Tuesday, 28 February 2012

More evidence

Further to a recent post about evidence, a very interesting piece in The Guardian today -  http://tinyurl.com/6ovqnz2 - about significant new interest by Labour in upping the role of evidence in relation to education. Just how far this would have put a serious dent in recent political initiatives which have been highly selective in their use of evidence in terms of school organisation, the approach to teaching and the curriculum is of course moot.

Much would depend on how far such an Office for Educational Improvement would have teeth to stop or seriously embarrass Ministers; whether reports would be public as a matter of course and prior to decisions being reached; how independent it would be in terms of initiating research as opposed to testing proposals; how well funded it would be; what the terms of reference would be in relation to the tests to be applied particularly in terms of gauging effectiveness and how its relationship with Parliamentary scrutiny would be structured. 

At the level of teachers and schools there would also be a significant dynamic about the approach from such an Office in terms of initiating and promoting good practice or in hobbling innovation. Some fleet footwork would be required to ensure that the Office is seen as advancing discussion and change, not hobbling it.

But leaving all such questions to one side, it is surely significant that there is interest in greater transparency about evidence. Amidst all the sound and nonsense about various forms of transparency in recent years, putting an emphasis on how it could apply to the basis for policies rather than simply on how much is being spent on penny packets of services can only be a good thing.

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