The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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London Callings

By Jack Worth and Louis Coiffait

Although the proportions of teachers joining and leaving the profession in London is largely balanced, as in the rest of the country, both occur at higher levels in the capital. New NFER analysis finds that, relative to the rest of England, London faces the greatest challenges retaining its school teachers and leaders. A higher share of working-age staff are leaving to teach elsewhere in England or in other London education jobs, or are becoming unemployed. Continue reading


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TIMSS and PISA results: Seeing past the headlines

By Ben Durbin

This blog post first appeared on the IEA blog.

Education research does not often make newspaper headlines. Even less often does it make headlines in multiple countries around the world. In just a few weeks time we will see a rare exception. Continue reading


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English Baccalaureate: still much to do..

By Lucy Ellis

In November 2015, the Department for Education (DfE) issued a consultation document on implementing the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Launched in 2011, the EBacc was introduced by the then coalition government to encourage pupils to study more traditional subjects. It is achieved by studying GCSEs in certain subjects: English, maths, science, history or geography, and a foreign language.  Pupils are required to achieve a good pass in five of these ‘components’ in order to achieve the EBacc. Continue reading


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Putting staff engagement at the heart of school leadership

By David Weston

NFER has shown that engaging staff lies at the heart of retaining them but how do school leaders put that into action? The report suggests that there a number of aspects of staff engagement that are particularly  associated with staff retention, including job satisfaction, having adequate resources, reward and recognition, and being well-supported by management. Continue reading


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Is evidence good for absolutely nothing?

By Ben Durbin

“What is evidence good for?  Absolutely nothing!”  This was one of the memorable moments from Campbell Collaboration CEO Howard White’s opening speech at the What Works Global Summit this week (quickly followed by the qualification: “Unless it gets into policy and practice”) Continue reading


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Developing spelling tests: what’s so hard about that?

By Laura Lynn

In 2014, NFER released its year five spelling suite, consisting of a set of three spelling tests and a teacher guide, followed by complementary suites for years three and four in 2015. The development of each suite took at least 12 months. Continue reading


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Executive Headteachers: What’s in a Name?

By Karen Wespieser

The naming of reports can be a tricky affair. Try to be too witty and the meaning becomes obtuse. Try to be too literal and it sounds boring. But the naming of our new report on executive headteachers (EHTs) didn’t suffer from this problem. One of the considerations we faced from day one of the project was understanding the great variety and breadth of the role. There is more than one kind of executive headteacher and the role is still evolving in response to the self-improving school system, so understanding what’s in a name was a pivotal part of the project. Continue reading