EDSK is an independent non-partisan think tank that designs new and better ways for policymakers and educators to help every learner succeed – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our research covers primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, apprenticeships, technical education and universities.

EDSK’s main focus is publishing reports that describe the barriers which are preventing learners from reaching their full potential, as well as discussing how these issues should be resolved – either by government or by those institutions such as schools, colleges and universities who support learners every day.

Our evidence-based recommendations take a ‘systems change’ approach, meaning that we typically put forward a package of reforms that can be implemented over several years. We also work closely with a range of individuals and organisations to ensure that our research reflects a wide range of evidence on any given issue.

Latest reports

Evolution and revolution

This report from UK think tank EDSK looks at a 10-year plan to reform the curriculum and assessment system in England. Whoever wins the next election should aim to preserve those parts of our education system that contribute to higher standards such as rigorous courses and exams. However, many mistakes have been made over the...

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Obstacles to adding VAT to school fees

This report from UK think tank EDSK focuses on the issues that could complicate efforts to add VAT onto independent school fees. With a general election due in the coming months, the Labour Party’s plans to add VAT to independent school fees has taken on even greater salience. The question of how much money this...

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20 years of muddling through

This report from UK think tank EDSK looks at setting a new course for the state school system in England. Over the last decade the way that we run state schools has become a political football, creating a constant distraction from improving the life chances of children and young people. On that basis, the next...

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Broken ladders

This report from UK think tank EDSK explores why the ‘ladder of opportunity’ is broken for so many young people and how to fix it. The academic pathway from school up to university is a well-trodden and well-understood route. In contrast, for those young people who do not attend university, the first rungs on the...

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Private matters

This report from UK think tank EDSK provides an investigation into independent schools and charitable status in England. The political debate over the role, status and taxation of independent (‘private’) schools in England shows no sign of abating. Two issues have attracted considerable attention in recent months: the prospect of VAT being added to independent...

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How much money could be raised by charging VAT on private school fees?

This research note from UK think tank EDSK looks at the source and credibility of the £1.6 billion savings figure to assess whether it deserves to be included in discussions about the future of private schools. Despite its current political salience, the proposal to charge VAT on private (‘independent’) school fees in England is nothing...

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Examining exams

This report from UK think tank EDSK looks at whether there are there credible alternatives to written exams. After the collapse of the exam system during the COVID-19 pandemic, debates about the future of assessment have become increasingly vocal. As A-levels and GCSEs are dominated by written exams, this report investigates whether other types of...

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No train, no gain

This report from UK think tank EDSK provides an investigation into the quality of apprenticeships in England. Exactly ten years after the publication of a major government review into the quality of apprenticeships in England, a new report from the education think tank EDSK finds that many apprentices are receiving such a poor experience that...

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Changing course(s)

This report from UK think tank EDSK looks at a new vision for employer investment in skills and the apprenticeship levy. The UK’s persistent underinvestment in skills and training cannot be solved quickly, yet there is a risk that the government’s current approach will end up simply repeating past mistakes. This new report from the...

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Finding a NEET solution

This report from UK think tank EDSK looks at how to prevent young people from falling out of our education system. On the day that the Office for National Statistics releases its latest unemployment figures, a new report from the education think tank EDSK finds that on current trends it will take over 150 years...

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Making progress

This report from UK think tank EDSK looks at the future of assessment and accountability in primary schools. Making Progress looks at the future of primary assessment and accountability in England. The report proposes moving away from distorting high-stakes tests like SATs and replacing them with more regular shorter online assessments in three subjects: reading;...

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