The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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researchED 2015 – factchecking claims isn’t just about accuracy

By Amy Sippitt, Education Lead at Full Fact.

At the ITV general election leaders’ debate back in April, Nick Clegg claimed:

“If we want to make sure that our own youngsters get the jobs…we’ve got to train them up. Over the last five years we’ve got two million more people starting apprenticeships”.

He’s right that there was an increase of two million, but these new apprentices don’t necessarily represent better qualified youngsters. Look at the breakdown of the data and the biggest increase in starts was for those over 25, who made up 4 in 10 of the new starts. In other words—apprenticeship starts for the over 25s more than tripled, while starts for the under 19s increased by 3%. Continue reading


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Your school staffing mission, should you choose to accept it…

By Geoff Gee

You are a governor at Felpersham Comprehensive. Your long serving head of physics is retiring next year. What are you going to do about replacing her? Will anything being discussed in the run-up to the election make any difference to what you decide to do? Continue reading


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School Choice, a social mobility issue?

By Karen Wespieser

Yesterday,  I wrote about how, according to new NFER research, a majority of parents feel that they have a genuine choice in choosing a school. I also noted how local factors, such as the ‘school that suits my child’ and the location of the school were some of the most important factors in this choice. However, there is a little more nuance to this second point that needs to be explored… Continue reading


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WANTED – MPs with teaching experience for new Select Committee

By Geoff Gee

Education policy is better for having a process of rigorous scrutiny that draws on robust evidence. The Education Select Committee has become a key part of that process. So one outcome of the General Election will be to determine who is available to serve on the Committee, which will be key to how effective it is in the next Parliament.  Continue reading


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Young people find their election voice

By Ben Durbin, Head of Impact

Last night was the night that the voice of young people finally broke through into the election campaign.  After education’s absence from last week’s interviews with Cameron and Miliband, it was especially edifying to see a young politics student asking the opening question (on the budget deficit), and at once establishing his own credentials as a future leader (on twitter at least!)…

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We don’t need no education?

By Ben Durbin, Head of Impact

Last night, David Cameron and Ed Miliband faced questions from Jeremy Paxman and members of the public in the first set piece event of the election campaign.  So, in the week that education moved up the polls to become the fifth most important issue facing Britain (after immigration, the NHS, the economy and unemployment), how did it feature?

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