From ivory towers to the chalkface

Despite the explosion of education research in recent years, the distance between researchers and teachers is greater than ever, warns Karen Wespieser. Here, she argues that academics need to build better links with schools so that their research makes a real difference

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Let’s start with a confession. I am not a teacher. Apart from a short stint as a teaching assistant back in 1999, I have never been directly employed by a school. Despite this, I have spent nearly 20 years involved in designing research and policy aimed at helping schools to improve outcomes for young people. Over this time, while the edu-support sector has grown, it seems to me that the distance between those in the classroom and those of us trying to help from outside has increased exponentially.

In the early 2000s, in my first job as a research assistant at one of the country’s largest ...

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