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Barber's barbs are misplaced;Letter

In the space of his first two paragaphs, our erstwhile colleague Michael Barber ("Chelsea scores an own goal for learning society" TES, March 6) attempts two penalty shots against educational research and researchers.

The first points out that many academic debates run the danger of making issues more obscure rather than less; the second that nobody of any importance reads academic journals.

To the extent that either or both of these assertions are true, we believe that they should be a cause for some regret rather than celebrations. We are sure that Michael, who after all has chosen to continue using his title of "Professor", would prefer to join those whose ears and eyes are open to the evidence of research, rather than give succour to those who prefer to base their educational policies on prejudice alone. Perhaps then, he would allow us to add a sixth to his five "cameos" for a truly learning society.

Imagine opening the pages of a newspaper, and finding that academics and policy advisers are trying to learn from each other and seeking ways to respect each others' attempts to built a better educational experience for children.

Now that really would betoken a learning society.


Mathematical Sciences Group Institute of Education 20 Bedford Way, London WC2

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