Bit player or star?

13th November 1998 at 00:00
Education isn't short of problems that seem impossible to crack: persuading boys to read, finding enough physics teachers, convincing young children that they should put on a coat before skipping out into an icy playground. But perhaps the toughest nut of all is the challenge of ensuring that a high proportion of educational research is useful to policy-makers or teachers.

It remains to be seen whether the action plan produced by the Department for Education and Employment (see page 18) will exert the necessary pressure. But the higher profile that this Government has given to research, and its declared aim of basing more policy decisions on evidence rather than hunches, are very positive developments.

However, research is in danger of remaining a bit player on the education stage - unless both researchers and teachers undergo Damascene conversions. Too many researchers seem more interested in methodology than in the practical effects their work might have (a trait that isn't confined to the British). And too many teachers are automatically sceptical about research, having found that it solves few of the conundrums they encounter in the classroom.

The action plan could be revolutionary, but it is only a start.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today