Ben Goldacre (whose report for the Department for Education, Building Evidence into Education, was released last week and is discussed at www.tesconnect.combigedblog) is good fun, but he doesn't seem to appreciate the long history of conflict and debate within and about educational research and practice, the work done by the Evidence for Policy Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (eppi.ioe.ac.uk), the tradition of teacher researchers or the numbers of teachers who do postgraduate studies. At heart, ministers do not want teachers to be research-rich professionals with independent authority. Professional development, research sabbaticals and access to research literature are things they resist. Sometimes teachers themselves have even been resistant. But in my experience, a lot of teachers want to read and undertake research. The randomised controlled trials that Dr Goldacre espouses are much less sophisticated than the subtler forms of knowledge that education requires and good teachers demand.
Sam Saunders, www.juxt.co.uksamsaunders.