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Evidence is obviously a good thing. We take it for granted that evidence from research can help solve the post-lockdown crises in education – from how to keep teachers in the profession to how to improve behaviour in schools, get children back into school and protect the mental health of a generation.

But my research and that of others shows that incorporating strategies that have evidence backing them into teaching doesn’t always yield the results we want.

The Department for Education encourages school leadership teams to cite evidence from research studies when deciding how to spend school funding. Teachers are more frequently required to conduct their own research as part of their professional training than they were a decade ago. Independent consultancies have sprung up to support schools to bring evidence-based methods into their teaching.

This push for evidence to back up teaching methods has become particularly strong in the past ten years. The movement has been driven by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), a charity set up in 2011 with funding from the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government to provide schools with information about which teaching methods and other approaches to education actually work.

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