The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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Bullying: what’s new?

By Liz Puntan

Since my last blog post in June, bullying has been very much on the radar through the publication of new research, the launch of a new anti-bullying initiative, and the release of updated guidance for schools and parents from the Welsh and UK Governments.  I’ve produced this update to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week 2015, to refocus attention on this important topic through outlining these important developments and exploring the next steps in tackling bullying. Continue reading


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The importance of knowing what doesn’t work

By Ben Styles

This blog post leads on from a previous blog on ‘The importance of not making a difference,’ and is taken from a more detailed article.

I have recently been reminded of the difficulty we face when trying to communicate null or negative findings from research. In Spring 2013, a team from Coventry University delivered the Chatterbooks programme as part of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) funded by the Education Endowment Foundation. Chatterbooks is an extracurricular reading initiative that aims to increase a child’s motivation to read by providing schools with tools and resources to encourage reading for pleasure. In this trial, Chatterbooks was delivered instead of normal lessons. Continue reading


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Boarding schools can provide a springboard for disadvantaged pupils

By Suzanne Straw

The benefits for the less than one per cent of pupils in England who have the privilege to attend fee paying boarding schools are widely acknowledged. However, what are the impacts of offering fully funded boarding school places to disadvantaged pupils? This is a subject less well researched over recent years and is the focus of an evaluation of The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation (‘SpringBoard’) being undertaken by NFER between 2013 and 2018. The second year evaluation report can be found here.

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Regional Schools Commissioners and the performance of multi-academy trusts

By Ben Durbin

Substantial and increasing numbers of English schools are run by Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs), and yet we currently have no consistent and agreed upon method for assessing how well these MATs are performing.

This is one of the issues that was touched upon during yesterday’s Select Committee hearing on Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs), which I was invited to appear before. Continue reading