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Research round-up 1 September 2017

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Here's a round-up of education research published in the last fortnight.
The cost of a child in 2017 

The child poverty action group has released a report that looks into the cost of bringing up children in the UK and how some families are struggling to make ends meet. 

Key findings 

  • Overall, in the year to April 2017, the estimated minimum cost of bringing up a child from birth to her/his 18th birthday, excluding rent and housing costs, rose from about £72,600 to £75,400 for a couple and from £99,000 to £102,600 for a lone parent
  • These increases of just under four per cent reflect price rises and are somewhat greater than the general inflation rate of just under three per cent
  • The overall cost of a child, including rent and childcare, has risen from £151,600 to £155,100 for a couple and from £182,600 to £187,100 for a lone parent
  • This total has increased by about 2.5 per cent
  • Child benefit now covers barely a fifth of the cost of a child for a couple and less than a sixth for a lone parent
  • For those receiving maximum benefits, the overall benefit package now falls 31 per cent short of covering the cost to a lone parent of bringing up a child (up from 22 per cent in 2012)

 About the research

  • The cost of an individual child is calculated not by producing a list of items that a child needs, but as the difference that the presence of that child makes to the whole family’s budget
  • These calculations are made for different children according to their birth order, in each year of their childhood, and also added up to produce a total cost from birth to age 18. 
Research into religiously selective admissions criteria

The Fair Admissions Campaign has released a report that looks into religious selective admissions criteria. 

Key findings 

  • Comprehensive secondary schools with no religious character admit 11 per cent more pupils eligible for free school meals than live in their local areas. Comprehensive Church of England secondaries admit 10 per cent fewer, Roman Catholic secondaries 24 per cent fewer, Jewish secondaries 61 per cent fewer and Muslim secondaries 25 per cent fewer
  • Comprehensive schools with no religious character typically admit 11 per cent more pupils eligible for free school meals than would be expected given their areas. Religious comprehensives that do not select by religion typically admit three per cent more, but those whose admissions criteria allow religious selection for all places typically admit 27 per cent fewer
  • The most segregated local authority as a result of religious selection is Hammersmith and Fulham. While 15 per cent of pupils nationally are eligible for free school meals, the segregation between the religiously selective schools and other schools is almost double that (27  per cent age points)
  • Only 16 per cent of schools select by religion, but they are vastly overrepresented in the 100 worst offenders on free school meal eligibility and English as an additional language. They make up 46 of the worst 100 schools on FSM eligibility and 50 of the worst 100 on EAL. 
Evaluation of Early Rollout of 30 Hours Free Childcare

The DfE has released a report that looks at the early rollout of 30 hours' free childcare. 

Key findings

  • Only 12 per cent of all registered providers reported that they did not plan to offer the extended hours
  • 36 per cent of providers had increased occupancy because of the delivery of extended hours (that is, had used spare capacity)
  • 40 per cent had increased staff hours or the number of staff to deliver the extended hours
  • 31 per cent could definitely offer more free entitlement places, and 27 per cent could possibly (but not definitely) offer more places
  • As in early implementation, most providers delivering the extended hours did not need to extend their opening hours because they were already offering full-day provision, but 12 per cent had increased their opening hours in response to the extended hours
  • Only 19 per cent of voluntary providers and 10 per cent of maintained providers (and 64 per cent of private providers) delivering the extended hours were open throughout the year
  • 60 per cent of providers reported that there had been no impact on the hourly delivery cost per child while eight per cent reported that the cost had decreased because of the delivery of the extended hours and 32 per cent reported it had increased
  • 37 per cent of providers reported that there had been no impact on profits while 24 per cent reported that profits had increased because of the delivery of the extended hours and 39 per cent reported they had decreased. 
The Prince’s Trust's Results for Life Report

The Princes Trust has asked thousands of young people, teachers and workers from across the country to tell them about their experiences of developing soft skills – such as teamwork, communication and resilience – and to share their thoughts on the impact these skills could make to a young person’s self-confidence and future prospects. 

Key findings

  • Soft skills are considered by young people, teachers and workers to be as important to achieving success in life as good grades
  • 43 per cent of young people don’t feel prepared to enter the workforce, with 43 per cent of those who feel this way believing their soft skills are not good enough
  • More than a quarter of teachers (27 per cent) think their students don’t yet have all the soft skills required to do well after school
  • 72 per cent of workers felt they didn’t have all the soft skills to do well in their role when they first started working
  • 44 per cent of young people found their confidence dropped when they moved to secondary school. This figure is higher among young people who are predicted or attained fewer than 5 A*-C grade GCSEs
  • 37 per cent of young people did not feel there was enough support available at their school to help them cope with the challenges of moving up to secondary school
  • 89 per cent of teachers think disadvantaged students are being left behind in school
  • 82 per cent of teachers think their school could do more to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • 91 per cent of teachers think schools should be doing more to help to develop soft skills.

About the research

  • A sample of 2,224 11 to 19-year-olds, 2,675 workers and 1,000 teachers took part in an online survey, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of The Prince’s Trust between 13 and 29 of July 2017. 
Other recent research
  • Good Childhood Report 2017 – the Children’s Society has released a report that looks at how children in the UK feel about their lives. The report examines the latest trends in well-being over time, explanations for gender patterns in well-being and insights into how multiple experiences of disadvantage are linked to children’s well-being.