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Reading is easy – so why bother to assess phonological awareness in young children?

By Diane King

We live in a society that places a high value on literacy skills and, if nothing else, we expect schools to teach our children to read and write. However, literacy difficulties are common and can be persistent, impacting not only on school experience, academic achievement and later life choices, but also on many practical issues of daily living. Continue reading


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The poetry and prose of careers guidance

By Ben Durbin

It is said that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. While Labour’s education manifesto, launched last week, was hardly poetry, when it came to its commitments on careers guidance the sentiment was certainly right.  However, it was light on detail and raised as many questions as it answered.

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How do we create a more responsive skills system?

By guest blogger Philippa Mellish, Policy Manager, South East Strategic Leaders

Philippa Mellish speculates on skills beyond May’s election and signposts new resources to help schools, colleges and SMEs have one conversation, do just one thing, to shape a fit for purpose skills system Continue reading


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Post GCSEs: Are 16-year-olds making informed decisions, or following in their siblings’ footsteps?

recently published online survey of school and college leavers and current university students, undertaken by The Student Room, on the subject of post-Level 3 options and the influences that affect them, indicate that one third (32 per cent) of those who took part in the study rated their school’s careers advice as ‘weak’. Continue reading


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Well-informed parents – key to banishing the vocational versus academic divide?

NFER welcomes recent reports from the Edge Foundation and the Association of Colleges on the complex and massively important areas of vocational education and careers guidance. The findings come as a timely reminder of the work yet to be done to ensure that academic and vocational routes to work are perceived to be equally important, useful and valid by all. Continue reading