We hope you find our EMC blogs interesting. Views expressed do not necessarily represent EMC policy.

15, September, 2017

Reception baseline assessment: dangerous, inappropriate and flawed data

Alice Bradbury and Guy Roberts-Holmes.  In its response to the consultation document Primary Assessment in England  the Government announced its intention to make baseline assessment statutory (along with the existing EYFS Profile) from Autumn 2020. Justine Greening’s Ministerial forward states that the Reception Baseline Assessment ‘must produce data that is reliable and trusted’. However our research into the 2015 Reception […]

22, June, 2017

Policy briefing – making sense of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) results

  By Professor Paul Ashwin, Centre for Global Higher Education In English higher education, the results of the second round of a new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) will be announced tomorrow. In a Centre for Global Higher Education policy briefing published today ( ), Professor Paul Ashwin outlines the purpose of the TEF, how it works, and discusses […]

19, June, 2017

The trials of evidence-based education

By Professor Stephen Gorard, Durham University Education like health, housing, and criminal justice is one the major commitments of the state to public service. But research on education has until recently been heavily criticised for not providing an evidence-base secure enough for such high public expenditure and such an important issue for young lives. The Evidence-based education (EBE) […]

14, June, 2017

From the IOE blog: Understanding youth turnout in GenElec2017: some comments, cautions and caveats

By Avril Keating. This blog first appeared on the IOE blog page on 13th June 2017. This post has been re-blogged from the Centre for Global Youth website. Youth turnout in the British general election has once again been the focus of much media attention and social media comment, with some calling this election a “youthquake”. In this blog, I […]

5, June, 2017

From the IOE blog: greater entitlement to free school meals would reduce stigma, shame ­– and hunger

This blog originally appeared on the IOE blog. By Rebecca O’Connell, Julia Brannen and Abigail Knight.  The Conservative Manifesto proposes to end free school meals for all at key stage 1 and instead offer primary children free breakfast. What impact would this have? For more than a century the UK government has provided free school meals (FSM) to children […]

29, May, 2017

How evidence-based are the Conservative manifesto proposals on grammar schools?

By Alice Sullivan The Conservative manifesto confirms Teresa May’s pledge to reintroduce grammar schools, as part of a drive to turn Britain into ‘The World’s Great Meritocracy’. But does this claim stand up to scrutiny? As has been widely rehearsed in public debate ever since the Conservative government published its schools green paper back in September 2016, the essential reason that grammar schools […]

15, May, 2017

From the IoE blog: priorities for a new government: advice from our academics part 2

The IOE blog has asked academics from across the Institute what’s at the top of their wish list. Primary Education The new government should take a new approach to primary education that sees this stage as a unique time in children’s lives. This will require them to look again at the purposes of primary education. The current statutory […]

15, May, 2017

From the IoE blog: priorities for a new government: advice from our academics – part 1

The IOE blog has asked academics from across the Institute what’s at the top of their wish list. Teachers The Government’s key priority should be recruiting and retaining high quality teachers, and encouraging them to work in areas of particular need. Not only are we facing shortages and retention problems, but research evidence shows that it […]

26, April, 2017

Election 2017 – call for what’s the evidence on…..

Calling all education researchers & academics In the run up to the general election on the 8th June the Education Media Centre is gathering comments, blog posts and links to research to send to journalists and highlight to the general public. We are looking for ‘what’s the evidence on…..’ grammar schools & social mobility school […]

28, March, 2017

How risky is it to be a child?

This blog post has been reproduced from the IoE London Blog Sandra Leaton Gray Look at the website of any contemporary newspaper, and you would be forgiven for thinking that childhood was a very dangerous time of life. On rolling news services we see stories about things like toddlers being shot by stray bullets in […]

21, March, 2017

Cambridgeshire is at the heart of England’s teacher shortage problem

 By Miriam Broeks and Julie Bélanger  The world is facing a global teacher shortage. UNESCO has warned nearly 69 million teachers will be needed to plug this shortage in both primary and secondary education. Zoom in on the UK, and a report from the Education Select Committee states that recruitment targets for teaching have been consistently missed and teacher shortages are getting worse. The […]

3, February, 2017

Do schools and colleges in the NE of England perform worse with equivalent students? By Stephen Gorard, Durham University

George Osborne’s has launched a new report as part of his Northern Powerhouse project which recommends “urgent attention” is given to improving the performance and aspiration of schools in the region. Here Professor Stephen Gorard, Durham University, gives his analysis: “Since at least the 1990s, it has been relatively common for policy-makers, commentators and even academics to […]

30, January, 2017

Does missing one week of school lead to lower grades? By Professor Stephen Gorard

Tomorrow the Supreme Court will consider the appeal of the Isle of Wight Council over the case of a father, Jon Platt, who successfully challenged a conviction for taking his child on an unauthorised holiday during term time. Below is an explanatory note about term-time absence from Stephen Gorard, Professor of Education, Durham University who […]

1, December, 2016

Ofsted Annual Report and the supply of teachers

Blog from Professor John Howson, expert in the supply of teachers, Honorary Norham Fellow at University of Oxford and visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and Director of TeachVac: “The Chief Inspector’s final report contains many interesting comments and can be downloaded at: However, for the purpose of this post, the section that I […]

29, November, 2016

England’s performance in TIMSS 2015: a 20 year story of improvement?

By Toby Greany, UCL Institute of Education The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) now provides 20 years-worth of internationally comparable data on the mathematics and science performance of primary and secondary pupils worldwide, and the contexts in which they learn. England has participated in the study, which is now in its sixth […]

25, August, 2016
By Prof Suzanne Graham, Institute of Education, University of Reading

Post-Brexit, we need modern foreign languages more than ever

The latest statistics could make for bleak reading. Following today’s GCSE results, entry levels for languages at GCSE have fallen again to more than half of entries in 2000. The news is disappointing but not all that surprising. Learning a foreign language brings many benefits – not only for communicating with speakers of other languages, […]

5, May, 2016

SPaG – a brief history of the teaching of spelling, punctuation & grammar + the SATs tests

Next week children aged 10 and 11 will sit two papers to test their knowledge of English spelling, punctuation and grammar.  The tests have been surrounded by criticism. Here Professor Richard Hudson, Fellow of the British Academy and Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at UCL gives a brief history of the teaching of grammar in primary schools and analyses […]

28, July, 2015

Put the “right to learn” at the heart of good behaviour in schools.

The teacher, director of researchEd and author, Tom Bennett has been appointed by the government to set up a working group to recommend ways of training teachers to manage good behaviour in classes. As he sets about forming his team, the Education Media Centre asked Terry Haydn, Professor of Education at the University of East […]

7, July, 2015

“What’s wrong with the Government’s definition of a coasting school?”

As the Education and Adoption Bill continues its passage through Parliament, Dr Rebecca Allen sets out the evidence on the definition of coasting schools “What’s wrong with the Government’s definition of a coasting school?” Dr Rebecca Allen, Director, Education Datalab The “coasting” schools measure in the Department for Education’s draft Education and Adoption Bill will […]

22, May, 2015

Do experiment to improve education ; don’t parade counterfeit results as the real thing

  Education needs “experiments”, but do pay attention to the results  Sue Littlemore, Chief Executive, Education Media Centre, former BBC Education Correspondent Sat alongside Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, in a BBC interview, Labour MP, Andy Burnham described Conservative policies of more free schools and unqualified teachers as “like an experiment with children’s education, and you […]

30, April, 2015

“Little evidence behind manifesto pledges,” says Professor Stephen Gorard and Dr Beng Huat See, Durham University

Education policies in the UK – What is the new direction? Comment by Professor Stephen Gorard & Dr Beng Huat See, Durham University The manifestos With the general election looming, the three major political parties have all promised to protect the education budget in terms of schools, but they pay only lip-service, at best, to […]

21, March, 2015

Why should I talk to you? Journalists help academics understand news media. Highlights from EMC event

The Education Media Centre held its first Understanding the News Media event with Durham University to give education researchers and press officers an expert insight into working with journalists. It was an opportunity for academics to learn more about what journalists need from academics and how and why researchers might want to see their research findings […]

27, February, 2015

Unlocking the potential of teaching assistants

Jonathan Sharples, senior researcher, Education Endowment Foundation. One of the most challenged and debated areas of research in the Teaching and Learning Toolkit relates to the use of Teaching Assistants (TAs) in schools. The evidence is striking: despite spending over £4billion a year on TAs in English schools, research suggests they are not adding significantly […]

11, February, 2015

Evidence informed judgments; not research based instructions – that’s professional teaching

Professor Angela McFarlane, Chief Executive of the College of Teachers, a lead organisation for the establishment of a College of Teaching. In recent debates over the what, where, who and how concerning the founding of a new chartered College of Teaching I was surprised to come up against an interpretation of evidence based practice that […]

25, November, 2014

“Teaching needs less ideology, & more evidence,” says Estelle Morris

Estelle Morris is the former education secretary and is now a life peer. She is a patron of the Education Media Centre and chair of the executive board at the Institute of Effective Education, University of York. This blog post first appeared in The Guardian on 25th November 2014. “It would be churlish of me not to give half […]

30, July, 2014

Widening participation strategies need to do more than nudge those already on route to university

Professor Stephen Gorard, School of Education, Durham University analyses current strategies for widening participation in higher education. Introduction by EMC Chief Executive, Sue Littlemore  As the popular talent show says, “Britain`s Got Talent” – pity it wastes it too, many experts conclude. Conor Ryan, Director of Research at the Sutton Trust, commented on the Office […]

27, March, 2014

Evidence Counts, but what counts as evidence ?

Evidence Counts, but what counts as evidence ? In this blog , Dr Andrew Morris , Chair of EMC Trustees, charts how a prolonged debate around research in public life seems to be moving on. The arrival of the world’s first Education Media Centre marks a significant moment for the evidence movement. The media are […]

31, January, 2014

Government imposition of synthetic phonics is “damaging able readers” really?

“Government imposition of synthetic phonics is “damaging able readers”” was a press release headline, picked up by the education media, promoting a new pamphlet by Dr Andrew Davis , an Honorary Research Fellow in the school of education at Durham University. According to the press release, “The government`s insistence all children are taught how to […]

6, December, 2013

Why learning lessons from PISA is as hard as predicting who will win a football match

by David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, University of Cambridge I am a statistician and I love bucket-loads of data. So I jumped at the chance to make a BBC Radio 4 programme on PISA’s testing of 500,000 school students across 65 countries. But after talking to many people and examining past PISA […]

14, November, 2013
By Estelle Morris, former Education secretary & EMC Patron

“Filling an “evidence free space” – the case for the education media centre”

  Whatever views people may have about the direction of education policy, there is broad agreement that almost every part of the education system has changed over the last three decades. Whether it is the curriculum, assessment, early years, tuition fees, vocational education, use of data, teaching quality, league tables or Ofsted – the pace […]

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