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Institute of Education Blog


Expert opinion from academics at the UCL Institute of Education


Closing the gap: we need the best teachers in the most deprived schools

Blog Editor, IOE Digital4 September 2017

Becky Francis. 
Our society is stuck in a rut on social mobility – or rather, immobility. For decades, governments of every persuasion have sought to improve social mobility, to narrow the gap between young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers. But that gap – in education, income, housing, health – continues to yawn. It is time to think more radically.
Recent months have seen a steady flow of research evidence documenting this problem. Two reports published this summer are good examples. Closing the Gap: Trends in Educational Attainment and from the Education Policy Institute, reveals that the most disadvantaged pupils in England are now on average more than two full years of learning behind non-disadvantaged pupils by the end of secondary school. (more…)

Physics: why it’s still a guy thing

Blog Editor, IOE Digital24 February 2017

Becky Francis
The movie Hidden Figures, which has just opened in the UK, tells the story of three African-American women who played key roles at NASA in the space race of the 1960s. Katherine Johnson devised the maths that made sure the first manned space flights would return safely to Earth. Mary Jackson had to petition a judge for permission to study engineeringat a segregated ‘whites only’ school and became NASA’s first black female engineer. These women broke racial and gender barriers.
This was half a century ago, but barriers persist. 
A great deal of effort has gone into encouraging girls into traditionally male subjects such as physics, engineering and mathematics. But the attitudes of men, women, boys and girls
themselves continue to stand in the way. Studies have shown that, even when equally qualified, girls are much less likely than boys to study ‘hard’ sciences to an advanced level and even less to become physicists and engineers. Our latest analysis, funded by the (more…)