Golden insights? We've got 'em

David Budge's piece on the first EPPI-Centre systematic reviews of research ("Good in theory", TES, July 12) cast doubt on the value for money of the exercise, alleging a lack of "concrete findings". The inclusive education group, he declared, was one of those which had failed to generate "golden insights" and had "little to show for their efforts".

He's a hard man to satisfy. In fact, we found evidence which would, taken seriously, re-establish the central place of values in educational improvement, transform notions of school leadership, cast serious doubts on current orthodoxies (such as "ability" grouping and the growth of special needs empires), and throw many government policies into reverse.

We also identified serious limitations in the knowledge base on inclusive schools, drew up specifications for new and better studies and identified new directions for thinking about inclusion. For good measure, we suggested ways in which systematic reviews could be developed and offered ideas for how education research might be improved.

We're sorry that this was not quite enough for David. However, if other, less exacting, readers want to judge for themselves, our report and those of other groups are available at

Alan Dyson

Co-ordinator, review group in inclusive education

Special Needs Research Centre

University of Newcastle

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