Achieving world class standards in education

Much of the NFER’s research is to do with standards and effectiveness in education, and this covers all age groups and all sectors and forms of education. Some projects look directly at educational standards, including numerous assessment projects, and others make recommendations about how standards can be improved, at a national level, or at the level of the local authority or a particular key stage.

We have carried out a variety of projects looking at raising standards in particular subjects, including mathematics and English, reading, science and technology, the arts, citizenship and enterprise education. There have also been numerous broader, programme-based evaluations, including our ongoing studies of Diplomas and the Young Apprentice Scheme. These have taken place alongside a number of important ‘Narrowing the Gap’ studies.

The NFER has also carried out many projects with a focus on improving standards from a teaching or workforce point of view. These have included studies of, for example, teacher training, Gifted and Talented leading teachers, school support staff and the impact of children’s services professionals.

Of course, if standards are to be assessed as ‘world class’ then an international dimension is important. The NFER has carried out a number of important international studies. We have also looked at inspection and school accountability systems across the world and have a dedicated international unit, EURYDICE, which focuses on the EU’s lifelong learning programme and has carried out a number of influential international reviews.

Selected research projects

The effects of the school environment on young people's attitudes towards education and learning
Client: Partnerships for Schools | NFER Contact: Peter Rudd

An evaluation of chemistry for our future
Client: Royal Society of Chemistry | NFER Contact: Suzanne Straw

Evaluation of the Chemistry for Non-Specialists training programme
Client: Royal Society of Chemistry | NFER Contact: Megan Jones

Evaluation of the effectiveness of the implementation of the 'Gifted and Talented Education' Leading Teacher Programme
Client: National Strategies | NFER Contact: Matthew Walker

Evaluation of the impact of Section 5 inspections - strand 3
Client: Ofsted | NFER Contact: Tami McCrone

Evaluation of the implementation and impact of Diplomas
Client: DCSF | NFER Contact: Sarah Golden

Evaluation of the role of early years professionals
Client: Children's Workforce Development Council | NFER Contact: Matthew Walker

Harnessing technology: schools survey 2008
Client: Becta | NFER Contact: Peter Rudd

HEARTS Higher Education, the Arts and Schools: an experiment in educating teachers
Clients: Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, NESTA, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, TTA, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation | NFER Contact:

Independent audit of activities: Bloodhound Engineering Adventure (July 2009 - October 2009)
Client: Royal Academy of Engineering | NFER Contact: Suzanne Straw

International thematic probe: the influence of relative age on learner attainment and development (August 2008 - November 2008)
Client: QCA | NFER Contact: Caroline Sharp

Learning money matters
Client: Personal Finance Education Group | NFER Contact:

Research and analysis on the changing role and influence of senior support staff in schools
Client: National College | NFER Contact: Matthew Walker

Research into pupil engagement in building schools for the future
Client: Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment | NFER Contact: Anne Wilkin

Research into the role of CPD leadership in schools
Client: TDA | NFER Contact:

Review of ICT-based resources for personal finance education
Client: Personal Finance Education Group | NFER Contact: David Kerr

School inspections - international literature review
Client: CfBT Education Trust | NFER Contact: Peter Rudd

Smoothing the transition to specialist teaching of the sciences
Client: Gatsby Charitable Foundation | NFER Project Contact: Marian Morris

Using social software for teaching and learning
Client: NFER | NFER Contact: Peter Rudd

Why choose physics and chemistry? The influences on physics and chemistry subject choices of BME students
Clients: Royal Society of Chemistry, Institute of Physics | NFER Contact: Iain Springate


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