The Remarkable Research of Janet Downs

Henry Stewart's picture
The FOI debate between Janet Downs and the Department for Education, over Michael Gove's mis-use of surveys to claim modern teenagers were ignorant, hit the headlines today. So far it has been covered in the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Huffington Post.

Regular readers of Local Schools Network will know Janet's work well. She is renowned for digging out obscure facts and wading through long reports to discover useful nuggets. Indeed she has a dedication to use of evidence that would be rather useful in a Secretary for State for Education. This post is a tribute to some of my favourites from Janet's posts:

Recent Critiques of Gove and DfE from Janet

Gove: “survey after survey” display “disturbing historical ignorance” among teenagers. No they don't. Janet reveals that the UKGold survey quoted was based on all adults and not just teenagers. Further surveys are dissected here. Best of all is her FOI debate with DfE.

Gove: In Far Eastern countries “School days are longer, school holidays are shorter,Not according to OECD data, found Janet.

DfE claims Free schools are over-subscribed. Or are they, asks Janet - finding that many "oversubscribed" schools have spare places

Are 20% of school leavers functionally illiterate? No, argues Janet based on ONS definitions..

Other Recent Posts from Janet

21st April: Trouble at two academy chains: AET banned from expanding and E-Act gets a warning

8th April: £3.5 million extension for secondary free school with only 90 pupils in area with 700 surplus places

1st April: Parents critical of Government’s education policies, YouGov poll reveals

17th March: A third of free schools inspected by Ofsted “require improvement”

12th March: What do high-performing school systems have in common? OECD guru summarises PISA findings

And that is just a sample. Browse through the Views page on Local Schools Network to get a sense of the range of posts.

Other Research

Janet is also responsible for almost all the very thoroughly-researched FAQs on this web site. Find the answers to these questions, and others, here - always based on the data and the evidence:

  • What did the Public Accounts Committee say about the Academies Programme in 2013?

  • Is it true that schools with more autonomy tend to achieve better results?

  • What did the National Audit Office (NAO) really say about academies in 2010?

  • Do market forces in education increase achievement and efficiency?

  • What do schools systems which score highly in PISA have in common?

  • What are the examination and assessment systems in OECD countries?

  • What are the examination systems in other countries?

  • What are the key factors of a school accountability system? The OECD lists ten.

  • Would Performance-Related Pay improve educational outcomes?

  • Has there been grade inflation in GCSEs and A levels?

  • Are 20% of school leavers illiterate?

  • What about maths? How many school children leave school innumerate?










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