Doc Summary Service

(Very) belated New Year’s greetings for all reading this update from the School of Education’s Document Summary Service (DSS) team. The DSS is a subscriber service which provides monthly summaries of key education and policy documents along with regular updates from the world of education. We’d like to take you through the report summaries which were the most frequently downloaded in the autumn term. It is always useful for me, as the summary writer, to read these statistics and to know what people find particularly interesting.

No big surprises when I read the list – I think I would have made a similar selection myself. The most frequently downloaded summary was Ofsted’s October briefing on schools which gave an overview of how schools were coping with the aftermath of the school closures. The September briefing was in 7th position.  Number 2 in the summary charts was a report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the Nuffield Foundation. Along similar lines to the Ofsted report, this report explored some of the specific challenges facing schools and pupils as they returned to school in the autumn term.  As a languages specialist, I was pleased to see that the 3rd place was taken by a British Council report calling for a number of interventions to address the worsening situation of languages in the UK – a great report to use as a basis for discussion.  In 4th place, amidst some angst in schools about the 2021 examinations, was a report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI), setting out their position on summer exams. Somewhat prophetic, in that it called for exam boards to provide assessments which could be used as part of the grading process – something which we know is likely to be implemented. In 5th place was the DfE State of the Nation Report on children and young people’s wellbeing, followed by a report from the Children’s Commissioner which looked at what young people themselves wanted from schools in the wake of the school closures – interesting reading! In 8th place was EPI’s annual Education in England report which looks particularly at the disadvantage gap.  In 9th place was a report from Oxford University Press and the Centre for Education and Youth looking at the role which vocabulary plays in pupils making a successful transition between primary and secondary school and at how schools can support pupils’ vocabulary development during transition. In 10th place was another report from the NFER which looked at the impact of COVID-19 on Initial Teacher Training – it was interesting to see the extent to which the findings mirrored my own experience.

I hope that this whistle-stop summaries tour has given you an idea of the breadth and scope of the reports which are out there! The Top Ten list below includes some links to the free samples, one of which is published each month.  If you are not a subscriber yet, do consider joining us on a special discounted rate for NASBTT members, just quote NASBTT10.  You will have access to a huge archive of summaries which is an invaluable research tool. As a subscriber, you will also have access to a summaries toolkit giving you suggestions as to how the summaries can be used in the context of CPD training or in ITT. YOU can find out more at:

Please continue to follow us on Twitter @BristolUniDocs!

Helen Aberdeen

Top Ten Summary (those highlighted appear as part of our samples)

No Title Publisher
1 COVID-19 Series: Briefing on Schools: October 2020 Ofsted
2 The Challenges Facing Schools and Pupils in September 2020 NFER and the Nuffield Foundation
3 Towards a National Languages Strategy: Education and Skills British Academy & Association of School and College Leaders & British Councils & University UK
4 Education Policy Institute Position on Testing and Examinations in 2021 EPI
5 State of the Nation 2020: Children and Young People’s Wellbeing DfE
6 Some Sort of Normal: What Children Want from Schools Now Office of the Children’s Commissioner
7 COVID-19 Series: Briefing on Schools September 2020 Ofsted
8 Education in England: Annual Report 2020 EPI
9 Bridging the Word Gap at Transition Oxford University Press & Centre for Education and Youth
10 The Impact of COVID-19 on Initial Teacher Training NFER


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