THE future of educational research in Scotland has been dealt a second major blow in two weeks with the shock departure of Professor John MacBeath, director of the Quality in Education Centre at Strathclyde University.
Professor MacBeath, aged 59, is moving south in October to a new chair in educational leadership at Cambridge University, linked to the expansion of headteacher training in England.
Probably the most outspoken researcher in Scotland, he has been instrumental in promoting school self-evaluation indicators and strategies for improvement, work regarded highly by the Scottish Executive.
Archie McGlynn, former head of the HMI audit unit, said: "Arguably, he is the ost influential teacher-researcher in the last decade. He's an original thinker and a guy who raises issues."
Professor MacBeath's centre, set up nine years ago, has won contracts internationally. For the past three years, he has been a member of the Standards Task Force in England and sparring partner of Chris Woodhead, head of OFSTED.
"One of the strengths of Scottish education is that authorities and the Scottish Executive have worked closely with researchers over the years. But we are going to have to take a cold, critical look at the 21st century curriculum and structure in schools. What served us well in the seventies and eighties is not good enough," he warned.