England’s education can be improved through a smarter approach to policy making

Summary. English education operates below its potential, because short-term thinking and rapid policy cycles cause high levels of policy churn. Meanwhile, larger and more complex decisions are deferred. This will continue to be the case, until we find a smarter way to make policy.

Problems and causes. Policy churn disrupts, demotivates and creates distrust. It is damaging to school and college productivity, has reduced teacher motivation and retention and has bequeathed an incoherent system. These problems are caused by an over centralised system, fragmented non-governmental institutions and an adversarial environment.

Alternatives and solutions. Research and roundtable discussions explore alternatives. Solutions are proposed including: long-term planning; mechanisms to reconcile conflicting views; an agreed process for policy making; a new centre to synthesise and mediate evidence; strengthening of non-governmental institutions; DfE reform and some re-delegation of centralised authority.

Navigating this site. This website provides access to much of edpol’s work. Over the next five pages, there are links to around twenty new reports. There is research, analysis, records of roundtables and contributions from around one hundred thought-leaders in education.  International comparisons are built on edpol’s quantitative analysis of PISA data and contemporary commentary, together with qualitative reviews undertaken by EPI. Clicking through the report thumbnails provides a summary and download option. Summaries on each page are cross referenced with the related evidence. This site is still work-in-progress and those on our mailing list are informed of updates.

Who is edpol? We are a small, independent organisation examining the causes and consequences of rapid change in English education policy (see About us).  We believe policy change should be more enduring and less disruptive to schools, colleges, teachers and lecturers. Our intention is to provide evidence based insight – rather than opinion. Edpol supports the FED’s 21/22 programme to introduce long-term planning.  
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