The ADR Wales Education research programme has been developed in line with the Welsh Government’s ambition to deliver a long-term programme of education reform and ensure educational inequalities narrow and standards rise. This is furthered by the commitment that no pupil is ‘left behind’ after the Covid-19 pandemic.
ADR Wales programme for work in this area is supported by the WISERD Education Data Lab (WEDL). WEDL was established in March 2019 to deliver independent analysis of administrative education data to inform national debate on some of the most contemporary and pressing educational issues facing Wales.
With a particular focus on mainstream, compulsory education, the ADR Wales Education programme provides policymakers with the insight to make best placed decisions to support the education sector in Wales and the young people that it serves.
Understanding the effect of disadvantage and vulnerability runs through all the work carried out by the ADR Wales Education team. It is with this backdrop that projects including those focusing on the impact of learning loss, the development of attainment and progression, the outcomes for those eligible for Free School Meals and the patterns and the impact of non-attendance at school will be explored.
The academic lead for the ADR Wales Education programme is Professor Chris Taylor.
Education in Wales is changing. School reforms are happening, including new ways of training and supporting staff, and a new curriculum will be rolled out to all learners by 2026. This means the need for evidence, and the potential value of administrative data research, is incredibly important. These changes can create challenges in terms of the comparability of datasets and availability of attainment data which we will work with officials and the sector to address.
Our work in this area will look at both pupil focused and workforce focused matters. We will study patterns of school exclusions in England and Wales, looking at non-attendance recorded as exclusions and the pupil and school factors associated with exclusions. We will also look at patterns of non-attendance not related to exclusion, again characterising differences in attendance associated with pupils at different stages of their education.
We will explore subject choice at key stage 4 and 5, particularly the characteristics of pupils choosing foreign language subjects and explore the extent of inequalities in terms of subject availability.
We will look at the local impacts of Covid-19 on pupil outcomes and staffing issues and how they could be explained by local or community factors. We will study usage of the Welsh Government learning platform Hwb, and the role of technology in schools before and since Covid-19.
We will look at Additional Learning Needs (ALN) in compulsory education and how ALNs impact attendance, career planning and Key Stage attainment.
We will examine the role of the family on educational outcomes, including the impact of socio-economic indicators and the impact of siblings and the home learning environment.
We will consider the role of Welsh language skills and usage amongst the teaching workforce, focusing on classroom teachers and learning support roles to identify the current level of Welsh language skills of teaching and support staff.
We will also look at curriculum time allocation by subject at key stages 3-5.
We will explore pay and progression differences between male and female teachers and ethnic diversity among the teaching workforce, as well as pay, contracts, recruitment and retention for teachers and teaching support staff.
We will also look at school leadership and its impact on pupil outcomes, in particular the distribution and proportion of staff in senior and middle management roles and the impact this has on GCSE outcomes, pupil attendance and progression to further education and training.
Data Insight: The gender progression and pay gap for teachers in Wales
This Data Insight examined differences between female and male teaching staff at different career stages using the School Workforce Annual Census (SWAC). The analysis found that female teachers earned more than male teachers at classroom teacher level. However, this trend reversed for teachers in senior leadership, where male teachers earned, on average, 6% more after controlling for other measured characteristics. In addition, female teachers were significantly less likely to hold senior management roles.
Data Insight: Association of school absence and exclusion with recorded neurodevelopmental disorders, mental disorders or self-harm: A nationwide e-cohort study of children and young people in Wales
This Data Insight examines the association of school absence and exclusion with recorded neurodevelopmental disorders, mental disorders, or self-harm in a large cohort of children and young people in Wales.
Data Insight: Early & Multiple GCSE Entry: Patterns over time
This Data Insight examines patterns of early entry for various subjects over time, detailing high levels of multiple entry for mathematics subjects.