X Close

IOE Blog

Home

Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

Menu

Archive for the 'Education policy' Category

Reception Baseline Assessment, algorithmic bias and the reification of ‘ability’

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 17 January 2023

Girls in a primary school classroom talk over laptop screens. Credit: Phil Meech for UCL IOE.

Credit: Phil Meech for UCL IOE.

Guy Roberts-Holmes and Lucy Kaufmann.

The Department for Education (DfE) had attempted to introduce its contested and controversial Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) for four-year-olds since 2015. Reflecting a wider realisation of the COVID-19 pandemic as a powerful catalyst for ‘re-imagining’ education with digital education technologies, the DfE implemented RBA as a statutory assessment in September 2021. (more…)

Counting the benefits of mandatory Maths – and how to avoid making skills inequalities worse

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 11 January 2023

Secondary school student writing sums on a classroom whiteboard

Credit: Phil Meech for UCL.

Andy Green and Neil Kaye.

If nothing else, Sunak’s recently announced plan for all students in England to study Maths to age 18 generated a rich crop of maths related puns in the media. Our analysis shows the plan should be welcomed, at least in principle, as a long-overdue reform – but also how implementing such a policy without the requisite strategic and financial backing would likely lead to wider skills gaps and a worsening of the inequalities already seen amongst young people leaving upper secondary education.

England is amongst a small minority of OECD countries which do not require the study of either Maths or the national language throughout upper secondary education (ages 16-18) (the others being Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the other UK nations). Furthermore, less than half of students in post-16 education study Maths as a discreet subject, many of them instead on courses to re-take GCSE Maths, in which only 20 per cent passed at grade (more…)

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

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 3 January 2023

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…)

IOE at 120: Britain’s birth cohort studies find their home, 1992-2002

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 26 October 2022

A selection of birthday cards sent to members of the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohort studies in the 1990s.

A selection of birthday cards sent to members of the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohort studies in the 1990s.

This blog is the 10th in a series of 12 exploring each decade in IOE’s history in the context of the education and society of the times. Find out more about our 120th anniversary celebrations on our website, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up with everything that’s happening. 

Meghan Rainsberry.

The 1990s was a decade in history when two great pillars of British social science came together – IOE, and the British birth cohort studies.

Following generations of Britons from cradle to grave, birth cohort studies have been a unique feature of medical and social science in Britain since the original birth cohort study was established in 1946. It was a first for Britain, and the world.

Today, the successors of the 1946 cohort are all housed together at the IOE’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies: the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study and the Millennium Cohort Study. The original 1946 cohort is not far away, just a few doors down at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL.

You’ll often hear the studies referred to as the ‘jewels in the crown’ of British social science. But if you wind the clock back to the 1980s, they were (more…)

England’s invisible teenagers: how should we support the 10,000 14 to 16-year-olds in FE colleges?

By Blog Admin, on 7 October 2022

 

Three teen girls wearing hijabs holding hands descending concrete steps

Credit: Cultura Creative / Adobe Stock

Lynne Rogers and Catherine Sezen.

More than 100 of the 228 colleges[1] in England provide education for 14-16-year-olds who have found that mainstream school does not meet their needs. The 10,000 plus young people who take up these places are often overlooked, even invisible, in policy terms, falling between school and Further Education (FE).

Research on the combined experience of these students is non-existent. There is no coherent understanding of the curriculum and wider support offered, whether this varies according to local decision-making arrangements and what factors contribute to success or otherwise. What we do know is that the likelihood of many of these young people dropping out and becoming ‘not in (more…)

IOE at 120: the parallel lives of the Institute and the ILEA, 1982-1992

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 30 September 2022

Newsam Library. Credit: Matt Clayton.

This blog is the ninth in a series of 12 exploring each decade in IOE’s history in the context of the education and society of the times. Find out more about our 120th anniversary celebrations on our website, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up with everything that’s happening. 

Peter Mortimore.

During the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher’s Government sought to wean education away from anything tinged with progressivism to something more in tune with the Conservative Party’s traditions. In London, this meant mounting an attack on the two dominant and interactive players: the University of London’s Institute of Education (as it was known then) and the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA). By the end of the decade only one would have survived.

IOE, founded in 1902, had increased in size and reputation, as readers of the earlier blogs will know, and, by the beginning of the decade, was the largest university establishment dedicated to education in the country. In 1983 Denis Lawton was appointed Director. An ILEA teacher, he had come to the Institute in 1963 as a research officer for Basil Bernstein and his Institute career had developed over the years. He became a professor in 1974 and the deputy director in 1978.

Like all universities, IOE had suffered cutbacks in funding due to the oil price shocks of the 1970s. Several London University institutions had merged in order to (more…)

SEND Green Paper: How do we update the processes used in the SEND system to make it more efficient?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 26 September 2022

Early diagnosis is crucial. Photo:  RetyiRetyi / Pixabay

Miriam McBreen and Jo Van Herwegen.

In our second blog post responding to the DFE’s Green Paper on the future of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP), we look at how processes need to change to ensure the system more effectively supports these pupils.

This includes a need to improve the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process, in particular with regards to diagnosis and labelling, and to support practitioners to work more effectively with families.

First of all, the EHCP process needs updating. While the SEND code of practice suggests actively involving the child and parents, our research suggests the child’s voice is often not captured where it could be. Research from Tyan and Van Herwegen suggests the voices of children with intellectual disabilities as young as five years old can be accurately captured when professionals have appropriate training. This highlights the (more…)

SEND Green Paper: how can we update the system to improve children and young people’s experiences and outcomes?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 23 September 2022

Photo: olly via Adobe Stock

 Jo Van Herwegen and Miriam McBreen.

Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) too often report negative experiences of the UK educational system, and have poorer outcomes compared to their peers.

Responding to the Department for Education’s Green Paper on the future of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP), we consider how provision can be improved to ensure that more children and young people have positive educational experiences, as well as better outcomes.

In the first of three blogs, we propose ways to improve standards for supporting children with SEND, both during their time in school and beyond.

First of all, standards should be established to support pupils with SEND during transitions, such as the move from primary (more…)

Receiving Ofsted ratings ‘below good’ can act as a barrier to school improvement

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 7 June 2022

Bernardita Munoz-Chereau, Jo Hutchinson and  Melanie Ehren. 

Finding ways to solve the stubborn underperformance of around 580 schools in England is high on the government’s agenda. The Schools White Paper ‘Opportunity for All: Strong schools with great teachers for your child’ sets out the government’s plans over the coming years, with strategies to address schools with successive ‘requires improvement’ (RI) grades.

Yet since 2017 Ofsted has focused on a group of schools judged as ‘requires improvement’, ‘satisfactory’ or ‘inadequate’ in every inspection over more than a decade. Subsequently, Ofsted conducted qualitative case studies of 10 ‘stuck’ and 10 ‘unstuck’ schools. ‘Fight or flight? How ‘‘Stuck’’ schools are overcoming isolation’ reports that ‘stuck’ schools need more targeted assistance, following more thorough and detailed inspections that are not tied to overall grades .

Our two-year mixed-methods research project studying ‘Stuck’ schools’, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, concluded that (more…)

IOE at 120: the Second World War and the educative society, 1942-1952

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 18 May 2022

THE NEW BOY Mr RA Butler: “It may not seem very easy at first but you’ll soon settle down.”

This blog is the fifth in a series of 12 exploring each decade in IOE’s history in the context of the education and society of the times. Find out more about our 120th anniversary celebrations on our website, and follow us on TwitterInstagramFacebook and LinkedIn to keep up with everything that’s happening.

Gary McCulloch.

The decade from 1942 to 1952 went from some of the most difficult and dangerous days of the Second World War, to the stirring of hopes that an educative society could be created in which educational values underpinned the reconstruction of society.

For the IOE it might be called Fred Clarke’s decade. When he died in January 1952, 70 years ago, Professor A.V. Judges at King’s College London, could recall him as ‘the doyen of pedagogic leaders in his own country… a reformer through and through’. To former students like the historian Brian Simon, he was ‘the leading educational statesman in Britain’.

It was Clarke who presided over the early development of the Institute of Education under its new title at the University of London as its director from 1936 to 1945, through the challenges of the war years when the IOE had to be evacuated from London to a temporary home in Nottingham.

Clarke was acutely aware of the social class inequalities on which English education had been based.  He was also concerned to help to promote a new social philosophy that would be ‘in harmony with that which inspires a generous education’. He (more…)