• The Black Country Education Insight Report 2020

      Jopling, Michael; Johnson, Matthew; Pascal, Chris; Williams-Brown, Zeta; Smith, Matt; Riordan, Sally; Starr, Sean; Bartram, Brendan; Thompson, David; Haywood, Michelle; et al. (Education Observatory, University of Wolverhampton, 2020-07-03)
      This is the second annual report which examines education and its associated challenges and issues in all phases of education in the Black Country. In the first report in 2019 we focused primarily on analysis of publicly available data, combined with research findings where appropriate, to exemplify various phases and areas of education and employment in the Black Country. We were explicit about our recognition of the limitations of this approach and the deleterious effects that an over-emphasis on measurement and competition have had on schools and colleges in particular. In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown hit as we were beginning to pull the report together and made this recognition even clearer. The Black Country is characterised by areas with high levels of disadvantage and poverty and it was reported in June 2020 that three of the Black Country local authority areas (Wolverhampton, Walsall and Sandwell) had the highest proportion of COVID-19 cases in the West Midlands. Therefore, we have devoted much of this report to considerations of the impact of the pandemic so far on all the areas of education we explore, drawing as much as possible on the reflections of practitioners and professionals (gathered through online surveys, conversations and interviews), and speculations about what lessons we can learn for the future.