The pupil premium is not working (part I): Do not measure attainment gaps

On Saturday 8th September 2018 I gave a talk to researchED London about the pupil premium. It was too long for my 40-minute slot, and the written version is similarly far too long for one post. So I am posting my argument in three parts [pt II is here and pt III is here]. Every …

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What if we cannot measure pupil progress?

Testing and recording what students know and can do in a subject has always been part of our education system, especially in secondary schools where teachers simply cannot hold in their head accurate information about the hundreds of students they encounter each week. However, measuring progress - the change in attainment between two points in …

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How an economist would decide the what, when and how of reception year

Clare Sealy has written an amazing blog post explaining why rising 5s need to learn through a mixture of explicit teaching, whole class collective experiences, and play-based encounters. The early years isn't an area of research for me, but it is a field I spend a lot of time thinking and reading about simply because …

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We don’t need better sorting hats to improve social mobility

This is roughly the talk I gave at a Policy Exchange fringe at Conservative Party Conference in 2016   I don’t like the words social mobility because they are so slippery as to give carte blanche to politicians to do exactly as they please. We appear to have entered an era where social mobility policies involve …

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Mandating 10 hour opening times for school buildings*

*NB. Yes, buildings. Not teachers. Not headteachers. Not pupils. Today I’m blogging without data, or even much evidence. We have had a few interesting commentaries from education bloggers on longer school days (here and here), but the twitter debate fell quickly into criticisms about impacts on family life, which need to be challenged. I believe …

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Five observations on the TouchPaper problems party

Last weekend, Laura McInerney and I hosted a rather experimental TouchPaper problems party. Her blog here tells you what happened on the day and a few party goers have started writing up their own thoughts on the day (here, here and here). Here are five observations from the perspective of a rather-out-of-touch-with-the-classroom academic: 1. I …

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