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Think-tanks are responsible for many of the ills that have beset schools in recent years. But at least one of these education-policy incubators is providing a useful service to schools.

The centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research - sometimes portrayed as Tony Blair's favourite think-tank - has a website at that stores several research papers that could be valuable to teachers. Last year's report, "Learning to Trust", on what schools can do for the mental health of children, is one example.

The author, Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer, reviews recent research and suggests three principles for helping children grow up in a more balanced way. The key ideas are security, significance and connection. Security is linked with consistency and a framework of well-known and clearly stated rules; significance is having a sense of being important to someone and getting positive feedback; connection is to do with feelings of belonging and trust.

Each of these has its consequences for school organisation. Details at www.ippr.orgresearchfilesteam23project77learning_to_trust.PDF Sam Saunders

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