Ben Goldacre: ‘Evidence-based research should play a larger role in teacher training’

The author of Bad Science will talk about the benefits of randomised trials in Birmingham today

Evidence-based research should be a key part of initial teacher training and ongoing CPD, a bestselling author and academic has suggested.

Dr Ben Goldacre, who is also a qualified doctor and campaigner, says it is “problematic” that initial teacher training does not dedicate at least a day to research-informed methods.

At the Inspiring Leaders conference in Birmingham today, where TES is a media partner, the author of the book Bad Science will set out the value of randomised trials in measuring whether something works.

“I want to show that this method is really powerful in lots of different places,” the senior clinical research fellow at the University of Oxford told TES ahead of his session today.

In 2013, Dr Goldacre published a report, commissioned by the Department for Education, which recommended the use of more randomised controlled trials in education.

‘Huge amount can be achieved’

He said: “There are lots of good examples now. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) have done a really good job, but there is still a huge amount to be achieved.

“It requires capital funding, changes to the way initial teacher training is run, and an institution to be set up to foster and support evidence-based research.”

School leaders from across the country are gathering in Birmingham for a three-day conference, which started yesterday, organised by the Association of School and College Leaders, the NAHT union and the Education Development Trust.

Dr Goldacre added: “It is certainly problematic that initial teacher training doesn’t include a day or two on evidence-based studies. It is something they should have, and there should also be good CPD about research methods.”

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