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Evidence for excellence in education


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Keeping up with the Jönses: European mechanisms for evidence-informed policymaking

By Sigrid Boyd and Claudia Sumner

Second of a three-part blog series on evidence-informed policymaking.

Promoting the use of evidence in policymaking is something to which politicians often pay lip service – no-one wants to appear ill-informed or unaware of the outcome of previous policy initiatives. But many politicians are not experts in the field prior to ministerial appointment and they, consequently, rely heavily upon the structures in place to inform and support their decisions. In our previous blog post, NFER looked at the ‘what works’ centres that exist in England to synthesise research findings into evidence that policy-makers can actually use. Continue reading


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Importance of evidence in a post-truth world

By Julie Nelson and Claudia Sumner

First of a three-part blog series on evidence-informed policymaking.

Following a bruising election campaign, which saw an ideological fight seldom witnessed in British politics, the Prime Minister and her ministers must get down to the business of policy-making. Continue reading


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The truth about the Phonics Screening Check

By Matt Walker

Last week the Department for Education (DfE) published the final report from NFER’s three-year evaluation into the impact of the Phonics Screening Check (PSC). The evaluation explored schools’ phonics teaching practices and sought to establish whether there is any evidence that the introduction of the check has had an impact on the standard of reading and writing. Continue reading


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Local schools for local kids

By Karen Wespieser

It is now 10 years since Alastair Campbell’s now infamous claim that the days of the ‘bog-standard comprehensive’ are over.  Whether or not this is true, I have been discussing this in a series of blogs on school choice (School Choice, a social mobility issue? and I have a choice), how a majority of parents still want to rely on their local school. Continue reading


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I have a choice

By Karen Wespieser

Today, parents up and down the country will be anxiously waiting to hear if their son or daughter has been accepted to join their chosen primary school. Next year, I will be joining the nervous masses, but this year I am just gearing up for it. In fact, last weekend, I spent much of my time looking at the websites of local primary schools and discussing with my husband the factors that are important to us in choosing the school that our three-year-old daughter might attend. Whilst admittedly slightly ahead of the curve (well what would you expect from an education researcher and an English teacher), this is a choice that an ever increasing number of families will need to make this autumn.

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The ‘what, why and how’ of research engagement – NFER’s new resource for schools

By Julie Nelson

According to a recent NFER blog post by Deputy Headteacher Alex Quigley, engaging with research is a potentially powerful tool to support change and autonomy in schools. But what does ‘engaging with research’ mean? Why does it matter? And how can your school get started? Continue reading


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Why understanding research engagement will help grow an evidence-led profession

By guest blogger Matt Inniss, Subject Leader for History and an Economics Teacher at Paddington Academy in Westminster

The ‘ResearchEd’ movement is gaining momentum. This is a grassroots effort by teachers to shape the agenda in educational research, CPD and use of evidence to inform our practice. Continue reading