NFER the First Fifty Years

Jeff Griffiths

30 May 2003

This golden jubilee history tells how a group of educationalists were inspired to create a body, independent of the universities, devoted to educational research. It charts the birth of the National Foundation for Educational Research in the 1940s and its rise to become one of the world's largest educational research organisations. Through skilful use of archival material and interviews with key figures, the author describes how the Foundation's establishment was supported by all interested parties and given vital funding by the local education authorities in England and Wales, the teachers' unions, and government.

The NFER has always provided an impartial analysis of the impact of educational developments. It has also been at the centre of issues such as secondary school selection (the '11-plus'), comprehensive reorganisation, technical and vocational education initiatives, and the development of testing and assessment techniques, where it has proved to be a world leader. The author reveals how those leading the Foundation fought for a change of attitude to educational research in this country such that it is now accepted as an essential element supporting educational development and policy-making.

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