The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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The rise of Edu-Twitter: chat, collaboration and CPD

By Karen Wespieser

Globally, Twitter is stagnating with some even saying the end is nigh for the micro-blogging site. However, in the education sphere, Twitter is booming. It even has its own abbreviated proper noun: Edu-Twitter. In 2014, of the half a billion tweets that were posted every day, 4.2 million were related to education. This weekend, @theNFER reached the milestone of 10,000 followers, so it seems a good time to reflect on what Twitter means in education and why it is so popular.
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Don’t forget the ‘parent’ in transparent when it comes to the role of Regional Schools Commissioners

By Karen Wespieser

Today the Education Select Committee published their report on The role of Regional Schools Commissioners.

NFER provided evidence to the inquiry – both written and oral – based on our Guide to Regional Schools Commissioners. Our Guide explained the background and role of the RSCs, and presented an analysis of characteristics and challenges for each region, including the number of ‘coasting’ schools that the RSCs will need to tackle if the Education and Adoption Bill becomes law. Continue reading


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Validity and baseline assessment

By Marian Sainsbury, assessment expert, former Primary teacher, and NFER research associate

Much of the recent controversy about baseline assessment has centred on arguments about its validity. However, this term is widely used and abused with little attention to its real meaning – for example, the phrase ‘statistically invalid’ in a recent letter to the Guardian is literally meaningless. Continue reading


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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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Green shoots at the grassroots will grow a better profession

By guest blogger Alex Quigley, Director of Learning and Research at Huntington School, York

Few subjects in education can offer the promise of a consensus of opinion. Teachers, politicians and the mass of organisations in between, rarely agree on anything. And yet, there is a small number of emerging themes on which, it seems, many of us can find common ground – such as the need for a self-improving school system. Continue reading


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Standards and status – supporting the role of evidence in a College of Teaching

By Kelly Kettlewell

On Tuesday this week the Government announced plans to develop a College of Teaching, to ‘drive forward the culture change which is already starting to make teaching a more evidence-based profession which confidently grounds its practice in robust research and evaluation’. It will be supported by, but independent of, government and a consultation is now live.
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Precious mettle can transform FE practice

By guest blogger Andrew Morris, education consultant and member of the Learning and Skills Research Network

Augmented reality for bricklayers, ‘clinical interviews’ for numeracy students, practitioner enquiry for trainers tackling gang culture – what’s the common thread? Continue reading