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Woodhead lets fly at `dross'

MUCH OF the pounds 63m of taxpayers' money spent each year on educational research does nothing to improve schools, Chris Woodhead, the Chief Inspector of Schools, says today, writes Judith Judd.

The combative Mr Woodhead, writing in the New Statesman, discloses the first findings of a study of educational research commissioned by his Office for Standards in Education.

He asks: "Do we really need research into `how schools as patriarchal institutions that are ideologically and culturally heterosexual create and maintain a set of inequitable circumstances that exercise a level of control over the private lives of lesbian teachers'?"

The study was carried out by James Tooley, a senior research fellow at Manchester University, who examined articles in the British Journal of Sociology of Education. Mr Woodhead says: "All of us who care about education ... must hope that it manages to eliminate ... some of this dross."

But Michael Bassey, honorary secretary of the British Educational Research Association, said only about 2 per cent of the pounds 63m was spent on research in the sociology of education, to which the Chief Inspector was referring. Mr Bassey said Mr Woodhead "should recognise ... the aims of researchers engaged in studying the sociology of education are sociological aims, not classroom-practice aims".