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