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Archive for the 'COVID-19 and education' Category

Can we level the social sciences playing field? Reflections from CLS’s first-ever summer school

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 24 October 2023

Blurred figures of football players in red and yellow kit on a sunny green sports field.

Credit: Annanahabed / Adobe.

Charis Bridger Staatz.

The year 2023 marked many things: the coronation of the UK’s new King, the coinage of the term “Barbenheimer”, and, perhaps most importantly, the inaugural Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) Year 12 Summer School ‘Harnessing the power of longitudinal research for policy impact’.

Our motivations behind the summer school were twofold: to contribute to widening participation efforts in general across the higher education sector, and to support greater diversity in the social science researcher pipeline. Our experience showed the real potential of programmes that give under-represented school students the opportunity to work directly with university departments on scholarly research, especially when that is over an extended period. Such programmes can make a distinct contribution to showcasing that university is a realistic, and hopefully desirable place for young people to be. They can also be incredibly rewarding for the academics who lead them. (more…)

A brief history of school meals in the UK: from free milk to Jamie Oliver’s campaign against Turkey Twizzlers

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 4 May 2023

Dinner ladies with white canteen hats dishing out plates of hot food to primary school students

Credit: Monkey Business / Adobe Stock.

Gurpinder Singh Lalli, University of Wolverhampton; Gary McCulloch; Heather Ellis, University of Sheffield.

Mashed potato, gravy, custard. When British people hear the words “school dinners”, it’s not always great memories that come to mind.

That’s not the case for everyone. Indeed France is known for its gourmet school lunches cooked by onsite chefs – bon appétit!

But in the UK people have been complaining about school meals for a long time. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver campaigned against cheap processed foods like “turkey twizzlers” in the early 2000s. And Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s prime minister in the 1970s, was nicknamed the “milk snatcher” when she was education secretary because she stopped free milk for children in schools.

(more…)

Young people’s physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 31 January 2023

Jake Anders

Although young people were among those least likely to be directly affected by severe effects of COVID-19, they were not immune from its immediate effects on health. We are better able to understand the implications of this using data from the COVID Social Mobility & Opportunities study (COSMO). The study includes a representative sample of over 13,000 young people across England, who were aged 14–15 at the onset of the pandemic, and 16–17 during the academic year 2020/21 when our first data were collected.

COSMO’s purpose is also wider than the direct health impacts of COVID-19. As such, this blog post — drawing on our latest COSMO briefing published today — also takes a wider look at young people’s health behaviours during this period. (more…)

IOE Blog in 2022: an age of anxiety with glimmers of hope

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 3 January 2023

Credit: Startup Stock Photos

Diane Hofkins.

Few of us will have been sad to see the end of the year 2022, and yet, throughout the year, our IOE writers sought to make things better. They analysed findings on topics from dyscalculia to climate change to exams to international development and proposed ways forward.

Take for example Sandra Leaton Gray and Andy Phippen’s helpful February post about children and internet safety, with its down to earth advice on listening to children and talking through concerns and its reassurance that most children use the internet safely. This post also featured my favourite illustration of the year (see above). Or Katya Dowdle’s debate-provoking proposals for more oral exams in higher education (HE). For (more…)

Ten things we learned about teachers’ anxiety about work during the pandemic

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 4 November 2022

John Jerrim.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to one of the biggest shocks the world has ever seen. Schools were shut, remote instruction became widespread and government policy seemed to be changing overnight. The working conditions of teachers hence suddenly changed, with significant disruption from the pandemic lasting for the next two years.

This is likely to have had a major impact on teachers’ mental health, including their wellbeing at work. As part of a project supported by the Nuffield Foundation, we have tracked teachers’ anxiety about work at 75 points between October 2019 and July 2022.

Specifically, we regularly asked the TeacherTapp panel to answer the following question on a Tuesday afternoon: (more…)

Vax-Pac Study: How to have better messaging and support on vaccines for parents of under-18s

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 6 October 2022

COVID vaccine decision information on how to support parents

Jess Zhou and Keri Wong.

The COVID vaccine roll-out has been one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in UK history, yet not everyone is on board. Studies of adults report some 15% of the population are resistant to getting vaccinated and up to 35% indicate they are hesitant towards COVID vaccines. These figures are not dissimilar to hesitancy rates for other vaccines and can have real implications for ongoing public health messaging and global pandemic intervention strategies.

Parents with children under 18 – who make vaccination decisions for themselves and for their children – form one group in need of better support because vaccine decision-making is particularly challenging. Understanding how parents made decisions about the COVID vaccination and what support they needed is important as this is a much-neglected group in COVID public health messaging.

Our UCL Vax-PaC Study led by Dr Keri Wong (PI) and Asako Miura (co-I) aimed (more…)

The disadvantage gap: children of austerity or children of adversity?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 6 September 2022

chezbeate / Pixabay

Neil Kaye.

Last month, hundreds of thousands of young people nervously opened their GCSE results – the first time in the post-pandemic world that such exams had been sat by a full cohort of Year 11 students. Whilst the headlines focused on the apparent fall in average grades from those of the previous two years, the results also highlight a seemingly-inevitable outcome of our present education system: the persistence of a ‘disadvantage’ attainment gap.

A recent IFS report concluded that, “despite decades of policy attention, there has been virtually no change in the ‘disadvantage gap’ in GCSE attainment over the past 20 years”. Whilst some improvement has been noted, modelling by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) from before the pandemic observed that “at the current rate of progress, it would take over 500 years for this gap to close completely at the end of secondary school” (Lupton & Hayes, 2021).

So, is this gap in attainment inevitable? Is it ‘baked’ into the system? Are the policies of successive governments doomed to failure, or have they (more…)

The unbroken demand for (poorly paid) teachers

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 26 August 2022

Golo Henseke and Shunyu Yang.

Teacher recruitment is faltering. Despite an increase in the number of teacher trainees in 2020/21, schools anticipate severe staffing challenges for the upcoming academic year.

How did we get here?

This is the second post in a two-part blog series on the teaching profession using data from online job vacancies. The first post investigated job skill requirements, how they have changed since 2012, and how they relate to pay. This blog tracks changes in the demand for and pay of teachers since (more…)

What does the National Reference Test tell us about achievement in maths and English over time?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 25 August 2022

John Jerrim.

Congratulations to all the young people who got their GCSE results today.

While the mainstream media attention will likely be showing lots of pictures of Year 11s hugging or other such images (Teacher Tapp bingo anyone?) I am going to give my first impression of results from the latest National Reference Test – which were also published today.

What is the National Reference Test?

Since 2017, Ofqual has tested a large sample of Year 11s in English and mathematics around February/March time – just a few months before their (more…)

Did independent schools really ‘fiddle’ their A-Level grades more than other schools in 2021?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 23 August 2022

John Jerrim.

It’s August. And that can mean only one thing – results season is back!

Of course, when A-Level results were released last Thursday, one specific thing grabbed the headline – the sharp fall in 2022 grades compared to 2020 and 2021.

This was entirely predictable. And, actually, wasn’t that newsworthy. Ofqual told us that that 2022 grades would sit midway between those awarded in 2019 and 2021 almost a year ago.

But what also caught a lot of people’s attention was how the fall in grades differed between different groups and, in particular, (more…)