ASCL Annual Conference 2017

10-11 March 2017, ICC, Broad St, Birmingham, B1 2EA

NFER staff, including Chief Executive Carole Willis, shared their expertise in research and assessment across 3 sessions at this year’s ASCL Annual Conference.

See below for more information on our three sessions. For more information about the conference, visit this page

The UK in the global context: how well are we doing and what do we need to do next?
Panel Discussion, 10:00-10:50, Saturday 11 March

NFER Chief Executive Carole Willis joined an international panel of educational leaders, including Professor Andreas Schleicher (Director for Education and Skills, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Dr Becky Allen, (Director, Education Datalab) and Geoff Barton (General Secretary Designate, ASCL) to discuss the UK in the global context: how well are we doing and what do we need to do next?

NFER has a long history of delivering international surveys, and is the National Centre for the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information on the survey, please visit the NFER PISA 2018 webpages.

Carole Willis is Chief Executive of the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). She joined NFER in December 2013. Widely respected across the education sector and social science community, Carole has extensive experience of leading research and analysis in both the public and private sectors. Her focus is on raising NFER’s profile and increasing our impact, ensuring that our robust research and assessments actively inform education policy and practice. She is passionate about promoting quantitative analysis in education, and making better use of the rich administrative data sets available to understand how to improve education outcomes. Before joining NFER, Carole was Director of Research and Analysis at the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department’s Chief Scientific Adviser.


Executive headteachers: What's in a name?
Breakout session 2, 16:00 – 17:00, Friday 10 March

Head of Impact Karen Wespieser co-presented with Katy Theobald (Ambition School Leadership) and Ian Bauckham (Executive Headteacher/CEO Tenax School Trust, and NFER Trustee) on the role of executive headteachers (EHTs). The team presented findings from the latest research on EHTs, jointly undertaken between NFER, the National Governors' Association and Ambition School Leadership.

There are over 620 EHTs in the school workforce today and the number increased by 240 per cent between 2010 and 2014. As EHTs take responsibility for ever more schools in England, their role will be crucial to the effectiveness of multi-school groupings in the self-improving school system.

This session provided evidence-based insights into the role and responsibilities of EHTs, the skills and characteristics required to be an effective EHT, the factors that challenge and facilitate the EHT role, and practical advice regarding the effective recruitment and deployment of EHTs.

Karen is Head of Impact at NFER, and leads a team pioneering new approaches to getting evidence acted upon across educational policy and practice, through commissioning new research and engaging extensively with external stakeholders. Recent work from her team includes Engaging Teachers, an analysis of the factors that influence teacher retention, and
A tale of eight regions, which provides a snapshot of the evolving school system across the eight Regional School Commissioner regions. Follow her on Twitter @KarenWespieser.


Reclaiming assessment in the classroom – what are the right questions to be asking about assessment? A joint assessment project between SSAT, NFER and ASCL Breakout session 3, 11:30 – 12:20, Saturday 11 March

Research Manager David Thomas, Alex Galvin (SSAT) and Suzanne O’Farrell (ASCL) presented a new jointly developed assessment resource which supports schools in exploring how formative assessment works best in different EBacc subject areas. This framework enables school leaders and department heads to plan a coherent whole school approach to assessment that will support the learning of individual students. The resource has been developed with leading subject practitioners and aims to provide clarity on some key issues, supporting you and your team in asking the right questions about assessment in the classroom to ensure that you have an approach that works for your students.

David is a Research Manager in NFER’s Centre for Assessment, where he has developed assessments for both maths and science. He is the Maths subject lead for delivery of the National Reference Test at KS4. Before working at NFER, David taught at a large comprehensive secondary school holding roles including Head of Biology and whole-school professional development co-ordinator.

For more on NFER’s work on assessment, please visit our assessment webpage.