IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Policy priorities

The aim of our policy priorities is to offer evidence-led, practical steps to move towards a society of more equal opportunities from early years to adulthood.

CEPEO evidence-based policy priorities

Inequalities in education – the fact that those from poorer families do less well at school than those from richer families – drive over half of the inequality in opportunities experienced in this country. In the battle to overcome severe skills shortages and waning productivity growth, there is a strong economic case for major investment in education and skills throughout life, from early years through to tertiary education and in-work training.

Mindful of the challenge of competing priorities and high public debt, we present eight immediate priorities that are low cost, grounded in evidence, readily attainable, and materially important, and six more ambitious evidence-led reforms to address long-standing inequalities, equalise opportunities and create a fairer, more productive society.  

In our report, we set out the evidence that informs our policy priorities. In each case we refer to a wealth of evidence a) motivating existing policy challenges and b) possible actions that may be taken. 

Immediate priorities – simple, low-cost change

  1. Improve communication and simplify applications for childcare subsidies. 
  2. Launch a new campaign to support children’s early maths skills.
  3. Improve communication with parents to reduce pupil absenteeism.
  4. Retain external examination as the primary means of assessment.
  5. Reform apprenticeship levy rules to ensure that apprenticeships are a gateway into skilled employment for young people.
  6. Expand accountability on attendance and outcomes to all providers of post-16 education.
  7. Introduce an annual “Social Mobility Scorecard” for universities.
  8. Introduce entry and pay gap audits by socio-economic background. 

Ambitious reforms to address long-standing inequalities

  1. Ensure access to high-quality early years provision for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  2. Reform school admissions policies to weaken the link between family income and school quality.
  3. Invest in the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers.
  4. Introduce a post-qualification applications (PQA) system for post-18 education. 
  5. Invest more in Further Education (FE). 
  6. Adopt a more generous and holistic approach to incentivising adult learning.

Blog posts

Policy priorities event

4 July 2023