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Research round-up (6 August 2018)

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

 The School Snapshot survey: Winter 2017 research report (July 2018)

The snapshot survey from the DfE has been released which provides an overview of the current education system from the perspective of school leaders and teachers. Eight hundred senior leaders and 909 teachers were interviewed over a range of educational topics including pupil wellbeing, mental health and SEND, and recruitment and retention. In reaction to the new GCSE format, 74% of secondary schools felt that the preparation for September 2017 had gone ‘well’, with nearly 19% stating it had gone ‘very well’. While many secondary schools (35%) who teach year 9 pupils stated that all their year 9 pupils would start studying for KS4 in all subjects.

Education in England: annual report 2018

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has released their annual ‘Education in England’ report assessing ‘recent progress in raising attainment throughout the phases of education in England’. The report also examines the ‘recent trends in the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children’. It found that pupil attainment is rising in both primary and secondary schools and there is little change in the disadvantage gap. But the disadvantage gap in English and maths at the end of secondary school would take well over 100 years to close.


New research highlights concerns regarding teacher well-being over the summer break

Research from the Education Support Partnership has shown that 53% of teaching staff worry to a ‘large extent’ about the amount of preparation needed for the next academic year. This comes as the partnership interviewed 811 teachers and senior leaders as part of their research into the health and well-being of teachers during the summer holidays. The days expected to work over the summer have increased from six in 2013 to eight currently. Over 43% also stated that they find it increasingly difficult to switch off from work during the holidays.


Malpractice results for GCSE, AS and A-Level

Ofqual has published their findings on penalties issued by exam boards for students, school/ college staff and schools/colleges for malpractice in GCSE, AS and A level examinations for the 2017 summer exam series in England. The number of penalties issued to students has risen 24% from 2,180 in 2016 to 2,715 in 2017 with access to a mobile phone found to be the main reason for student penalties. The number of penalties issued to schools and colleges has decreased, falling from 155 in 2016 to 120 in 2017, but the number of penalties issued to individual staff has sharply risen from 360 last year to now almost 900. Ofqual notes the reason for this jump is down to exam boards being more likely this year to issue formal written warnings for similar offences, rather than informal advisory notes.


Public Accounts Committee report examines ‘alternative provisions' in relation to schools expelling pupils

The role of alternative provisions (AP), exclusions and ‘forgotten children’ in education is examined in a report authored by the Public Accounts Committee. They say that all children deserve a high-quality education and too many pupils are failed by the system. Concerns are raised about the number of expelled pupils in AP as mainstream schools should be all-inclusive and often this is not the case. They want to see ‘greater rights for pupils and their parents, for those who are excluded from school, internally isolated, informally excluded or on the verge of exclusion’. Recommendations include advising schools not to exclude pupils so quickly and suggesting schools should publish their permanent and fixed-term exclusion rates every term, so parents and pupils are aware of the exclusion rates.


Academy trusts with a revenue surplus or deficit: 2016 to 2017

The DfE has published figures showing how many academies had a surplus and zero balance at the end of the 2016/17 academic year: 91.6% of trusts had a cumulative surplus and 2.3% had a zero balance, while 6.1% of trusts had a cumulative deficit. The total net financial position of all academy trusts was a cumulative surplus of £2.4 billion and the average reserves in trusts was £791,000.


Research finds that parents believe spending more money on educational resources is more worthwhile than if the child attends a higher quality school

Parents who spend money on resources for their children such as books and educational games view this as more worthwhile then if their child attends a higher quality school. The Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group asked 1,962 parents and found that ‘generally, parents believe that there is more to be gained in investing more time and money in supporting their children at home, rather than moving them to a better school’. They also note that parents believe ‘school quality matters more as the child gets older’.


Reducing workload in schools

As part of the Department's action to support schools in reducing workload, the DfE has launched a series of online resources or a 'workload toolkit' to support school leaders and teachers to help review and reduce workload in their schools. The toolkit is divided into three parts and is designed so that schools can work through each stage, although the tools can also be used as standalone materials too. 


Also this fortnight:

  • Figures from the Department of Transport show the number of primary school children in England walking to school is falling.
  • Figures from the DfE outline students praising the quality of colleges and training providers in Higher Education.
  • Ofqual has released an update on the monitoring of exam boards’ marketing and support events.
  • The DfE has published curriculum support resources for use in schools.