Disorder in education policy-making process

Process, evidence and non-governmental institutions are all unnecessarily weak

Why do we see disorder in the education policy-making process?

When genuine policy-making discussion is called for, Ministers and the DfE are trapped in a rapid, unworkable policy making cycle. The turnaround time is too short, meaningful consultation and discussion unrealistic and the DfE is beset by systemic issues that face the civil service, not least the lack of expertise and institutional memory.

Better policy making requires easily accessible, quality evidence

Evidence could strengthen the policy-making debate – but it is not available in a timely manner. In contrast to the “What Works” evidence for practitioners, evidence for policy-makers is often hard to access, of unknown quality and patchy in coverage.

Frequent ministerial change could be balanced by stronger non-governmental institutions

Non-governmental institutions could provide a more constant counter-balance to frequent ministerial change and correct the tendency to consult narrowly – within an “echo chamber”. However institutions are fragmented and often weak. This applies to representative and sector institutions; professional and practice bodies; Think Tanks and pressure groups; Trusts and even accreditation and assessment bodies. Although the Education Select Committee is effective, arms-length bodies and advisory organisations in education are generally few in number and narrow in representation when compared to other government departments.

Concerns about the DfE

Approximately thirty interviews and discussions took places with current and ex-civil servants, SpAds, academics, Think Tanks, ex-ministers and other experts who are regularly consulted by the DfE. Their concerns on the policy-making process are here: Quotes by role re DfE and CS AugSep 2020

EPI Roundtable on DfE

EPI and edpol held a roundtable on 14th October 2020, with other DfE experts (listed). The group discussed potential areas for process and operational improvement; significant challenges to policy-making and opportunity areas. The report is here: EPI and edpol DfE and CS roundtable 14th October 2020 v4 structured inc. feedback

Education Research Funding, Organization and Presentation

The 2018/19 research budget, of almost £100 million, is broken down by source and destination. Little is shown to be of relevance to policy makers and what exists is hard to identify, access and navigate. Funding Research V12.1

EPI Roundtable on Research Funding

On 11th Feb 2021, EPI and edpol held a roundtable with users, funders and providers of education research (listed). The discussion and attendant evidence showed a divide
existed between demand and supply. See EPI and Edpol roundtable Research funding, org and presentation 11th Feb 2021 Final

Fragementation of Non-Governmental Institutions

Fragmentation of the educational landscape can be seen with the segmentation of over three hundred organisations that cover Think Tanks; policy developers; pressure groups; representative bodies; professional development; research and evaluation; evidence mediation; Academy trusts; accreditation and assessment; service providers and education fund raisers: Fragmented Education Landcape v4.1