Why does Vietnam do so well in PISA? An example of why naive interpretation of international rankings is such a bad idea

A version of this post was first published in Research Intelligence, the British Educational Research Association’s termly magazine. When the PISA 2015 results were released in December last year, Vietnam was one of the countries that stood out as doing remarkably well. (PISA is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s triennial assessment of 15-year-olds [...]

By | July 19th, 2017|Exams and assessment, International studies|

A short history of Ofsted short inspections

Is it proportionate for schools with a good inspection rating to receive inspections the same in length and scope to those received by schools which had exhibited weaknesses in the recent past? That, in short, was the thinking when new, short inspections for schools with good ratings were introduced by Sir Michael Wilshaw in September [...]

By | July 13th, 2017|School accountability|

Falling disadvantage rates mean London schools are having to get used to life with less Pupil Premium funding

Figures came out recently that showed that the proportion of children eligible for free school meals (FSM) was at its lowest level since 2001 [PDF], when pupil-level information on this was first collected nationally. This is likely to be for a combination of reasons: an economy that has improved since the early 2010s, meaning fewer parents [...]

By | July 10th, 2017|Pupil demographics, School funding|

Assessing the use and misuse of Newly Qualified Teachers

Last Thursday at the Festival of Education, Sam Sims and I presented new research from our forthcoming book, The Teacher Gap, on the small number of schools that appear to be knowingly running a recruit-burnout-replace staffing model. The talk was written up by Schools Week and you can read the whole story of these teachers [...]

By | June 29th, 2017|Teacher careers|

Are more pupils really taking arts subjects?

Schools Week last week published a handy summary of Ofqual’s release of summer 2017 examination entry statistics. It notes that entries in EBacc subjects have risen whilst entries in other subjects have fallen. This raises the question of whether the EBacc is crowding other subjects out of the curriculum. In defence of the EBacc, Schools [...]

By | June 23rd, 2017|Exams and assessment, School accountability|

What does North Yorkshire tell us about how reliable the 11-plus is?

Congratulations! You’ve passed your 11-plus. How confident do you feel that you would have passed if you had sat a slightly different test on a different day of the week? In our recent analysis of the Kent 11-plus we expressed concern that the issue of who passes is incredibly sensitive to slight variation in candidate [...]

By | May 26th, 2017|Admissions|

Can free breakfasts for all primary pupils really be delivered for £60m?

Update, 24 May 2017, 13:14: Schools Week have reported that the Conservatives are distancing themselves from the £60m figure. One of the more eye-catching proposals in the Conservatives’ manifesto was the plan to drop universal infant free schools meals (UIFSMs) and bring in free breakfasts for all primary pupils [PDF]. While no further details were [...]

By | May 23rd, 2017|School funding|

How many language teachers would we need to reach the Conservatives’ 75% EBacc target?

The Conservatives’ manifesto has revised the party’s commitment to require all students to study the English Baccalaureate subjects at Key Stage 4. It now has a more modest proposal that 75% of students should study the EBacc by the end of the next parliament [PDF]. To be considered to have entered the EBacc a child [...]

Young people are taking fewer A-Levels as qualification reforms kick in and per-student spending falls

Post-16 education is in a period of flux, with major qualification reforms and a drop in per-student spending. Reformed A-Levels began to be introduced from September 2015, with a concurrent decoupling of AS-Levels. And, as the IFS have reported [PDF], spending per student in school sixth forms and further education has been falling since 2010/11. [...]

By | May 18th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|