Education Policy Institute

Education can have a transformative effect on the life chances of young people, enabling them to fulfill their potential, have successful careers, and grasp opportunities. As well as having a positive impact on the individual, good quality education and child wellbeing also promotes economic productivity and a cohesive society.

Too many children, presently, don’t get the education and support they need to make the most of their lives. The evidence of the gaps that exist is set out each year in our research on education in England.

Identifying and promoting good education policy is therefore crucial. But the policy debate is often occupied by contradictory views, which can be based on personal experience, anecdote, and political instinct. There is an urgent need for objective, impartial, and independent research that can influence and inform the education debate – rigorous research which is grounded in evidence.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) seeks to fill this space.

Founded in 2016, EPI works to improve education outcomes for all children and young people, regardless of their social background. Its data-driven research and analysis sheds light on whether current policy is delivering a high quality, equitable education system and identifies issues in need of policy attention.

EPI’s research considers a range of education policy areas- from the early years through to higher education, via the school workforce, funding and accountability. It has led the way in several crucial areas in education policy, building up understanding and generating new insights in areas such as educational equity, school system reform, access to good school places, education funding, the teacher labour market, and children and young people’s wellbeing.

EPI’s research achieves credibility with audiences from across the political spectrum- its work is frequently mentioned in the House of Commons by Members of all parties and drawn on by Parliamentary Select Committees and All-Party Parliamentary Groups. Working with policymakers is central to ensuring EPI’s research is able to have a positive impact on the outcomes of young people.

Some of our most influential findings include:

  • At age 16, disadvantaged pupils are on average over a year and a half behind their more affluent peers on school attainment. 40 per cent of this gap is evident at age 5.
  • There is an implicit bias in Ofsted judgements, against schools serving large proportions of disadvantaged pupils
  • Access to high performing schools has become more geographically unequal since 2010. In 20 per cent of local areas, pupils have no access to a high-performing schools within a reasonable travel distance
  • There is little difference in the performance of academy chains and local authorities: we found that type of school- academy or local authority- is less important than benig in a high performing school group- with both school types at the very top of our performance tables, and at the very bottom.
  • Grammar schools have no impact on overall standards in England and large densities of grammar school places can have a negative effect on the pupils who miss out on a place
  • The state of the teaching workforce should be concerning to government, with acute shortages of highly-qualified teachers in priority subject and the most disadvantaged areas

Latest reports

The features of effective school groups

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute discusses the features of effective school groups. This report brings together findings from our interactive benchmarking tool, which compares the performance of individual academy trusts, local authorities, federations and dioceses across four key performance indicators, along with results from our Decisions in Education in England...

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School funding model: Effect of falling school rolls

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute analyses the impact of potential funding policy decisions on individual schools and areas of the country. This report is the first to use EPI’s new school funding model, which replicates the Department for Education’s own national funding formula (NFF) and allows us to analyse the...

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Unexplained school transfers and managed moves: Local protocols, practice and outcomes for pupils

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute examines the prevalence of school moves and the protocols that local authorities have in place to govern them This report examines the prevalence of school moves, including managed moves, their impact on pupils, and the protocols that local authorities have in place to govern them.

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Measuring the outcomes of different pupil groups using Star Assessments 2022/23

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute measures learning loss during the pandemic and outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. This fourth and final report in a series produced by EPI and Renaissance builds on recent analysis from EPI and Renaissance measuring learning loss during the pandemic and outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. Our previous...

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Outcomes for young people who experience multiple suspensions

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute examines the relationship between the number of suspensions from school and pupil outcomes. In this report, we examine the relationship between the number of suspensions, or temporary removals from school, in secondary school and outcomes for pupils in England. We studied a cohort of 585,827...

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Measuring the outcomes of disadvantaged pupils using Star Assessments 2022/23

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute measures the outcomes of disadvantaged pupils using Star Assessments 2022/23. This new report produced by EPI and Renaissance includes analysis based on outcomes for pupils in years 3 to 9, drawn from over six million assessments in Renaissance’s Star Reading and Star Maths from 2017/18...

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An evidence review into the length of the school day

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute explores how much time pupils spend in school in England and the potential impacts of increasing this time. In the 2022 white paper ‘Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child’, the government set out an expectation that all state-funded mainstream schools...

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Comparing policies, participation and inequalities across UK post-16 education and training landscapes

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy reveals major differences in the provision of post-16 education and training (E&T) across the UK nations. This report reveals major differences in the provision of post-16 education and training (E&T) across the UK nations and exposes stark inequalities in outcomes for young learners. The report identifies...

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Access to extra-curricular provision and the association with outcomes

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute examines the longer-term outcomes of students who participate in extra-curricular activities. A new report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) examines which students are accessing extra-curricular activities during secondary school and the longer-term outcomes of students who do participate. EPI analysis adds to the existing...

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The features of effective school groups

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute looks at measuring pupil inclusion and attainment at school-group level. This publication is part of our research project on effective school groups, which aims to identify the features of high-performing school groups and share best practice. This project supports a move away from a historic...

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What’s cooking?

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute reviews the existing evidence on the evolution of the Free School Meals (FSM) measure. This report reviews and discusses the existing evidence on the evolution of the Free School Meals (FSM) measure, over the past two decades, and on its uses, including in Pupil Premium...

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EPI Annual Report 2023

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute looks at the state of education in England, with a focus on the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. The Education Policy Institute (EPI) Annual Report looks at the state of education in England, with a focus on the attainment gap between disadvantaged...

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Children and young people’s mental health services

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute assesses progress made to improve children and young people's mental health services. This report assesses the progress that has been made against government targets to improve children and young people’s mental health services since 2015. Whilst some progress has been made in improving service provision,...

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The influence of headteachers on their schools

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute assesses the impact of headteachers on school performance in England. This report assesses the impact of headteachers on school performance in England, and the mechanisms through which headteachers influence performance. In addition, the study explores whether a headteacher’s gender and ethnicity have an impact on...

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EPI Annual Report 2023

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute looks at the first instalment of its annual report on the state of education in England. Following widespread pandemic disruption during 2020 and 2021, 2022 saw the return of summer exams. During the pandemic years, pupils’ grades were awarded using alternative processes known as centre assessed grades...

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Upcoming events

25 June 2024

Location: Broadway House, Tothill Street, London SW1H 9NQ

Think tank: Education Policy Institute

Education priorities in the 2024 general election

This event hosted by UK think tank the Education Policy Institute will discuss education priorities in the 2024 general election. Ahead of the general election on the 4th of July, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) will finish the second half of our two-stage research project working to ensure that education is a key priority in party...