Skip to main content
Menu

Web forum archive

Evidence check: Department's use of evidence

Education Committee

Thank you for all comments submitted to the ‘Evidence Check’ forum. The forum is now closed. Comments received will help the Committee evaluate the evidence received from the Department for Education.

The Committee will use the comments to select topics for one-off oral evidence sessions in early 2015.

Return to the Evidence Check web forum homepage

154 Contributions (since 18 November 2014)
Closed for contributions

Dissolution of Parliament

The dissolution of Parliament took place on Thursday 30 May 2024. All business in the House of Commons and House of Lords has come to an end. There are currently no MPs and every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 4 July 2024.

Find out more about:

This web forum is displayed for archive purposes and is no longer accepting public contributions. For queries relating to the content of this web forum, please contact the Education Committee.

Total results 154 (page 4 of 16)

Lydia Smith

29 November 2014 at 10:43

Where is the humanity? Has the state taken over completely now? Do Parents have any rights left? Family and a child's wellbeing is so much more important for young children's development than attending school every day! There needs to be work life balance for children as well as adults. They should be allowed a childhood for as long as possible in this sad, cruel, harsh world we now live in!

Michelle Hopkins

29 November 2014 at 00:02

This policy is an absolute disgrace, education is becoming less about education and more about paperwork.Teachers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, having to implement these time wasting ridiculous policies while on the whole disagreeing with them. If one of my children is ill, I shall inform the school and that's as far as I will go, I will not seek their permission to keep them at home until they are fit enough to return, I will not bother already overworked GP's for a letter of proof or I will not provide evidence such as pictures of medication. Also, if i want to take them on a holiday during term time, I will. It never did me any harm and it won't do them any harm. This country is a joke, why should we as parents be made to feel like criminals for looking after our children.

Nuala Burke

28 November 2014 at 19:59

It is interesting to me that I don't actually know what evidence the Education COmmittee uses for its policy making. I don't know if there are any protocols or if there is any regulation as to how evidence is collected. Where would I find this information? The fact that it is not readily available information is suggestive of there being not solid procedure. As such, the system is already flawed. Doubters will be able to say evidence is made up or manipulated. Analysing evidence - again, how is this done? Is there any regulation? If not, then analysis is worthless as it is open to interpretation and manipulation to assert a political view. I have been involved in collecting and analysing of evidence, both hard and soft data. I know how easy it is to leave out or put in information to prove a point. As I have no idea what the Education Committee's use of evidence is or its mechanisms for analysis, it is impossible to give a clear answer as the question in itself -and what it alludes to - is unclear.

Sarah Srisaeng

28 November 2014 at 12:07

I cannot profess to know much about the evidence base that is used when making policy. However I would be interested in knowing if the new rule on term time holidays has actually had an effect on the children who regularly missed school prior to the rule. I would also like to know if the incidents of illness have increased. I know of several families who have lied to the school in order to take their children out and do not want to be fined. Therefore teaching their children that it is okay to lie and even making them lie to their teachers. It would also be interesting to know if there is a record of how many children are being sent to school ill in order to keep up attendance? I have myself sent my children in when they really could have done with a day or two of recovery from colds and fevers. This would not be expected in a the working world, as co-workers do not want to have viruses passed around the office. It seems to me that the 48 hour rule for stomach bugs seems to be overlooked with what appears to be an increase in the amount of incidences of them in schools. Like others who have posted I would also like to see evidence of the benefits of families spending quality, valuable time together. We are taking our children aged 5 & 7 to Thailand, which is their Fatherland next week. This will be their first trip and probably the only time they will meet their Paternal Grandmother. We will be having several religious ceremonies during our visit. Despite this being a life enhancing experience that will not only give our children the opportunity to meet and spend time with their family, we believe that they will have a great deal of educational experience - learning about the world, another culture (which is their own), the nature, food, climate and currency differences - it has not been deemed an 'exceptional' circumstance by the governing body and we face a fine for taking 2 weeks off school to make the trip David Cameron himself has stated that family values hold the key to a responsible society. Punishing families for trying to take time together to be cohesive undermines this statement and shows no understanding or support for modern families with work and finances to consider on top of when to actually find the time needed. Perhaps it would be useful to look at evidence of how responsible and happy children are when they have parents who do actually want to spend time with them and give them positive experiences during their childhood versus those who are constantly in the care of institutions?

David Weston

27 November 2014 at 12:37

Firstly, the Department should be commended for making some big strides in this area. Funding the EEF and the National College Test & Learn programme are two examples of strong systematic promotion of evidence. Kudos too for setting EEF up in such a way that it is able to use its government funding to publicly challenge the DfE (and others) where messages differ from a sober and careful review of evidence. Naturally there are still areas where political expediency has led to cherry-picking of evidence. I would be happier if every 'evidence-based' policy talks about the weight of findings, the weight of any opposing views, and then discusses a rationale for taking a decision. Commenting on my own area of interest, professional development of teachers, there is a mixed record. Teaching Schools and Maths hubs are being encouraged to promote collaborative teacher enquiry, which is a good thing. On the other hand, much government-funded CPD is still very much of a 'stand-and-deliver' model that we know is less likely to work - the evidence is quite clear on this. More broadly, I would like to see the Department make greater use of gradual piloting and RCTs when rolling out new policy in order to test effectiveness. I realise this makes for less impressive headlines but it is likely to not only use evidence more effectively but also contribute back to the evidence base. David Weston Chief Executive Teacher Development Trust

Pauline Green

25 November 2014 at 19:35

Children of this generation are missing out on valuable travel experiences and shared holidays with family. Education although important can be gained throughout life. Early development of personality through shared experiences quality of life, and memories stay with us and determine who we are. The government is putting extra pressure on both children and parents regarding term time holidays. Is it going to be a privileged society of them who can and them who can't? What happens to the children who can't, do they turn to crime .. so they can? Ordinary people cannot afford holidays which double in price during school holidays. These children are our future and missing school for one week is not going to effect there intelligence. However, it will enrich their lives with positive experiences.

Nichola Smith

25 November 2014 at 14:21

The benefits of family holidays vs the damage of a few missed school days needs to be properly investigated and evidenced. From studies so far it shows that family time and holidays far outweigh those few missed school days. Time away can often be more educational than time in school. The quality time with family creates happy children who should then thrive in their learning environment! I took my children to Egypt one year, the next term they were learning about Ancient Egypt and they had a head start on their classmates as they had actually experienced what they were learning about. This was prior to the rule changes and they only missed 3 days of school having only ever missed a few days for illness before. They caught up with the work as I made it my duty to make sure they didn't fall behind. I feel this rule has been bought about to tackle the problem parents / children that do constantly miss school. Unfortunately we now all have to suffer as do our children.

Victoria Dethier

25 November 2014 at 12:55

I would welcome more transparency concerning the use of 'evidence' and it's influence on policy making, and that it should be evidence based, peer reviewed and easily accessible to the general public. In the case of the change in legislation regarding the attendance policy, I found it incredibly difficult to ascertain this information and the basis for the change in this policy remains unclear. It would appear that the drive to raise attendance on the idea that high attendance equals high attainment is fundamentally flawed. What we have been left with are schools that are under immense pressure to produce a high statistical figure to satisfy OFSTED and the State. In order to do this successfully it seems that the schools have no choice other than to blanket rule and heavily cut back on what can be classified 'exceptional circumstances', resulting in the personal needs of the child being overlooked. In my personal circumstance, I have been refused a request for an authorised absence, for my child to travel to another country to visit her father,stepmother, baby sibling and other family members. Previously I always maintained good relations with the school and it was generally agreed and accepted that a few missed days of school each year, in order to spend quality time with a parent and family was far from detrimental and in fact beneficial to my childs emotional well being and impacts positively on her attainment at school. With a resounding 'NO' from the school and a refusal to take her personal circumstances into consideration, I am left with the choice of either, potentially breaking the law, being subject to fine. Or, denying my child precious family time and risking her emotional health.

adele perry

25 November 2014 at 12:16

I am a hard working family. I have 5 children (3 school age) and both parents work full time. We are both self employed and our busiest time is school holidays so for us to take a family break would be impossible. If we are to give our children a holiday then we simply must go during term time. Now it would appear the government are telling me that my family are not entitled to a holiday until my children are out of education!! The government are very quick to collect our hard earned Taxes but not so quick to allow us to a family life. I thought this country was a Democracy? Was this voted for by the public?? Who do the Government think they are telling my family what i can and can't do with our holidays

Marco P

25 November 2014 at 02:18

Both I and my wife have close family living in our respective countries of origin. The blanket ban on term time holidays will effectively halve (at best) the number of times our children will be able to see their grandparents, their cousins: there is no flexibility whatsoever built in the new rules. Enabling high school attendance is good as a principle, but has the Government evaluated carefully the impact of its policies on the life of real families? Do they ***care*** at all? Give the ability to decide back to headteachers, who are best placed to evaluate personal circumstances. Change this law.

Total results 154 (page 4 of 16)