Circles in circles

4th September 1998 at 01:00
THERE can have been few surprises for Michael Barber in the latest, Government-sponsored, survey of educational research. Two weeks ago a study commissioned by the Department for Education and Employment condemned much of the work produced by university education departments as both impenetrable and irrelevant.

Professor Barber will have been by no means taken aback because, by a curious coincidence, parts of the report echo sentiments contained in his own book. The Learning Game (published just before his promotion to DFEE officialdom), says there is no reason why university sociologists should not write neo-Marxist tracts. But they can't expect teachers to read the stuff.

No doubt he also shares the view set out in the report that there should be a greater role for policy analysis at national level, in the shape of a special research forum, which should be located within the standards and effectiveness unit of the DFEE. The unit headed by Professor Barber.

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