Jo joined the Education Policy Institute in March 2016 and is currently the Director for SEND and Additional Needs. She graduated from the London School of Economics with a Masters (MPA) in Public and Economic Policy in 2005; her second year of post-graduate study was completed at Columbia University in New York where she undertook a concentration in education policy at the Teachers’ College. Jo’s background includes ten years as a statistician at the Department for Education, specialising in analysis and research of school outcomes to support policies including behaviour and attendance, floor standards and accountability, and attainment and HE entry gaps.

At EPI, Jo has led major reports on Pupil Unexplained Exits from School, Disadvantage Gaps in Attainment, and Identification of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Jo’s research on school inspection includes reports on the association between school intakes and inspection outcomes, and on the negative cycles that contribute to schools becoming ‘stuck below good’ inspection grades.

Jo believes that school inspection sits at the nexus of several topics that are important for vulnerable and disadvantaged children’s outcomes: it can influence the quality and stability of the teaching workforce in schools that many such children attend; it can set incentives for the balance between academic attainment, children’s wider development, the inclusion of children with additional needs and the safeguarding of vulnerable children; school inspection also plays an increasing role in the curriculum and how that supports long-term outcomes such as health and employment.

Jo would like to see the development of a framework for school inspection that is capable of supporting and recognising the full range of ways in which schools contribute towards the development and health of children and their flourishing across a broad and balanced curriculum. This would include proper recognition of the work that schools do to keep children safe in an increasingly complex world, to include children with additional needs and work adaptively to support their education, and to develop the full range of talents and contributions young people can make to society. Jo believes we need a framework that is realistic about the fact that most schools have some strengths and some areas for improvement and that the local school context and national policy context contributes to these.