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Following the evidence needn't be a trial

As a sociology graduate, I have a great deal of respect for Frank Furedi, but I think he's a bit confused about the practical applications of evidence in schools ("Teaching is not some kind of clinical cure", Comment, 4 October). He is right that randomised controlled trials are too clinical for a field in which variables are complex and unpredictable. But he is wrong to conclude that there is no place for evidence-based practice. The experience of leaders, teachers and students in schools such as mine - which are part of collaborative networks such as Whole Education or work with bodies such as the CfBT Education Trust - is that there is much to be learned from "what works" in other contexts, and that experiments based on those observations are highly effective and economical.

Ben Gibbs, Governor, Ely College, Cambridgeshire

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