The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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‘There will always be NEET young people in the land’ – will it ever be different?

By guest blogger Dr. Thomas Spielhofer, Senior Researcher at The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

NFER hosted a seminar on NEETs at risk for the Tavistock Institute on 6th May 2015.

Over the last 20 years, there have been numerous reports, strategies and initiatives aimed at addressing the so called, ‘NEET problem’, but yet there is no sign that this problem is going away. This is not a bad thing for researchers like me who specialise in this area and can benefit from research funding to evaluate the latest initiative or project aimed at making sure that fewer young people are NEET (not in education, employment or training). However, from a human perspective, this is of course a great tragedy – as it shows that despite so much effort and cost expended on this, we’re still no closer to a solution.   Continue reading


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Work experience: let’s look beyond the photocopier

By guest bloggers Sarah Lynch, Senior Research Manager and Tami McCrone, Research Director (Impact).

The recent publication of advice to help schools, colleges and other training providers deliver quality work experience post-16 by the Department for Education (DfE) was very welcome – particularly as this advice was informed by our evaluation of the 16-19 Work Experience Trials. Continue reading


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Key competences and youth engagement – edging towards the Finnish line?

By guest blogger Rose Cook, Researcher

A familiar narrative to followers of educational debates is the Finnish success story. The country has been lauded in particular for its outstanding results in PISA, the OECD’s Programme of International Student Assessment, piquing the interest and envy of its competitor countries. Continue reading


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Whose needs will the new TechBacc serve?

The government has recently announced its plans to introduce a new TechBacc performance measure.  There must be virtually unanimous support among young people and stakeholders for such an idea, in particular I would expect this route to be appealing for young people who prefer and are more motivated by an applied learning route.  There are some valuable elements of the proposal, however, I also have some concerns about the detail, as well as the speed of its implementation. Continue reading