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Leave policies review: getting serious about more equal parenting

Blog Editor, IOE Digital21 September 2022

darkside-550 / Pixabay

Alison Koslowski, Peter Moss and Margaret O’Brien.

In 2015, the UK government introduced Shared Parental Leave (SPL), a measure to encourage more equal parenting. It enabled mothers to transfer up to 50 of their 52 weeks of Maternity leave, and some of the associated benefit, to fathers.

A government evaluation began in 2018, but has yet to deliver. It is clear, though, that SPL has not worked. A minister, in 2017, told the House of Commons’ Women & Equalities Committee that she ‘would regard anything over 20% [take up] as very encouraging’. A new analysis by Maternity Action comes up with the discouraging news that in 2021/22, ‘take-up among an assumed 285,000 eligible fathers was just 2.8%…just 8,100 fathers’. Just 0.66% of total public expenditure on Maternity and Paternity leave went on SPL.

Experience from countries with more successful leave policies provides pointers to what has gone wrong. That experience is available in the recently published 18th annual international review on leave policies, produced by a network of experts led by Professor Alison Koslowski, director
of UCL’s Thomas Coram Research Unit. The review brings together details of parenting leaves and other support for employed parents in 49 (more…)

Does educational disadvantage persist among children of care leavers?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 September 2022

Sam Parsons, Emla Fitzsimons and Ingrid Schoon.

There has been persistent research evidence that care-leavers tend to have lower educational outcomes compared to their peers. But there is little knowledge about the educational experiences of their children.

Our research, presented today at the British Educational Research Association annual conference in Liverpool, finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of educational disadvantage already in the very early years (age 3 and 5) through to GCSE attainment at age 16. However, once inequalities in family socio-economic background or area deprivation and housing are controlled for, children of care-leaver mothers perform just (more…)

Financial literacy part 3: Are there socio-economic differences in how parents interact with their children about money?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 February 2022

John Jerrim.

In the previous blog in this series I investigated socio-economic differences in young people’s financial skills. This focused upon the types of financial questions that young people from advantaged backgrounds can successfully answer, that their peers from disadvantaged backgrounds can’t.

In this next blog, I start to consider socio-economic differences in one of the key inputs into the development of young people’s financial skills – the role of their parents. Are there certain things that higher-income parents do with their offspring to nurture their financial skills, that lower-income parents do not?

Lets take a look (with further details available in the academic paper here). (more…)

Financial literacy part 4: Do disadvantaged children receive enough financial education in school?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 February 2022

John Jerrim.

In the third blog in this series I started to investigate socio-economic differences in the inputs into young people’s financial skills, focusing upon the role of parents.

Schools, of course, also have a key role in helping to develop children’s financial skills. Therefore, in this final blog of the series, we turn to socio-economic gaps in the provision of financial education within primary and secondary schools.

Big gaps in primary schools

Let’s start by looking at what happens in primary school. Figure 1 illustrates the percent of primary pupils who say they have been taught various financial skills at school, stratified by socio-economic background.

There are two striking results. (more…)

Safer Internet Day 2022: 7 things for parents and teachers to think about

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 February 2022

StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay

Sandra Leaton Gray and Andy Phippen.

  1. Don’t panic! Most of the time, most young people are using digital technology safely and for positive reasons. However, that is not the sort of headline that will sell newspapers and generate traffic to their websites and, moreover, it is not the sort of message that will generate many donations to NGOs and charities.
  2. Remember that being online is not the same as crossing the road, despite what you might be told. While we might talk about road safety as a concept, applying that to the online world is problematic. The road setting tends not to change too much, and crossing the road is a relatively straightforward operation that can be addressed with simple safety instructions. In contrast, there are always new aspects to the online world, new games, apps, platforms and devices. We have to bear that in mind when (more…)

Making time to care: parental leave today and tomorrow

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 September 2021

darkside-550 / Pixabay

Peter Moss and Alison Koslowski.

Work-life balance and gender equality are firmly on today’s political agenda, nationally and internationally. Key to achieving both is parenting leave, including maternity, paternity and parental leave, as well as leave for parents to care for sick children. Our new report, freely available online, provides an invaluable source of information about parenting leave, in the UK and 46 other countries.

The annual international review on leave policies is produced by a network of experts from many countries, across six continents including nearly all of Europe. As well as full details of parenting leaves in all 47 countries covered and cross-national tables, the review has information on recent developments in leave policy, take-up, the relationship between leave policies and early childhood services, plus a section on responses to Covid, covering early childhood services, schools, changes to leave policies and other support for parents.

At 645 pages, the 17th annual international review of the leave network is hard to summarise. Here are just a few tasters. What’s immediately striking is the great diversity in how countries design and implement leave policies – even between member states of the European Union, where directives set minimum standards for (more…)

‘You’re the best!’ Your belief in your kids’ academic ability can actually improve their grades

Blog Editor, IOE Digital30 June 2021

Shutterstock

Philip D. ParkerJake Anders, Rhiannon Parker,  and Taren Sanders.

We have all met the parent who thinks their kid is the next Picasso or Einstein regardless of the evidence. But it’s hard to know if these beliefs are helpful or harmful.

Overly optimistic parents could reduce their kids’ drive to work harder and give them a false idea of the opportunities available to them. Or this same optimism could fill the child with confidence, kindle their self-belief and give them the courage to try harder.

We set out to discover which of these possibilities is most likely. We found a mother’s optimism about how good their child is in maths and reading (more…)

How the COVID-19 home-schooling experience can boost creativity and enhance teacher feedback

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 October 2020

Sara Bubb.

You might expect that the lockdown imposed by Covid-19 last spring would undermine schools’ progress in engaging pupils with more creative teaching and learning. But in the Norwegian municipality where I am involved in school improvement, this has not been the case at all.

Much has been written about the negative impact of the pandemic on pupils’ education but research that I conducted with Mari-Ana Jones has found much to celebrate about remote teaching and learning.

When the Covid-19 lockdown hit, it looked like a severe obstacle to the gains in creative teaching made between September and March, but surveys in April 2020 of teachers, parents and carers and pupils aged 6-9 and 10-16 showed that was far from the case. There was more creative learning, better progress, more useful feedback and greater student independence. School leaders (more…)

What food-insecure children want you to know about hunger

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 September 2020

Rebecca O’Connell, and Julia Brannen.

Footballer and food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford has rebuked Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake on Twitter for suggesting that parents who need help to feed their children are failing in their responsibilities.

Children growing up in poverty today recognise it is their parents’ duty to make sure they are fed adequately. But, like Rashford, whose family struggled with food security when he was a child, they know from experience that parents cannot always fulfil this obligation. In this context, they argue, government and others have a responsibility to act.

Children speak out about hunger

We know this because we have asked children about this exact issue as part of our research into food poverty. In a European study of low-income families, we asked young people between 11 and 16 years old who they consider to be responsible for making sure children have access to enough decent food. Most children argued that parents, government and organisations like schools should work together to achieve this. Phoebe, age 16, whose father had lost his job in the local authority, said:

If a family is unable to provide food then I think it’s up to schools and government to kind of make that up, if there is really nothing that they can do. So free school meals and fruit at break I think is really important. I think it’s really important that there is enough money for schools to be able to provide free school meals, breakfast club and fruit and stuff like that.

However, attributing responsibility to those in power did not mean children exempted parents from taking responsibility. On the contrary, several young people talked about the (more…)

New study: empowering teachers, children and parents is the way to achieve the best early childhood education and care

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 July 2020

Yuwei Xu, Clare Brooks, Jie Gao and Eleanor Kitto.

The need to educate young children from home during the Covid crisis has caused early years staff and parents to rethink their roles.

At the IOE’s Centre for Teacher and Early Years Education (CTEY) we carried out an analysis of 19 national and regional early childhood curriculum frameworks across five continents. It reveals that most education systems see empowering educators, parents, and children as essential for effective and high-quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC).

Government evaluation reports on those national frameworks make it clear that educators, parents, and children should all be involved both in the policy making of (more…)