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Evidence check: Department's use of evidence

Education Committee

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154 Contributions (since 18 November 2014)
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Total results 154 (page 3 of 16)

Martin Ward

10 December 2014 at 12:20

ASCL welcomes these fora. It has a particular interest in the use of evidence by the DfE, which it is well placed to observe in detail and to act as a critical friend of the department. As this forum is clearly aimed at individuals, and as it has very largely been used to disagree with a particular policy, this is not the place for ASCL to comment at length, however it would welcome the opportunity to inform the committee's consideration of the important topic of evidence-informed policy making.

Sarah Seleznyov

08 December 2014 at 16:51

There are several areas in which government policy has been changed without taking into account a significant body of research evidence which conflicts with what is being implemented, namely: 1) the impact of testing on pupils and teachers, the introduction of more tests to primary school and the increased value of the test at GCSE; 2) the teaching of discrete grammar and spelling and the testing thereof as a measure of success in literacy; 3) school starting age and international models of the optimal age for beginning formal teaching of reading, writing and maths; 4) the reliance on phonics as the only way to teach reading and the testing thereof as an indicator of future reading success. In all of the above cases, a very narrow and politically selected body of evidence has been cited and used to back up policy decisions. Consultation responses by academics and those in the field (ie those with access to evidence) have been largely ignored.


03 December 2014 at 23:57

I think it is unfair to the majority of people with kids who are struggling to also stop them being able to holiday together as a family, truancy and holidaying with family are two completely different issues Debi

Helen Weedon

03 December 2014 at 15:33

The biggest issue with the use of evidence in policy making is that all too often the evidence is gathered and then the subsequent policy to deal with the problem is too over the top. For example, absence during term time is an issue across the country, with too many children taking large amounts of time off school. So to deal with that issue, all absence has been banned, and all those people not causing the problems are suffering. Whereas in reality the policy is unlikely to affect those few for whom the policy has been implemented. Also, there are so many reasons why it may be unavoidable to take children out of school during term time: the cost of holidays (even just in the UK), getting time off work, attending a wedding or funeral, once in a lifetime opportunities,...the list goes on.

Claudia Cahalane

03 December 2014 at 15:10

I m very disappointed with the Department of Education. What was the evidence for its policy for fining parents for enriching their children s education by taking them on a holiday abroad? Similar trips are offered as study trips. Do they really think that quality time spent with their parents and siblings having fun and experiencing another cultureand language is something that parents should be fined for? Fine those who play truant over long periods or are late all the time. But what is the evidence that suggests that the children who spent time on a family holiday have worse outcomes. I can guarantee you that those children will have better outcomes if you actually looked at the data properly. Family time is important as is vitamin D from the sun as is the need for parents to hsve some time out. Modern life is very stressful. Life is rushed and hiolidays in school holidays are unaffordable .

Jo Wakefield

03 December 2014 at 13:05

As a parent that chairs the PTA at my youngest children's primary school, I am appalled at the situation that now arises with the blanket ban regarding term time absence. Much of the money we raise as a PTA is to fund summer day trips and winter Pantomime trips for our pupils. There is no direct educational benefit to these outings, the children are not required to 'work', but I think everybody recognises the benefit of experiences. For many of our pupils, these trips are their only opportunity to go to a theatre or theme park. I am sure we can all agree that such things do not harm our children's education, indeed, they may actually enhance it! How then, can it be, that parents, either because of financial pressure, or because of restricted holidays from jobs, are told that if they remove their child for even 1 day, say to take the whole family to a cheap matinee performance, or take advantage of off-peak prices, will be damaging their children's education and punished financially for it...even if said children are achieving beyond their average age abilities? Why is a school allowed to take children on a week long holiday during term time, but a family cannot? Truancy and authorised absences are NOT the same, and should NEVER be equated as such. By all means have a system in place that punishes persistent truancy, or even excessive authorised absence (beyond the 10 days). I see no objection to that. Plus, fine parents who are persistently late (even 5 minutes), but a blanket ban of issuing fines for all absence apart from sickness (our local authority has told head teachers NOT to authorise requests for holiday days) is wrong on every level.

Miles Bacon

02 December 2014 at 17:25

The Department for Education selects evidence to fit its policies, and heavily influences the research it commissions to do the same. It avoids commissioning research that might undermine the policies it has decided to pursue. As a result, we have had education policy determined by the personal and political whims of individuals, resulting in huge damage to the future of our children, and to our future as a nation.

Clare Rush

01 December 2014 at 20:03

The lack of research and evidence in this policy is evident if you speak to any parent of practically any political persuasion. It has not and will not help with persistent truancy instead it has hit loads of families who for many varied reasons take a small amount of time out of the school term. My only family is abroad, and depending on work requirements we will go in term time if needs be as it is more important to see our family. We have relatives in the NHS who cannot always take leave in the school holidays What are they to do? Most people's leave is dictated by their workplace, their families workplace, and low wages (and so not being able to afford the luxury of paying the higher prices in school holidays). This is having a detrimental affect on family life with families not taking well needed holidays, families getting fined and relationships with their school becoming frayed. This policy does not represent the society we live in or respect parents and children. We have a right to take our family away, don't fine us because we're all working to keep things going so we have a good society - keep the hospitals open, the firestations, the shops, the holiday resorts, the infastructure of everything - how on earth can we all take our holidays at the same time??

Mark roche

30 November 2014 at 20:29

the new absence policy is a farce and in my opinions infringement on my family's human right. The best memory's of my child hood were that of holidays. As a working class parent earning approx £30k a year holidays are difficult to afford, so by going in school holidays this would cost in the region £3-5k 10-15% of our annual income. This is something that cannot simply be affordable. Hence depriving my kids of the the great memories and experiences that I was fortunate to experience. Add to that if your wealthy enough children can go on school trips, but the kids who's parents can't afford it miss out, so who's missing out and gaining in that instance???

Jill Hampton

29 November 2014 at 12:19

I'm not sure what evidence the DofE/Ofsted or schools use in their decision making? Very little from the look of it. My daughter has had time off primary school for a family holiday, one which we couldn't have afforded at any other time. I am a single mum who works very hard to put food on the table with little support. My daughter has also had time off school when she is unwell. I am not a monster, I am not an abusive parent, why would I do something unkind, harmful and damaging to my child by sending her to school sick so they can be shouted at by the teacher for not being to work properly? Schools are not equipped to look after poorly children no matter what degree of illness they suffer from. They are there to teach, not nurse. I have received a letter from the HT informing me that low attendance can cause anti-social behaviour and other problems in life. At the end of Y4 my child was working at the level she needed to be at the end of primary school and also working at Y7 level. I do not see any evidence of having days off for a holiday, days of sick has harmed her education at all. In fact my daughter's education continues all the time, schools are not the be all and end all of education for most children. I choose to send my child to school but am also willing to home education my child if things do not change. Schools are too controlled or obsessed with kissing Ofsted's arse to really focus on what is important and that is the children, their education and their happiness! Its all about ticking Ofsted boxes, ie bullying doesn't happen in my daughter's school.... it actually does, not just pupil to pupil but teacher to pupils but obviously as this would look bad for Ofsted it is ignored and swept under the carpet. It is a joke and it is not teaching good social skills for the future. In the work place I would not put up with a fellow employee bullying me or a superior. There are laws and regulations to prevent this, so why is it different for children? What are we teaching them? I think if the DofE really wants to make a difference they should start listening to parents more. Give parents more of a say and a direct link to Ofsted, don't just let schools control what Ofsted see and hear, let the parents have a say too, you will find what school tell Ofsted and what parents tell Ofsted will be two different things in some cases. And since when does having 98%, 99% 100% attendance make a school good? I would have thought having happy, healthy children would be a better indicator. I am very disgruntled parent, who is considering home educating as I am sick of the draconian rules set by school, Ofsted and DofE. Its a joke.

Total results 154 (page 3 of 16)