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Research spending 'far too low'

The government should be spending "hundreds of times" more on research into education, a leading academic warned this week.

Dylan Wiliam, director of London University's Institute of Education, was speaking as official figures were released showing how much the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and its predecessor, the Department for Education and Skills, had spent on research in recent years.

In 200708, pound;24.3 million was spent on research, amounting to 0.04 per cent of the DCSF's overall pound;60.8 billion budget. In real terms this represents an increase in spending of nearly 15 per cent in two years, from pound;21.2m in 200607.

Professor Wiliam said: "It is an incredibly small proportion of money to spend on research and development and is way too low if you are serious about improving education.

"Companies in a knowledge-intensive area of work would be spending hundreds of times more."

But he said the situation was still "incomparably better" than 20 years ago, and the latest figures would not include research by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

A DCSF spokeswoman said the proportion of the budget spent on research was lower than the 0.05 per cent average over the past 10 years, but that this was distorted by the department having taken responsibility for dedicated school grants in 200607, which had more than doubled its overall budget.

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