Woodhead's allies

September 12, 1997

LORD Pearson of Rannoch (Conservative): Former commerce and industry representative on the now defunct Council for National Academic Awards.

Ofsted said that Lord Pearson's comments in a Lords debate last year "were serious enough" to provide the catalyst for the Tooley inquiry. Lord Pearson said: "My ten years in the polytechnic sector forced me to examine a large number of courses. (Teacher training courses) were controlled by a large, powerful, vicious and insular education establishment, which was, and I fear still is, too much influenced by the starry-eyed and experimental sociology of the 1960s."

David Hargreaves: professor of education at Cambridge University, and member of the Government's Standards Task Force.

The more moderate and conciliatory voice on the right of the debate, Professor Hargreaves has also been cited by Ofsted as a catalyst for the inquiry. He said in a lecture to the Teacher Training Agency last year: "just how much research is there which demonstrates conclusively that if teachers change their practice from x to y there will be a significant and enduring improvement in teaching and learning?" Tony Edwards: professor of education at the University of Newcastle and former chair of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers. An occasional paper for UCET by Professor Edwards drew the attention of Sir Stewart Sutherland in his report on teacher education for the Dearing committee.

Sir Stewart was convinced by Professor Edwards's conclusion that "education research has to be focused much more firmly than it is on the processes and conditions of learning, and more directly and systematically on the improvement of practice."

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