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Valuable work at a local level

As an educational researcher, I agree with commentators who argue that educational research sometimes fails to address the needs of those who work in the classroom, but this is not the whole picture.

There are many research projects where teachers and researchers work together to investigate issues relevant to classroom practice and these are rarely recognised in the national press or academic journals referred to in your editorial comment (TES, September 12).

I am privileged to work with a wonderful team of teachers, inspectors and researchers at Homerton College, Cambridge on a project "Effective learning: thinking about learning, talking about learning", which invites local schools to present an agenda for research based on their own needs.

Some academics label this type of research as "low level", perhaps because it works too closely to the real world, but nothing could be further removed from the "trivial pursuits" quite rightly admonished by Professor David Hargreaves. As a parent and early years educator I would resign tomorrow if I felt my work was of little relevance to children's learning!

I would suggest that, rather than funding yet another "national forum" perhaps the Government should consider extending the excellent scheme begun last year by the Teacher Training Agency which encourages teachers and researchers to work together on school-based projects.

Working at this local level helps schools to develop and improve through providing research evidence concerning the things which matter most: their teachers and their pupils.

JULIA FLUTTER

Homerton College Cambridge

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