Bitesize Briefings

To keep our Partner Schools up-to-date on education policy developments and research, we send out one page briefings, summarising reports with key findings and the North East impact.

If you would like to receive our Bitesize Briefings, please sign up as a Partner School.

Latest Bitesize Briefings

Home learning experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic

September 6, 2021

Institute for Fiscal Studies

In this report, the IFS examine how the learning experiences of English school children evolved over the course of the first 12 months of Covid-related disruption, from the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020 until the end of the second period of school closures in March 2021.

Addressing digital exclusion in north east England

September 6, 2021

Institute for Public Policy Research

This IPPR report is a summary and proposed regional strategy drawn from a research programme undertaken during 2021. This research sought to explore the extent and nature of digital exclusion in the North East (not just in schools), to identify policy responses, and to outline a strategic framework for addressing digital exclusion in the North East.

School spending in England: trends over time and future outlook

September 2, 2021

Institute for Financial Studies

This briefing note provides an update on school spending trends over time, covering the most recent sets of data, forecasts and policy announcements. School spending covers pupils in state-funded schools aged 5–16, as well as pupils aged 16–19 in school sixth forms.

Recovery during a pandemic: the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 on schools serving deprived communities

September 2, 2021

National Foundation for Educational Research

This report provides insights into schools’ support for the recovery of learning, wellbeing and opportunity, as well as challenges and support needs, once pupils returned to school full-time from March 2021. It is based on in-depth interviews with senior leaders in 50 mainstream primary and secondary schools across England, predominantly serving deprived populations.

A Fair Start? Equalising Access to Early Education

August 19, 2021

Sutton Trust

With the poorest children already 11 months behind their peers when they start primary school, and evidence that the gap is beginning to widen, this Sutton Trust report looks at access to early years provision.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the early years workforce: February-May findings

July 21, 2021

Education Policy Institute

This EPI report is based on the last in a series of surveys that were carried out over the past year to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the early years sector and on the staffing decisions that settings have had to make throughout the year.

State of the nation 2021: Social mobility and the pandemic

July 20, 2021

Social Mobility Commission

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the Social Mobility Commission has taken a deep look at the progress made in all four UK nations in tackling poverty, addressing inequality, and improving social mobility.

The evolution of cognitive skills during childhood across the UK

July 9, 2021

Education Policy Institute

This report from the EPI provides new insights into the educational outcomes of pupils in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland since devolution. The study draws on the detailed Millennium Cohort Study of children born around 2000 and compares outcomes in reading, vocabulary, language and maths.

School Funding in England

July 2, 2021

National Audit Office

The NAO’s value for money reports examine government expenditure in order to form a judgement on whether value for money has been achieved. They also make recommendations to public bodies on how to improve public services.

Against the odds: Achieving greater progress for secondary students facing socio-economic disadvantage

June 30, 2021

Social Mobility Commission

The ‘Against the odds’ study investigates the characteristics and strategies of schools that have bucked the trend. Having conducted fieldwork in 32 English secondary schools, it is the largest study of its kind.

Kids can't catch up if they don't show up

June 28, 2021

Centre for Social Justice

This report from the Centre for Social Justice looks at the growing rates of absences from school during the pandemic, and how this trend can be reversed, including recommendations to utilise the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) to improve engagement.

The Forgotten: How White working-class pupils have been let down, and how to change it

June 22, 2021

House of Commons Education Committee

This report of the Education Select Committee follows on from their inquiry into left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. The inquiry began on 17th April 2020,receiving 65 pieces of written evidence, and held eight evidence sessions.

Putting Apprenticeships to Work for Young People

June 16, 2021

National Foundation for Educational Research

This NFER research examines the impact of the apprenticeships reforms on SMEs and on young people, against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also considers to what extent the apprenticeship programme needs to be refocused in order to ensure that − as we continue to emerge from the pandemic − the apprenticeship system is working to support young people and SMEs.

Children's Recovery Plan

June 1, 2021

The Labour Party

Informed by their ‘Bright Future Taskforce’,Labour has published a Children’s Recovery Plan setting out proposals for all children to ‘play, learn and develop’ in the post-Covid period, aiming to close the education gap so every child’s future is determined by their potential.

Covid-19: Support for Children’s Education

May 26, 2021

Public Accounts Committee

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Commons examines the value for money of Government projects, programmes and service delivery. This report looks at the Department for Education’s response to the pandemic, and sets out recommendations for what the DfE can do to help children recover from the disruption of the past year.

Fairness First: Social Mobility, Covid, and Education Recovery

May 20, 2021

Sutton Trust

In this report the Sutton Trust outlines its priorities for a ‘fairness first’ recovery plan, from the early years to sixth forms and college, based on three principles: the right scale and duration to match the challenge, a targeted approach, and including children and young people of all ages.

Local pay and teacher retention in England

May 20, 2021

Education Policy Institute

This report from the Education Policy Institute, funded by the Gatsby Foundation, examines the current supply of teachers in England, and considers whether reforms to pay policy, particularly at a local level, may lead to improvements in recruitment and retention.

Education recovery and resilience in England

May 14, 2021

Education Policy Institute

This analysis by the EPI modelsthe impact of lost learning and sets out a series of fully costed,evidence-based proposals, showing the significant investment required todeliver on the Prime Minister’s promise to the nation that ‘no child is leftbehind’.

A comparison of school institutions and policies across the UK

April 30, 2021

The Education Policy Institute

This report by the EPI, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, looks at the separate paths the four nations in the UK are taking in education. The research provides insights into the impact of devolution to date and each nation’s current priorities.

The effects of high-quality professional development on teachers and students: A cost-benefit analysis

April 28, 2021

The Education Policy Institute

The Education Policy Institute were commissioned by Wellcome to evaluate the costs and benefits of entitling all teachers to 35 hours of high-quality, continuing professional development (CPD) every year.

The impact of Covid-19 on School Starters: Interim Briefing

April 26, 2021

Education Endowment Foundation

The School Starters study, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), aims to explore the impact of the disruption caused by the pandemic on children’s transition and adjustment to Reception classes across England, looking at emotional wellbeing, language, and numeracy skills. This paper reports initial findings from a survey of parents and schools carried out in the Autumn Term 2020

Analysis Paper: Preliminary research findings on education recovery

April 20, 2021

Educational Policy Institute

Ahead of a detailed report on education recovery to be publishedin May, the EPI has released preliminary findings that reveal thescale of the funding response needed from the government todeliver on its education catch up commitments for pupils inEngland.

Teacher Labour Market in England Annual Report 2021

March 22, 2021

National Foundation for Educational Research

The NFER’s annual Teacher Labour Market report, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, monitors the progress the school system in England is making towards meeting the teacher supply challenge by measuring the key indicators and trends of teacher supply and working conditions. This year’s report also looks at the impact of the pandemic on teachers’ well-being, workload, perceived job security and pay.

Identifying pupils with special educational needs and disabilities

March 19, 2021

Education Policy Institute

This Education Policy Institute (EPI) study,funded by the Nuffield Foundation, quantifies how SEND support variesnationally, highlighting the significant inconsistencies in how children with SENDin England are identified and supported.

Support for children’s education during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic

March 17, 2021

The National Audit Office

This report examines the Department for Education’s support for children’s education during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic between March and July 2020, and its action to help children catch up on the learning they lost during that period, focussing particularly on disadvantaged and vulnerable children.

Long-Term Disadvantage in secondary schools in England

January 27, 2021

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership

This analysis refreshes the research the NPP did in 2019, Next Steps for the Northern Powerhouse. The research in this analysis relates to pupils and exam results up to the end of the 2018/19 academic year. It is important to remember that this analysis relates to the situation prior to the Covid pandemic.

Young people’s mental and emotional health: Trajectories and drivers in childhood and adolescence

January 27, 2021

The Educational Policy Institute

This study looks at the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Generation Z, examining the personal experiences of young people in England, at age 11, 14 and 17. This is supplemented by focus group responses from November 2020

Remote Education Research

January 25, 2021


This report summarises the findings from several strands of research activity that Ofsted carried out in 2020. Remote education as a term covers any teaching where the teacher and pupil are not in the same room.

Learning in Lockdown

January 21, 2021

The Sutton Trust

This research brief looks at the situation for pupils during the latest round of school closures, with survey data from Teacher Tapp on teachers and YouGov on parents giving an up to date picture on how teaching is now being delivered remotely, access to resources, and barriers faced while learning at home, while also looking at how the impacts of the pandemic on education and social mobility can be minimised.

The implications of Covid-19 on the school funding landscape

December 4, 2020

National Foundation for Educational Research

An NFER survey of schools’ responses to Covid-19 in May and July identified that a top priority for senior leaders was for the Government to provide more funding in order to manage the impact of Covid-19. This report investigates the impact of the pandemic on the funding landscape in mainstream primary and secondary schools in England.

Investigation into the free school meals voucher scheme

December 2, 2020

The National Audit Office

This NAO investigation was prompted by reports in April 2020 of problems that schools and parents were experiencing when using the national free school meals voucher scheme, including difficulties and delays in accessing the Edenred website to order eCodes and convert them to vouchers.

Examining the London advantage in attainment

November 20, 2020

Department for Education

This research from the DfElooks into the London effect using data from the Longitudinal Study of YoungPeople in England. The ‘London effect’ is the increased progress and attainmentof pupils in London compared to the rest of England, particularly fordisadvantaged pupils

Education Policy Institute position on testing and examinations in 2021

November 9, 2020

Education Policy Institute

The EPI has published its recommendations on how the government should approach GCSE and A level exams in England in2021, including a back-up plan in the event that exams are cancelled again in the summer.

2020 annual report on education spending in England

November 3, 2020

The Institute for Fiscal Studies

In the IFS’s annual report for 2020, they update estimates of spending per student and analyse the challenges facing each phase of education due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The report looks at all stages of education, from Early Years through to Higher Education.

The ‘New Normal’: The Future of Education after Covid-19

October 9, 2020

Institute for Public Policy Research

With significant focus on recovery from the coronavirus, this report from the IPPR looks for opportunities to ‘build back better’. The report looks at longstanding weaknesses in the education system that pre-date the pandemic, beginning a debate about the ‘new normal’ in schools.

School and Trust Governance Investigative Report

October 7, 2020

National Foundation for Educational Research

The Department for Education commissioned the NFER to carry out investigative research into school and trust governance. The research provides independent evidence to inform future policy developments and enable evidence-based prioritisation of resources to support school and trust governance throughout England.

Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition Annual Report 2020

September 25, 2020


This is the first annual report published by the CYPMHC, shining a light on both the challenges and opportunities faced in protecting the mental health of infants, children, and young people in England in 2020.

2020 Annual Report on Education Spending in England: schools

September 18, 2020

Institute for Fiscal Studies

The IFS annual report 2020 looks at school spending, covering pupils in state-funded schools aged 5–16, as well as pupils aged 16–19 in school sixth forms. In 2019–20, total spending on schools in England represented about £51 billion (in 2020–21 prices), accounting for 17% of total public service spending in England

The long shadow of deprivation: differences in opportunities

September 15, 2020

Social Mobility Commission

This report by the Social Mobility Commission makes use of new data on all state-educated pupils born between 1986 and 1988, following a group of sons from where they grew up to the labour market. The report looks at why there are differences across place, considering the role of education and the labour market.

Education in England: Annual Report 2020

August 26, 2020

Education Policy Institute

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published its Annual Report on the state of education in England, including the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

Covid-19 and the nation's mental health. Forecasting needs and risks in the UK : July 2020

July 17, 2020

Centre for Mental Health

This is the CMH’s second forecast of the mental health impacts of the pandemic, Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health. This second assessment reviews international evidence and explores the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of children and young people, on the economy, and on those hit hardest by the pandemic.

The Cost of Learning in Lockdown: Family experiences of school closures

June 18, 2020

Child Poverty Action Group

The Cost of the School Day project (in partnership with Children North East) helps schools identify and reduce the financial barriers that prevent children in poverty from fully participating in school life. This research used surveys and interviews with parents, carers, and young people to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Schools Responses to Covid-19: Pupil Engagement in Remote Learning

June 16, 2020

National Foundation for Educational Research

NFER have undertaken research to see how engaged pupils are during this prolonged period of remote learning, and the factors that might be driving this, as well as how schools are providing remote learning support for pupils. The report is based on findings from a national survey of 1,233 senior leaders and 1,821 teachers in mainstream primary and secondary schools.

Impact of school closures on the attainment gap: Rapid Evidence Assessment

June 2, 2020

Education Endowment Foundation

The EEF's rapid evidence assessment examines the potential impact of school closures on the attainment gap, based on a systematic search of existing literature.

Achievement for All Evaluation Report

May 28, 2020

Education Endowment Foundation

This report focuses on the impact of a school improvement programme, Achievement for All (AfA), on children’s educational outcomes (such as reading) and resilience-related outcomes (for example, goals and aspirations).

Early Years Toolbox Pilot Evaluation Report

May 28, 2020

Education Endowment Foundation

This evaluation explored whether using the Early Years Toolbox (EYT) apps as part of a package of professional development can influence the knowledge and practice of early years staff, what information and level of support may be needed to act on the app-based assessments and whether this intervention is ready to be implemented at scale, and therefore its impact on child outcomes tested.

Learning during the lockdown: real-time data on children’s experiences during home learning

May 18, 2020

Institute for Financial Studies

In this report, the IFS present survey evidence on how children are spending their time during the lockdown, with a focus on home learning activities and the home learning resources available in different families. The survey was completed online by over 4,000 parents of children aged 4–15 between Wednesday 29 April and Tuesday 12 May 2020.

Warming the Cold Spots of Alternative Provision: A manifesto for system improvement

May 11, 2020

Centre for Social Justice

In this paper the CSJ have conducted an analysis to identify where in the country pupils educated in alternative provision (AP) have a poor-to-zero chance of receiving a quality education. They ranked inspection ratings, GCSE results, post-16 destinations, attendance and qualified teacher rates by local education authority (LA) area.

Support for children with special educational needs and disabilities inquiry

May 6, 2020

House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts

On the basis of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Committee of Public Accounts took evidence, including from the Department for Education, about support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Preventing the disadvantage gap from increasing during and after the Covid-19 pandemic

May 6, 2020

Educational Policy Institute

This EPI policy paper contains an assessment of the likely impact of Covid-19 on the outcomes of children and young people, particularly the most disadvantaged.

Remote Learning: Rapid Evidence Assessment

April 22, 2020

Education Endowment Foundation

The EEF have put together a rapid review andassessment of the evidence available on the effectiveness of remote learning,investigating methods schools can use to support remote learning.

Outliers: On geographically isolated schools

March 3, 2020

Organisation: School Dash

This research looks into the effects of physical isolation (based on travel time from each school to the nearest major employment hub) and economic deprivation on school effectiveness, based on Ofsted ratings.

The effects of high-quality professional development on teachers and students

February 19, 2020

Organisaton: EPI

This report undertakes a review of the evidence on the impact of teacher professional development, examining 52 randomised controlled trials evaluating teacher development programmes.

The Third Degree: Re-examining fair access to higher education

February 17, 2020

Organisation: The Centre for Social Justice

This paper looks into the major barriers faced by disadvantaged pupils in accessing higher education, and outlines recommendations to address some of these issues.

Teacher Autonomy: How does it relate to job satisfaction and retention?

January 29, 2020

Organisation: NFER

The NFER research looks at teacher autonomy, meaning the capacity to make informed decisions and/or act independently. They used data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study and the NFER’s Teacher Voice survey.

Ofsted Annual Report 2018/19

January 21, 2020

Organisation: Ofsted

The Ofsted Annual Report looks at schools, early years, further education and skills, and children’s social care for the academic year 2018 to 2019.

Early years workforce development in England

January 17, 2020

Organisation: EPI

This report examines key early years policies implemented since 2006. The EPI focussed on two policies targeted at increasing qualification levels, and the expansion of childcare entitlements.

Access to child and adolescent mental health services in 2019

January 10, 2020

Organisation: EPI

This EPI report looks at the proportion of referrals to CAMHS that are rejected, and the waiting times to assessment and treatment for accepted referrals.

Fight or Flight? How ‘stuck’ schools are overcoming isolation

January 8, 2020

Organisation: Ofsted

This report explores why some schools that have had consistently poor Ofsted inspections are able to improve while others are not, by visiting a sample of schools and interviewing staff and governors/trustees.

T Levels Research: How are the Providers Preparing for Delivery

December 10, 2019

Organisation: NFER

This report provides a follow-up to the T Levels Research Study report, which was published by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in June 2019. It is based on discussions that took place at NFER’s T Levels round table event, which was held in London on 8th October 2019.

Teacher Wellbeing Index 2019

November 11, 2019

Organisation: Education Support

This report explores the mental health and wellbeing of education professionals, and looks at trends over time. This is the third year of the survey, and had a sample size of 3019.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities inquiry

October 23, 2019

Organisation: Education Selection Committee

The report follows an 18-month inquiry (launched on 18th April 2018) into the 2014 Children and Families Bill, aimed at placing children and young people at the heart of the SEND system.

Free Schools in England: 2019 report

October 17, 2019

Organisation: EPI

This report examines the strengths and weaknesses of the free schools programme, including whether it is successfully targeting areas in the country that are most in need of school places.

How attainment gaps emerge from Foundation Stage to Key Stage 4

October 14, 2019

Organisation: FFT Education Datalab

Foundation Stage Profile assessments were first collected in England in 2006/07. This means that those completing Key Stage 4 in 2017/18 were the first for which assessments can be linked at Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1, 2 and 4. The FFT Datalab analysis uses value added scores based on attainment in reading/English and mathematics.

Teacher Workload Survey 2019

October 11, 2019

Organisation: DfE

The Teacher Workload Survey (TWS) 2019 is a large-scale survey of teachers, middle leaders, and senior leaders, conducted over a three-week period in March 2019, conducted by the Department for Education.

Not going to plan? Education, Health and Care Plans two years on

October 4, 2019

Organisation: Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

This is the latest report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman about the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan process. The report looks at common problems the Ombudsman finds when investigating parents’ complaints.

IFS 2019 Annual Report on Education Spending in England

September 19, 2019

Organisation: IFS

The IFS second annual report on education spending in England provides measures of spending per student in the early years, schools, further education and higher education back to the early 1990s. This comprehensive report provides analysis of a wide range of spending data at all levels.

The Careers and Enterprise Company’s State of the Nation 2019

September 19, 2019

Organisation: The Careers and Enterprise Company

State of the Nation 2019 describes careers provision in England’s secondary schools and colleges at the end of the academic year 2018/19. The report draws on data that has been collected through the Compass self-assessment tool. The Compass tool assesses schools’ and colleges’ careers programmes in relation to the eight Gatsby Benchmarks for Good Career Guidance.

UCL Report on Teachers’ Working Hours in England

September 17, 2019

Organisation: UCL Institute of Education

Drawing on datasets from the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), the Labour Force Survey, UK Time-Use Diaries, and Teacher Tapp, this report provides a comprehensive assessment in teachers’ working hours between 1992 and 2018.

Parentkind Annual Survey 2019 - School Funding

September 16, 2019

Organisation: Parentkind

The Annual Parent Survey carried out by Parentkind gauges parental views from a large sample size of 1,500 parents (1,200 in England, 200 in Wales and 100 in Northern Ireland). This report focuses on their key findings on school funding.

Forgotten Third Commission

September 11, 2019

Organisation: ASCL

The ‘Forgotten Third’ refers to those pupils who fall short of a grade 4 pass in English and maths at the end of Key Stage 4. The exam system currently places just over a third of students to falling below this bar every year because of a mechanism called ‘comparable outcomes’ under which the distribution of GCSE grades is determined largely by how similar cohorts have performed in the past.

Support for Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in England

September 11, 2019

Organisation: NAO

The report assesses how well pupils with SEND are being supported, following on from changes to the system under the Children and Families Act 2014. The report examined: the system for supporting pupils with SEND and the outcomes it is achieving; funding, spending, and financial sustainability; and the quality of support and experience of pupils and parents.

The Impact of College Mergers in Further Education

September 9, 2019

Organisation: DfE

This report examines how college mergers affect financial performance using an entirely quantitative approach (with some analysis on student success rates).

Survey of School Business Professionals 2019

September 5, 2019

Organisation: DfE

The main aims of this research were to understand the evolving role of school business professionals and assess the impact (awareness and use) of certain DfE financial tools and resources available online.