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Policies are hopelessly unbalanced about learning

I am grateful for last week's Research Focus article on my new book, The Social World of Children's Learning, Cassell, (TES, February 16). However, I must clarify that the central implication of the book is that policy-makers should consider the social and emotional realities of pupil learning - teachers and schools already do, where they can.

The whole edifice of current curriculum, assessment and inspection structures is based on a model of teaching, which lacks a complementary understanding of learning. This is most clearly embodied in chief inspector, Chris Woodhead, and is hopelessly unbalanced. Subject knowledge and excellent teaching are necessary, but not sufficient, for high quality learning. They must be complemented by an appreciative understanding of learners and their needs. There is plenty of evidence that teachers and parents understand this. Unfortunately politicians, of both major parties, seem to be some way behind.

PROFESSOR ANDREW POLLARD University of Bristol 8 Hyland Grove Westbury-on-Trym Bristol

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