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Archive for the 'Evidence-based policy' Category

Maximizing the use and impact of the UK’s longitudinal research data

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 24 January 2023

Connections and networks between moving people in a busy train station.

Credit: alice_photo via Adobe Stock.

Rob Davies.

As CLOSER marks its 10-year anniversary, we’re looking back over the evolution of the home of longitudinal research in the UK.

The studies

The UK funds a number of internationally renowned longitudinal population studies (LPS). Each tracks a large sample of individuals over a number of years. In some cases they follow cohorts of around 17,000 born in the same year, from cradle to grave. In others, they follow a cohort for a shorter period, and the sample may be defined by age and/or, for instance, where these individuals live or work. The data this generates have been invaluable for analysing social as well as biomedical research questions and informing policy. The primary funders are the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC).

Each of the studies is powerful in itself, but the LPS community were more ambitious still, looking to amplify the insights they could provide by combining the data they generate. (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…)

Phonics teaching in England needs to change – our new research points to a better approach

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 20 January 2022

 
Sokor Space/Shutterstock

Dominic Wyse and Alice Bradbury.

Arguments about the best way to teach children to read can be intense – they’ve even been described as “the reading wars”. In England, as in many other countries, much of the debate has been over the use of phonics, which helps children understand how sounds – “phonemes” – are represented by letters.

The government requires teachers to use a particular type of phonics teaching called “synthetic phonics”, and the emphasis on this technique has become overwhelming in English primary schools.

Supporters of synthetic phonics teaching have argued that teaching of phonemes and letters should be first and foremost. On the other side have been supporters of whole language instruction, who think that reading whole texts – books for example – should come first and foremost.

Our new research shows that synthetic phonics alone is not the best way to teach children to read. We found that a more (more…)

School based trainee teachers seek more, not less, of a role for universities

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 10 September 2021

Jane Tillin.

The Government’s Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Market Review has received widespread criticism from universities and school leaders. Their concerns include the prescriptive nature of the proposals and implications for the quality of teacher education and school partnerships. There are concerns that the proposed model promotes professional compliance rather than autonomy and further marginalises universities’ role in new teachers’ learning. Now that we have heard from universities and school leaders, where are the voices of the student teachers themselves?

My new study sought to understand the perspectives of primary and early years teachers who were completing a significant employment-based ITT programme at the IOE. The study examined trainee perspectives on the roles of the scheme’s three partnership organisations in their learning and in turn consider the implications for (more…)

The Core Content Framework and the fallacy of a teacher training ‘curriculum’

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 2 September 2021

Clare Brooks.

One of the controversies to arise from the discussions about the government’s ITT market review is the role and place of a government mandated curriculum for initial teacher education.

In 2019 the government introduced its ITT Core Content Framework (CCF). This was promoted as a minimum entitlement for trainees, and as representing the best evidence for what teacher training programmes should contain (The claim that the CCF is based on the “best evidence” is highly contestable). The Ofsted ITE Inspection Framework emphasises fidelity to the CCF and the Market Review recommendations would reinforce this as the central point of teacher education programmes. This highlights the question of the value and efficacy of a mandated curriculum for teacher
education, at least one in the form of the CCF.

What a new teacher needs to know
Teachers require a combination of practical knowledge, sometimes referred to as skills, and (more…)

This is no time for a mass experiment on teacher education

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 13 August 2021

Alexandra_Koch / Pixabay

Caroline Daly.

We have until 22 August to respond to a DfE consultation about the proposal to radically restructure Initial Teacher Education (ITE). The proposals, in practice, pave the way to close existing programmes of ITE in England from as early as 2023, replacing them with an experimental form of provision that will be subject to approval by a centralised Accreditation Board (about which there is little detail). These proposals have been put forward from the DfE despite much ITE enjoying excellent track records, highly experienced school partnerships and expert staff.

The proposal is for existing ITE provision in England to be replaced by a system that is experimental on several levels, in terms of: student recruitment; curriculum; assessment; quality assurance and, crucially, stakeholder roles.  This includes the possibility of universities becoming redundant or certainly optional for ITE as new entities are created to extend degree awarding powers to other providers. Government will require all providers to be reaccredited in order to continue recruiting from September 2022.

This is in a system where, almost exactly one year ago, all of the 340 initial teacher training (ITT) partnerships that were inspected in the most recent national Ofsted cycle were judged to be good or outstanding. We can only speculate as to why the government had so little trust in the comprehensive and sustained judgements of the entire system that were concluded just one year ago. In July this (more…)

School History’s alternative futures: how should children make sense of the past?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 29 July 2021

derwiki / Pixabay

Arthur Chapman.

Parallel worlds are a staple in popular culture – in Dr Who, His Dark Materials, The Man in the High Castle, The Chronicles of Narnia and elsewhere. It is nevertheless surprising to find visions of what school history can be from what might almost be alternative worlds of assumptions appearing a mere week apart on gov.co.uk: Ofsted’s research review on History education, and a speech by Schools Minister Nick Gibb published last week.

As far as ideas about school history teaching and curriculum are concerned, the Schools Minister’s speech might almost have been written at any time since 2010. Arguments familiar from policy interventions  over the last decade are re-presented – drawing on E.D. Hirsch’s research from the 1970s (which concluded that deprived students’ reading comprehension appeared worse because they lacked the background knowledge of their middle (more…)

Why do British Bangladeshis have some of the worst Covid outcomes in the UK?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 9 July 2021

geralt / Pixabay

Victoria Redclift and Kusha Anand.

As the Government lifts the remaining Covid restrictions, many scientists, politicians and commentators fear that this latest phase of the pandemic will again bring greater risk to those with insecure and public-facing jobs. Many of these people are from ethnic minorities, and our recent research helps explain why they have been disproportionately affected throughout the past 18 months. It suggests that racial discrimination in employment has played a part.

The pandemic has drawn our attention to pre-existing inequalities. In the Covid-19 crisis, ethnic inequalities show up in two fundamental ways: first, through exposure to infection, and second, through the impact of lockdown on income.

At the same time, the consequences of the crisis are not uniform across minority ethnic groups. Understanding why these variations exist is imperative for thinking about the role policy can play in tackling inequalities. According to Public Health England, the people most at risk of dying of Covid have been of Bangladeshi ethnicity. They have been twice as likely to die as white British people and, if treated in (more…)

The right support at the right time for new teachers

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 26 March 2021

Hilary Adli, Qing Gu, Mark Quinn, UCL Centre for Educational Leadership.

Workshop participants in a session

Photo: Jason Ilagan for UCL Institute of Education

Two years ago, when the Department for Education published their Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, this ‘unflinching’ look into the problems faced by the teaching profession was dedicated to ensuring that ‘a career in teaching continues to be attractive, sustainable and rewarding.’ However, it couldn’t have anticipated a future pandemic and the requirement to teach remotely as among the problems faced by the profession. (more…)