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Down-scythed

The announcement that 19 teacher education institutions are to lose research funding will be seen as a classic "small earthquake in Chile - not many dead" story. But it merits more attention than its low Richter-scale reading might suggest.

The cut could prove a personal disaster for many of the 300-plus researchers affected. It is also a blow to an education research community that is still digesting February's news that best practice scholarships for teachers who conduct their own research are to be scrapped.

It can, of course, be argued that funding should be channelled into centres of excellence rather than the "trivial pursuits" that preoccupy some researchers. But it is hard to see how this latest cutback squares with the Government's goal of creating a research-informed teaching profession. If it wants to achieve that aim it should ensure that a thousand flowers bloom - not just the prize orchids.

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