Back in 2006-07 I acted as special advisor to the House of Commons Education Select Committee for an enquiry on Building Schools for the Future. Labour’s Barry Sheerman MP was the committee’s longstanding chair back then and it was fascinating to watch him work with a disparate group of MPs to achieve consensus on the findings and recommendations after a year or more of evidence-gathering.
Barry used to say that the Committee became more dangerous as an enquiry progressed. His point was that the MPs may be generalists, but they quickly become sufficiently expert in any given area to be able to home in on the fundamental issues. Yet, re-reading the report now, it seems remarkably quiet on the problems of bureaucracy and waste that Michael Gove MP used as (more…)
Recently there has been increased interest in the use of evidence from research studies to inform policy making by government. This research evidence can be of many types. It can include empirical findings on things such as educational attainment, and evidence of effectiveness (‘what works’) of different strategies (such as how to teach phonics). It can also include explanations of how things work and how the world can be understood. Research is of course not the only thing that can influence policy (more…)