The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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Vocational studies and T-Levels: what will be different this time around?

By Claudia Sumner

As the issue of skills rises up the educational agenda and the number of 18-year-olds going to university falls, the Government is driving through one of the biggest shake-ups in the English qualifications system for years. The introduction of new ‘T levels’ is designed to help tackle Britain’s productivity challenge and to raise the profile of technical education. They will also replace the plethora of vocational qualifications currently on offer in each technical area with just one recognisable qualification type.  Continue reading


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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


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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