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ERIC Number: ED534696
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jul
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 32
Education across the UK Nations: Performance, Inequality and Evidence. Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series. PEPG 12-08
Machin, Stephen; McNally, Sandra; Wyness, Gill
Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University
The four "home countries" of the United Kingdom are becoming increasingly different with regard to education policy. Nevertheless, they are still highly comparable as compared to education systems elsewhere. Over time, they have had a similar legislative framework (particularly in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and, in a broader sense, there is a similar social context across the four countries. For example, there is a comparable level of inequality across many education indicators, with similar trends emerging in recent times. In-depth analysis by the National Equality Panel (2010) attributed this to the fact that policies most important for influencing distributional outcomes (such as tax and benefits) are UK-wide. In this paper, the authors take the opportunity to appraise differences and similarities in educational policies and outcomes in the four UK nations. The fact that England has pursued very different policies in the recent past than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland provides a good testing ground to undertake such a comparative review of what has and has not worked so well in terms of the education reforms that have taken place. The content of the paper is structured as follows. In Section 2, the authors discuss some key areas of education policy in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Sections 3 and 4, they compare the countries in terms of educational performance and inequality. In Section 5, the authors then discuss evaluation evidence as it relates to key educational issues and the differences and similarities in educational outcomes across the different UK nations. Section 6 offers some concluding remarks. Data Appendix is included. (Contains 8 tables, 1 figure and 6 footnotes.)
Program on Education Policy and Governance. Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Taubman 304, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-495-7976; Fax: 617-496-4428; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Harvard University, Program on Education Policy and Governance
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England); United Kingdom (Northern Ireland); United Kingdom (Scotland); United Kingdom (Wales)