I am married to a scientist who works in drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. I feel that I speak from a position of some understanding of how the industry works. I would therefore like to refute the statement made by Pisa head Andreas Schleicher in "Mind the gap between best and worst: it's widening" (8 February) that "research in medicine is not done by some academics in a lab at all, but by practitioners".
Medical research is done in a lab by research scientists for at least the first five years before it reaches human trial. On average, new medicines take a decade to demonstrate efficacy and safety and reach the market. Prior to that, the work done is systematic, painstaking and data-driven analysis. If only such a measured approach were used in education. I agree with Schleicher's idea of adopting the practice of medical research in education. That would lead to innovation that was well- researched and based on sound data.
Julie Bloor, Principal, Shirebrook Academy, Mansfield.