ‘good citizens’, active in their communities, helping neighbours, voting. Our research is providing early evidence on Read the rest of this entry »

Making post-GCSE decisions during the Covid-19 crisis: the need for action

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 16 May 2020

Lorna Unwin, Ruth Lupton, Stephanie Thompson, Sanne Velthuis, republished from the BERA blog.

In the public debate about the impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown on education, much attention has understandably been given to concerns about disadvantaged children falling behind at school, and to the potential impact of the estimation of examination grades on young people’s post-school prospects.

Much less has been heard about disruption to the practical processes that would normally be getting underway now as 16-year-olds decide their post-GCSE future. So it was good to hear David Johnston MP at the House of Commons’ education committee’s session with Gavin Williamson (starts 10.09am) urging the secretary of state to monitor destinations data as a measure of the Department for Education’s success in mitigating the impacts of the crisis. Responding, Williamson expressed concern that young people who are out of school or college this spring and summer may not be urged to take up the opportunities available to them.

Our ongoing research for the Nuffield Foundation focusses on the post-school transitions of young people who do not achieve the benchmark grade 4+ in English and maths. This group is more likely than their higher-attaining peers to be disadvantaged and/or to have special educational needs. In 2019, 23 per cent of
Read the rest of this entry »

COVID-19: a defining moment for longitudinal research?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 May 2020

Rob Davies, republished from the CLOSER blog.

It is clear the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for individuals, families and society will be deep and long-lasting. However, we still don’t fully understand the impact of the virus, nationally or regionally, or how it will entrench existing challenges such as inequalities or mental health.

Data and evidence from longitudinal studies will be vital to the UK’s response to COVID-19. Harnessing the power of existing longitudinal studies will help to understand the immediate and long-term impacts on individuals, families, households and society, providing valuable information for research and policy throughout and after the pandemic. Crucially, due to the unique nature of longitudinal studies, it will also be possible to track the longer-term consequences and impacts for years to come.

Rapid response with the future in mind

The response by the longitudinal research community to the COVID-19 pandemic has Read the rest of this entry »

The phrase ‘online learning’ is alluring and misleading: the site of learning is the mind

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 14 May 2020

Farid Panjwani

 

A plethora of packages, platforms and information sources have flooded the Internet to help locked-down children learn from home and advise parents on how to help them. There is no going back on this trend.

 

With screens increasingly competing with face to face learning (and currently taking over from it), we can be sure that in the coming years students will be exposed to even larger swaths of information. Is this a good thing? Not necessarily. Without knowing how to swim, jumping into a bigger pool of water may bring more harm than good.  Unless we recognise that learning requires much more than the provision of hardware and software, resources and technical know-how, we are in the danger of confusing ‘process and substance’, as was noted by Ivan Illich. In this sense, the phrase ‘online learning’ is alluring but misleading. The site of learning is the mind. 

The freer pathway between students and information will mean that the triad of teacher-student-content will become heavily loaded on the axis of student and content. This will significantly transform relationships between teachers and students. The idea of teacher as Read the rest of this entry »

When a pandemic causes school closures it has wide-ranging impacts beyond public health: our logic model can help in decision-making

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 13 May 2020

James Thomas, Alison O’Mara-EvesDylan Kneale and Rebecca Rees.

The closure of schools has been a recommended intervention in response to pandemics because of its potential for reducing the transmission of infection among children, school staff, and those they contact. Previous evidence has shown that closing schools can have the intended effect of reducing infection rates, although factors such as the timing and length of the closures are likely to be important.

The current crisis, however, has highlighted that existing evidence and debates are insufficient. They have been largely focused on the impacts on transmission and health services, with less consideration of other downstream effects.

That is why a group of social scientists has come together to explore all possible outcomes. Here we describe our approach to presenting a logical way to consider the impact of school closures on individuals, families, education and health systems, and the broader economy. This is covered in detail in our paper published today by F1000Research and we now seek feedbackon this systems-based logic model.

Read the rest of this entry »

What should teachers be prepared for when young children return after lockdown: lessons from China and elsewhere

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 11 May 2020

Yuwei Xu and Clare Brooks. 

With the outbreak of COVID-19 globally, school closures and online education have become shared  experiences for children, teachers, and parents around the world. As China emerges from lockdown, schools are preparing for re-opening.

National guidelines, issued by the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Education, on COVID-19 prevention and control at all school levels, focus on medical suggestions, physical health and hygiene. However, teachers everywhere are concerned about the mental and social aspects of children’s returning to schools. In this blog, drawing on relevant research from China and elsewhere, we summarize some of the major considerations for young children’s post-COVID-19 psychological and social readiness. Read the rest of this entry »

It looked as though our regulators were finally willing to trust teachers – but Ofqual’s latest guidance suggests otherwise

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 7 May 2020

Mary Richardson.

Over recent decades England has seen the gradual erosion of trust in teachers and in teaching as a profession. This suspicion and casual condemnation happens across many public spheres and is most prominent during August each year when the results of the GCSEs and A levels are picked over and hotly debated.

Of course 2020 will be very different as there will be no final exams. Instead the results days (13 August for A level and 20 August for GCSE) will see the release of grades that comprise a range of evidence provided by teachers and schools.

A casual view of any social media or news reports relating to education at present reveals a continual stream of concerns, questions and more than a healthy dose of rumour suggesting that these very high stakes assessments might disadvantage students both now and in the 2021 cycle.

Ofqual has been quick to respond to this and their consultation documents include a review of evidence from Read the rest of this entry »

What are ‘stuck’ schools and what sort of fresh thinking can help them move on?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 6 May 2020

Bernie Munoz, Melanie Ehren and Jo Hutchinson.

The government is making some assumptions about so-called ‘stuck’ or ‘intractable’ schools that need to be closely examined. One of these assumptions is that placing a small group of failing schools in special measures will cause them to improve in order to avoid job losses, bad reputation and school closure.

It is further assumed that multi-academy trusts will adopt schools with persistent difficulties and provide stronger leadership to resolve these – but it is also assumed that if failing schools don’t improve, they will ultimately disappear as a natural consequence of low enrolment and sanctions.

However, there is a group of schools in England that Ofsted has judged to be failing for more than a decade. Paradoxically, they have been unable to improve, nor have they disappeared. This would suggest that the competitive educational quasi-market falls short when trying to understand the complexities of the system.

We hope our current two year study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation will provide some Read the rest of this entry »