The problem with the White Paper is that it claims evidence informed its conclusions, but a close reading of the paper suggests the evidence is merely being used to post-justify ready-made political decisions. Free Schools & the pupil premium were already decided, so the recommendations for these are detailed and well-explained, even though the evidence-base is sketchy. There is no doubt these policies will be thoroughly implemented. The fact that the paper is called the “Importance of Teaching” would suggest that more would be written about teacher development; it is a shame that this has been missed. Unless further flesh is put on the bones of teacher development this White Paper will do little more than push through school accountability and funding changes based on Gove’s selective hearing.
This is hardly surprising since the policy process can not be understood as a rational response to the challenges of government. Rather what evidence does is provide a lever or source of justification for policy. This government is so terrifying not because of the flagrant misuse of evidence but because the ideological positions they assume is at odds with everything I believe in.