International successful education policy examples

Other countries exhibit strong process, use of evidence and structured institutions

Overseas countries with recognised success in education operate in a policy environment that contrasts starkly with England.

There is no belief in policy “silver bullets”. Policy does not markedly alternate between governments and no single ideological approach points to success (other than recruiting and retaining the best possible teachers). Most significantly, according to the edpol correlation analysis, successful countries share “public confidence in Government effectiveness”. Effective policy is built on stability and consultation; planning for the long term; benefits from societal buy-in; and trust that allows teachers to succeed.

Curriculum reviews tend to take place at regular long-term intervals. Change is incremental and in nearly all cases includes extensive consultation and feedback – at the very least to gain practitioner buy-in. Actors and institutions are wide; process is formal and repeated; reviews are both top-down and lateral – all are extensive and use of evidence and expertise is generally high. In a similar manner, research institutions are long-established, well-respected and typically government-funded.

Analysis of education policy success overseas

The edpol work on policy stability reviewed and correlated large amounts of PISA data. This work contrasts the very structured, long-term planning of countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan and Estonia, with the ad hoc and widely-changing approaches taken in England. Summary findings are here: 20200528 extract overseas learning 28.7.20 v4.1

Curriculum development summary

EPI reviewed curriculum development in Finland, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Scotland. The findings are consistent with the earlier edpol work, highlighting the strength of process, evidence and institutions. A summary table is here: Nation comparison for Curriculum Dev EPI report edpol summary table V1

EPI Curriculum development: full report

The full 27 page EPI report from November 2020 is here: EPI_Review_Evolving curricula

EPI Research Review Summary

EPI also reviewed “How leading education nations organise, focus and fund education research and evaluation”. Countries covered are Finland, Singapore, Australia, Japan and Scotland. Summary tables can be found here: How leading ed nations org, focus and fund research EPI research, edpol extract Dec 2020

EPI Research Review Full Report

The report shows how evidence and research is extensively used to support policy making; that most institutions are well-established e.g. more than 20 years old and that typically their work is directed by a long-term plan. A draft of the full report can be found here: EPI Review_Research in education policy