Twigg calls for independent school standards agency

Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg says he wants education policy to be based on evidence

Labour education spokesman Stephen Twigg is calling for the creation of an independent office to raise standards in education in England.

Mr Twigg says an "Office for Educational Improvement" could use objective research evidence about what really works in schools.

It would also consider standards in terms of international comparisons.

"My three priorities in education, are evidence, evidence, evidence," Mr Twigg will say in a speech on Tuesday.

Mr Twigg accuses both the Education Secretary Michael Gove and those on the far left of being "dogma" driven in their approach to education.

Evidence 'undervalued'

Instead Mr Twigg is calling for policy to be based on evidence, with the non-ministerial Office for Educational Improvement acting as a "clearing house" for the most relevant research and spreading good practice.

"Evidence is something that is shockingly undervalued when it comes to education reform," says Mr Twigg.

Creating such a politically independent office would allow education policy to be built on the most successful examples, rather than be driven by transient political ambitions, he argues.

"Too many of our educational cures are aimed at seeking sympathetic headlines," he says.

He highlighted the efforts of former Education Secretary Estelle Morris to create a Coalition for Evidence Based Education and plans for an education media centre.

Mr Twigg is also emphasising the importance of measuring performance against international competitors - and learning lessons from the progress of countries such as China and South Korea.

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