Category Archives: insight

Where do all the students go?

International student migration research
update: What do international students do
after their studies?      Office for National Statistics (ONS)

The conclusions and development plans for data analysis in this ONS paper are based upon two prevous publications.

Long-Term International Migration: International student migration – what do the statistics tell us?

Update on international student migration statistics: November 2016


Latest ONS provisional figures show that in the year ending September 2016:

a. long-term immigration to the UK was 596,000 and long-term emigration was 323,000        b. net migration was therefore 273,000
c. long-term immigration for study was 126,000 (87,000 were non-EU nationals)
d. long-term emigration for former students was 62,000 (41,000 were non-EU nationals)

View, print or download this short ONS paper here…(pdf)

The ONS comments therefore ‘...if all international students emigrated from the UK after their studies and immigration for study was remaining at similar levels, then we’d expect the immigration and emigration figures to be similar‘. There is therfore pressure to examine the statistical differences revealed.

This progressive analysis has revealed that, in the government domain, there exists no single data resource that can answer the question ‘…what do students do after their studies if so few are emigrating?

Statistics on changes in migrants’ visa and leave status: 2015/ The Migrant Journey offers some analysis and distinct points of reference for those interested in how students, post study, change there immigrant status. See

For illustrative puposes only ONS have provided the following table, highighting some of the outcomes for students and indicating where absent data collection process may inhibit fuller analysis.

Download the core data for this paper as an Excel Spreadsheet file here.

Turning the tide – making a difference

The Right to Education

 The University of Glasgow – a ‘mooc’ point in the making…


Glasgow University have a new massive, open on-line course (MOOC) under way, courtesy of the FutureLearn network. It seeks to engage educators, adult learners and those broadly interested in the countering of inequity in the provision of education.

Entitled The Right to Education: Breaking down the barriers, there is much to support the aims of IETT within its modules. Particularly useful is the course delivery of international perspectives from educators, policy makers and other contributors to the on-line debate  around the globe.

The work of the Univerity lead educator, Dr Margaret Sutherland (Senior Lecturer: Social Justice, Place, and Lifelong Education), and her team, delivers this pan-global perspective to help contexualise the relative educational  riches and the deficits whch we enjoy in the UK.

The Unesco Education for All programme had promised that all children would have access to school by 2015. This progress had halted by 2008, as can be seen from the UNESCO video below…

Today there are, it is estimated, some fifty eight million children not in school. That is one in ten of all children who are denied access to schooling, with that earlier target of universality extended now to 2030.

Half the educationally deprived children live in sub-Saharan Africa. They are predominantly poor, female, already at work whilst young or are excluded by a disability. The supply side of the educational equation has equal paucity, as some 27 million teachers will be needed, it is estimated, to fill a new full demand by 2030.

So we are able to see that, despite the constraints and inequalities, both social and economic, that dog education in the UK, in the global, aggregate view conflict, caste, faith and gender can all drag a child away from life affirming educational experiences.

You can take a look at the brief programme details here, or you can register with FutureLearn to be notified when the next iteration of the course from The University of Glasgow is available. See more here.

On this evidence, there is by 2030, perhaps, still much for all of us to do globally?

Turning the tide – making a difference


Revisiting Pasi Sahlberg and Finnish education

Finland’s school reforms won’t scrap subjects altogether…

 Thinking about Finnish education again…


Flotsam: an occasional series of education ideas from other places.

An interesting time to be re-visiting this article, of Spring 2015, from Pasi Sahlberg which illustrates the latest Finnish thinking on the convergence , a blending, of the curriculum. ‘To replace the teaching of classic school subjects such as history or English with broader, cross-cutting “topics” as part of a major education reform .’

Educationalists need not panic is the Sahlberg message, despite our current government persistence with testing and rigid curriculum application. We visit Finland in this article, but with a side trip to Singapore too, in the interests of compare and contrast. (Ed.)

Pasi Sahlberg, Harvard University writes…

Finland’s plans to replace the teaching of classic school subjects such as history or English with broader, cross-cutting “topics” as part of a major education reform have been getting global attention, thanks to an article in The Independent, one of the UK’s trusted newspapers. Stay calm: despite the reforms, Finnish schools will continue to teach mathematics, history, arts, music and other subjects in the future.

But with the new basic school reform all children will also learn via periods looking at broader topics, such as the European Union, community and climate change, or 100 years of Finland’s independence, which would bring in multi-disciplinary modules on languages, geography, sciences and economics.

It is important to underline two fundamental peculiarities of the Finnish education system in order to see the real picture. First, education governance is highly decentralised, giving Finland’s 320 municipalities significant amount of freedom to arrange schooling according to the local circumstances. Central government issues legislation, tops up local funding of schools, and provides a guiding framework for what schools should teach and how.

Second, Finland’s National Curriculum Framework is a loose common standard that steers curriculum planning at the level of the municipalities and their schools. It leaves educators freedom to find the best ways to offer good teaching and learning to all children. Therefore, practices vary from school to school and are often customised to local needs and situations.

Phenomenon-based learning

The next big reform taking place in Finland is the introduction of a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF), due to come into effect in August 2016.

It is a binding document that sets the overall goals of schooling, describes the principles of teaching and learning, and provides the guidelines for special education, well-being, support services and student assessment in schools. The concept of “phenomenon-based” teaching – a move away from “subjects” and towards inter-disciplinary topics – will have a central place in the new NCF.

Integration of subjects and a holistic approach to teaching and learning are not new in Finland. Since the 1980s, Finnish schools have experimented with this approach and it has been part of the culture of teaching in many Finnish schools since then. This new reform will bring more changes to Finnish middle-school subject teachers who have traditionally worked more on their own subjects than together with their peers in school.

Schools decide the programme

What will change in 2016 is that all basic schools for seven to 16-year-olds must have at least one extended period of multi-disciplinary, phenomenon-based teaching and learning in their curricula. The length of this period is to be decided by schools themselves. Helsinki, the nation’s capital and largest local school system, has decided to require two such yearly periods that must include all subjects and all students in every school in town.

One school in Helsinki has already arranged teaching in a cross-disciplinary way; other schools will have two or more periods of a few weeks each dedicated to integrated teaching and learning.

In most basic schools in other parts of Finland students will probably have one “project” when they study some of their traditional subjects in a holistic manner. One education chief of a middle-size city in Finland predicted via Twitter that: “the end result of this reform will be 320 local variations of the NCF 2016 and 90% of them look a lot like current situation.”

You may wonder why Finland’s education authorities now insist that all schools must spend time on integration and phenomenon-based teaching when Finnish students’ test scores have been declining in the most recent international tests. The answer is that educators in Finland think, quite correctly, that schools should teach what young people need in their lives rather than try to bring national test scores back to where they were.

What Finnish youth need more than before are more integrated knowledge and skills about real world issues, many argue. An integrated approach, based on lessons from some schools with longer experience of that, enhances teacher collaboration in schools and makes learning more meaningful to students.

Students involved in lesson design

Pupils will have a hand in planning classes.
Markku Ojala/EPA

What most stories about Finland’s current education reform have failed to cover is the most surprising aspect of the reforms. NCF 2016 states that students must be involved in the planning of phenomenon-based study periods and that they must have voice in assessing what they have learned from it.

Some teachers in Finland see this current reform as a threat and the wrong way to improve teaching and learning in schools. Other teachers think that breaking down the dominance of traditional subjects and isolation of teaching is an opportunity to more fundamental change in schools.

While some schools will seize the opportunity to redesign teaching and learning with non-traditional forms using the NCF 2016 as a guide, others will choose more moderate ways. In any case, teaching subjects will continue in one way or the other in most Finland’s basic schools for now.

Pasi Sahlberg, Visiting Professor of Practice in Education, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Our readers may also be interested in another recent article from The Conversation.

David Hogan, an Australian academic, argues that despite the adoption of Singapore’s ‘Asian’ education model by Conservative governments, reflecting as it does the full embrace of rigid, testing and prescribed curriculum activity, the benefits of this more ‘fixed’ approach is still waiting to be proven.

As a counterpoint, it is the antithesis of the Finnish model in the Sahlberg  article above. In fact for Hogan, this adoption in the West of a Singaporean model is a mistake.

You can read David Hogan’s article, Why is Singapore’s school system so successful, and is it a model for the West? in full here.

Published this month on the web pages of Age of Awareness is an insider view of the education system in Singapore, which also recognises the strength of ‘Asian’ education in the most recent PISA standards rankings.

The article, Singapore’s Education System: A Local Perspective, argues that learning by rote, which it is claimed is the basis of the success featured, denies learners the ability to think creatively and makes finding answers to problems that do not have ‘pre-defined solutions’ very difficult for students in the Singaporean system.

Read about the systemic failings in a Singapore education here.

(Editors Note: We like Age of Awareness. With its strapline, ‘Another World is Possible‘, and its content providing an international view on the ‘…creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the education system‘, we recommend it. See more here… )

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

Dollar Street, humanity on display!

Flotsam: Our occasional series of pieces about ideas and views from other places.

dollar street road sign image
Discover more here…

Dollar Street

We weren’t quite sure what to make of these web pages at first. Built by Gapminder in Sweden, they show two hundred and forty families, across forty six countries, and link a series of images of their possessions and homes to their average monthly income.

Was it voyeurism that made us uncomfortable? Was it the notion of ‘economic tourism’? Or simply the discomfort of being shown a stark reality, illustrating how individuals and families, often precariously, cling to hope, aspiration and dignity?

For the team at Gapminder the proposition for Dollar Street is clear. These are the facts and they should temper all discourse about the other – other people, communities and culture.

Was it our imaginations, or did the preponderance of families with incomes of less than five hundred dollars a month across the globe decline to smile in the photographs? Of course this could be a cultural thing, rather than a crude measure of some sort of economic level on an imagined ‘happiness index’.

However, the wealth of Creative Commons images on the site and the short biographies of the people photgraphed make for an interesting comparative study.

To counteract litanies of fear, prejudice and racism can be no small aim. Rendering global ignorance redundant by illuminating the world with facts. No small ambition for a small Swedish independent Foundation.

‘For the first time in human history reliable statistics exist. There’s data for almost every aspect of global development. The data shows a very different picture: a world where most things improve; a world that is not divided. People across cultures and religions make decisions based on universal human needs, which are easy to understand.

The fast population growth will soon be over. The total number of children in the world has stopped growing. The remaining population growth is an inevitable consequence of large generations born decades back.

We live in a globalized world, not only in terms of trade and migration. More people than ever care about global development! The world has never been less bad. Which doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The world is far from perfect’. Source:

Exploring Gapminder:

For teachers Gapminder has a proliferation of resources and toolkits available to explore the world through data.

Gapminder World offers access to a series of global trends and an on-line/off-line toolkit to explore them.  A teacher’s guide to 200 years of world developmental history and change. A Life Expectancy PowerPoint, with background information and a teacher’s guide.

Having wrangled with the intrusive nature of the Dollar Street image index, and having read the Gapminder mission statements, we felt their argument that the world is indeed ‘a better place’ to be much needed in troubled econo-social and educative times.

Explore the Gapminder site here and decide.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

Revisiting Ken Robinson

Following the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the recent series of affrays across the political landscape, with a resultant refreshed exposition on the economy, the topography of industry is now littered with claims for an upsurge in economic flexibility, innovation, challenge and growth.

We revisit Sir Ken Robinson talking about ‘How to Change Education?’ as a consequence.

What better time in the current climate to look again at the education reform focus of the Robinson arguments about schools as Enlightenment driven, rigid, formulaic and command and control industrial systems.

The RSA Animate, featured above was a wonderful synthesis of those arguments and offers a direct challenge to some more traditional ‘informed thinking’ about the educational process for our children.

You can see the full, original RSA talk (24 mins) by Ken Robinson in July 2013 here…

With the socio-political present focus on ‘the other’, isolation and insularity – the call to arms for fresh thinking about creativity embedded in the Robinsonian education reform argument, to secure the future of all our children, becomes now doubly telling, we think.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

An open letter
to Nicky Morgan

Visit the NAHT on-line here…

The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) have recently published an open letter to to the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan.

The correspondence, the challenge, follows the ending of SATS Week in the Primary sector. We offer the detail of the letter below for review.

”Dear Nicky,

Following SATs week, we have collected the feedback of members and urge you to consider some changes to the current and future arrangements for assessment. The experience in a large majority of schools has not been a positive one.

Teachers and head teachers all agree that a thorough review of assessment is necessary. We hope that you will commit to a fundamental review of assessment to avoid further problems next year.

In the meantime there are two pressing concerns and possible solutions:

  • Hold off on publication of any 2016 test data
  • A commitment to changing from ‘secure fit’ to ‘best fit’ judgements in the assessment of writing

Publication of Data

Given concerns about both the design and administration of the new assessments, the lack of preparation for schools, the inadequate time to implement the new curriculum for the current cohort, and the variations in approaches between schools resulting from delayed and obscure guidance, it is hard to have confidence in the data produced by this round of assessments.

It is not just that the marks may be lower overall, which could be addressed, but that they will vary in unpredictable ways. We know of widely different approaches to writing assessment across the country, for example. And the content and sequencing of the reading test meant that lower attaining pupils had little opportunity to show their progress. This may result in a skewed distribution of marks that simply setting a lower threshold may not solve. Comparisons between schools become very risky.

School level data should not be externally published under these circumstances. Assessment data should still be available on RAISE Online, which summarises a school’s performance at the end of each Key Stage, and could be shared with parents, but the aggregated school-level scores should not be published externally. We understand that Ofqual is already mandated to conduct a review of this year’s data. In our view a hold on external publication, until we can be sure what the data is telling us, would be a sensible step. In this interim year, we should be cautious about the data that’s been collected.

Secure Fit

Problems have arisen with the new secure fit model; teachers need some sensible flexibility when assessing children’s writing and would be happier with a ‘best fit’ model. This would give a more accurate reflection of whether or not a child has grasped the overall skills of writing.

Children who are clearly excellent writers will be incorrectly labelled as working below the expected standard this year simply because teachers are not permitted to use their own judgement about their balance of abilities. We are particularly concerned about the impact on the thousands of dyslexic children in school.

There are few other tests or examinations at any other stage of education, where a student is judged by ‘secure fit’. The top grades at GCSE, A-Level and degree level are all attainable with a score below 100%, and yet only 100% will do if our six and ten year olds are to meet the required standard.

A move from ‘secure fit’ to ‘best fit’ would remove some problems. However, it is clear that the interim framework is not working and needs a sustainable long-term replacement.

Serious problems have emerged in the planning and implementation of tests this year, with a negative effect on schools. We believe that the suggestions we have outlined above would go some way towards settling growing disquiet about assessment and demonstrate a clear faith in the profession to deliver the government’s reforms”.

Yours sincerely,

Russell Hobby, General Secretary
Kim Johnson, President
James Bowen, NAHT Edge Director
Amanda Hulme, Chair of NAHT’s assessment group

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

Equality – drivers and context

Inequality in Education (IETT) has a focus on education, as you would expect. Inequality and its consequences stretch across a range of life experiences and outcomes for individuals, including education of course.

Get a copy from Amazon here...
Get a copy from Amazon here…

Looking through our archive recently, we came across the slides used by Tim Stacey of the Equality Trust in a recent talk he gave, which nicely encapsulates and offers insights into the evidence base for the pursuit of equality in society.

Drawing on data from his own TrustThe Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, as well as Miles Corak and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation amongst others. His case highlights well the admixture of issues that emerge for a society which has a core social, economic and educational inequality at its heart.

You can review Tim’s excellent presentation below.




interneticon2 (copy)You can download your own copy of the full pdf here.

IETT is proud to support the work of The Equality Trust.

You can Contact Us here.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

The Economics of Inequality

As we travel the country taking our campaign forward we often see a great book, one quarter read, abandoned on the coffee table. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Trans. Arthur Goldhammer).

A master work of economic analysis, which retuns Marxian thought to the high table of discourse, we would argue, but which the average reader might fail to pursue to the end, due to its length and complexity.

pikettyEconomicsofInequalitycoverPic2 (copy)
Piketty’s paper…

Piketty’s framing propositions were developed, it can be argued, in an an earlier paper authored with Emmanuel Saez, in 1995. The Economics of Inequality is a much shorter work than his later magnum opus. (National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 8467. U.S., September 2001)

Recently published as a ‘new’ book by Harvard University Press, The Economics of Inequality ( at 160 pages or so, is a much more digestible read than Capital. It has some newly updated content and tables, although the data used to deliver argument in this new work stops in the mid-nineties of course. (Harvard University Press; July 2015)

View, print or download a copy of the original paper.

In a recent New York Times book review, Inequality as it was viewed in the 90’s, the review article argues that Piketty has achieved something of a volte-face on the 1%, and their limiting effect on the economic distribution of wealth and resources.

…the most important contribution of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” was precisely its suggestion that since then a rising share of after-tax profits in national income has indeed set us on the path back to a rentier society, in which the rich live off inherited wealth’.

The article expounds further that Piketty’s Capital ‘…made a disturbing case that we are well on the way to re-establishing “patrimonial capitalism,” a society dominated by oligarchs who inherit their wealth’.

The weakness in this earlier paper, The Economics of Inequality, the reviewer argues, is that Piketty declares, in his original research with Saez, that ”…progressive taxation seems to have prevented a return to 19th-century rentier society”. We disagree. This shorter paper is still a key piece of analysis on an emerging understanding of inequality even with an anti-rentier argument, with all its concomitant impact on economics, education, property and law.

A better critique, we would argue, is that Piketty has spent another two decades researching and thinking about his core propositions and has tempered his analytical ‘oratory’ accordingly with the publication of Capital.

Do open or download Piketty’s original paper from this page and see if you agree. The paper has some interesting historical analysis on the rise of I.T. professions and their effect on wages. (Even though contemporary analysis would now hold that this view is a ‘paperless office’ proposition, which technology also failed to achieve -Ed ).

interneticon2 (copy)Useful links:  An on-line version of the NYT Book Review here.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

Promoting ideas
– changing education

Welcome to our journal pages, The Tide.

Here you will be able to find news and updates about our progress as a project, along with announcements about new groups and communities of interest that we can inspire in the English regions.

teachinggroupIcon3-copy  You can also submit reviews, papers and articles for our journal page at any time.  We will publish with full attribution and circulate the details to our subscribers by email and Twitter, of course.

emailicon2 (copy)  Our editorial email address is office (at)

If you are interested in the debate about education, concerned about the direction of travel or just want to make a contribution to our movement – this is the page for you.

We are on a journey of discovery and change together, happy to have you along.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference