The EPPSE study, initiated by the Major government, is following the life trajectories of 3,000 children. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Earlier this year, the House of Lords published a long and detailed report on the outwardly rather dry topic of government chief scientific advisers. This 100-page report was based on almost 400 pages of evidence and made some important recommendations about how scientific evidence should be acted upon in public policymaking.
I only came across it after being alerted to the submission from Oxford University's Professor Pam Sammons, who used the government's freeschools as an example of how policies are not always based on robust evidence. She suggested that a more in-depth look at the researchwould have shown the impact of Swedish free schools and American charters on standards and narrowing the gap is not as clearcut as the 2010 white paper, The Importance of Teaching, suggests, and that such policy initiatives should be piloted before being rolled out.