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New report on sexism in schools launched

report coverIER’s Gaby Atfield, Erika Kispeter and Clare Lyonette have been commissioned by the National Education Union (NEU) and UK Feminista to conduct research on sexism in UK schools.

The report summarising the findings will be launched today (12 December 2017) at the Houses of Parliament.

Key findings from the research include:

                                • Over a third (37%) of girls at mixed-sex schools have been sexually harassed while at school.
                                • Over a third (34%) of primary school teachers say they witness gender stereotyping in their schools on at least a weekly basis.
                                • 64% of teachers in mixed-sex secondary schools hear sexist language in schools on at least a weekly basis.
                                • Students generally do not report sexism: only 14% of those who experienced sexual harassment told a teacher and 6% who heard the use of sexist language reported it.

                                UK Feminista and the NEU call on the Government, Ofsted and schools to take urgent action to challenge sexism and sexual harassment in schools. The report is based on a survey of 1508 secondary school students and 1634 teachers at secondary and primary schools in England and Wales. Discussion groups were also conducted with secondary school students.

                                Full report: National Education Union and UK Feminista (2017) “It’s just everywhere”: A study on sexism in schools - and how we tackle it.

                                Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:26 | Tags: schools

                                New school for the old school: careers guidance and counselling

                                deirdre_hughes_2015.jpgDr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Principal Research Fellow Warwick Institute for Employment Research

                                These are critical times for career guidance and counselling in education. The implementation of up-to-date guidance and counselling in education must not be seen as something separated from educational reform. There is a critical tension between progressive and regressive tendencies in both education and careers work. The case for reform requires careful attention leading to innovative solutions:

                                • How to combine critical thinking (‘how reliable and usefully do you know?’) and the development of career narrative?
                                • How to create a school culture in which emotions are not avoided but are seen as the starting point of significant learning? As significant learning presupposes pain (Piaget & Inhelder, 1969), but too much pain will cause avoidance instead of learning.
                                • How can conflicting role demands be harmonized? Career teachers are confronted with two conflicting role demands (between ‘feedback’ and ‘feed-forward’) which demands that they have both a system orientation as well as a student-focused attitude. Teachers are confronted by conflicting demands with regards to qualities: on the one hand traditional demands that are defined primarily in output terms (e.g. less drop out) and on the other hand demands to be focused on the guidance process itself. A solution to this can probably not be found by setting out ‘empty’ (i.e. without theoretical underpinning) guidance roles (Network for Innovation in Career Guidance & Counselling in Europe, 2014)
                                • How to prevent the above mentioned problems from being ‘solved’ by outsourcing them? The persistent efforts by politicians to go towards marketisation of careers guidance have proven that this is a far from an imaginary tendency.
                                • How to create a strong career-learning environment? Schools are traditionally ‘turned inward’, but to create a career-learning environment cooperation between industry and schools on the basis of shared responsibility is required. Such cooperation is difficult to fully realise because it requires a taking leave of twentieth-century cooperation based on ‘divided’ responsibility. Such cooperation cannot be forced but it will also not happen without effort.

                                Together the articles in this International Symposium special issue encourage us to step back and think more about what constitutes effective twenty-first schooling. This also provides further stimuli to consider how and where can careers guidance and counselling policies, research and practice make a positive contribution to enriching individual’s lives.

                                Hughes, D. , Law, B. & Meijers, F. (2017) New school for the old school: careers guidance and counselling in education, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling.

                                Fri 10 Mar 2017, 16:20 | Tags: schools career Faculty of Social Sciences !Blog

                                IER Business Class Evaluation report published

                                On 26 November, Business in the Community published its report Destiny should not be determined by demography which considers the impact of school-business partnerships on young people’s employability, as well as the effects of such partnerships on schools and businesses. The report is based on research carried out by Terence Hogarth and Lynn Gambin at the Institute for Employment Research which aimed to assess the impact of employer-engagement activities, the uplift of employability skills and added-value impact on pupils of the Business Class programme. This research was carried out over the past two years in conjunction with Education and Employers Research.

                                The full evaluation report can be downloaded from