The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


Leave a comment

The future of technical and professional education: joining up the dots

By Tami McCrone

The Learning and Skills Research Network (LSRN) workshop held last week on the future of technical and professional education was as current, relevant and thought-provoking as ever. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Could it be that disengagement leads to poor skills?

By Tami McCrone

Last Thursday I attended two events in London: a Demos seminar reporting on ways to re-engage disengaged young people pre-16 years old, and an OECD seminar ‘Building skills for all – a review of England’ which offered policy insights from the survey of adult skills.
Continue reading


Leave a comment

Parents are in the dark about careers enlightenment for their children

By Tami McCrone

What did your child do at school today? An age old question that any parent will tell you is difficult to get an answer to at the best of times. In my house, I might achieve a grunt of ‘maths’ from my son, and perhaps a bit more of a detailed explanation of the latest graphics project from my daughter. But I don’t think any of my children ever came home and told me ‘we did careers education today mum and I’m interested in finding out more about working in business because that’s where my skills and interests lie!’
Continue reading


Leave a comment

Photocopying and making tea: How important is work experience?

By Anneka Dawson

What do stacking bookshelves for a bookshop and doing photocopying for an insurance company have in common? They were activities I completed for work experience weeks while I was at school that did very little to prepare me for the world of work.

The coalition government made the decision to end compulsory work experience in 2012, a decision which some are challenging. The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) workforce survey found that 76 per cent of 2,885 companies felt that a lack of work experience was one of the main reasons that young people were not ready for the workplace. This has led the BCC to call for a return to compulsory work experience. But are schools still using work experience placements, and how useful is work experience anyway? Continue reading


Leave a comment

V is for vocational… V is for valuable!

By Sarah Lynch

As a parent with (some) knowledge of the educational choices facing young people, I am already wondering what pathway my son will take…and he’s only five years old! Parental influence is so important, and our views are often swayed by the ‘traditional’ academic routes we might have taken ourselves. But there are other valuable routes available to young people that we should consider. Continue reading


Leave a comment

The primary consideration ‘should’ be the best interests of the young person

By Tami McCrone

As the election debates stagger on I find it interesting that there is so little focus on young people and preparing them for the challenging world of work ahead of them. I accept that I am an education researcher (so have quite an interest in this area) but it seems to me that the future of our country relies heavily on them. When I’m sitting in my rocking chair in years to come I want to be sure that our country’s economy, defence, health service (and education system) are in good hands.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

The poetry and prose of careers guidance

By Ben Durbin

It is said that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. While Labour’s education manifesto, launched last week, was hardly poetry, when it came to its commitments on careers guidance the sentiment was certainly right.  However, it was light on detail and raised as many questions as it answered.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

How do we create a more responsive skills system?

By guest blogger Philippa Mellish, Policy Manager, South East Strategic Leaders

Philippa Mellish speculates on skills beyond May’s election and signposts new resources to help schools, colleges and SMEs have one conversation, do just one thing, to shape a fit for purpose skills system Continue reading