Public Sector: Institute forms to help media on education

The University of York is in the process of setting up a body to educate the media about groundbreaking developments in education.

The university is at the centre of plans for the soon-to-be-launched Institute for Effective Education, a body that aims to aid journalists who are not well-versed in the education sector.

Dr Jonathan Sharples, manager of partnerships at University of York, explained: 'I was interested in how information gets out of academia to people making decisions across the sector, such as teachers and carers.'

He decided to focus on using the media as a method of disseminating information, based on the way that the Science Media Centre is a source of knowledge for the science press. Sharples said the centre would provide a 'matchmaking service'. 'If Michael Gove makes an announcement around free schools, we would provide an informed perspective,' said Sharples.

The centre has been backed by luminaries such as former BBC director-general Greg Dyke, film producer David Puttnam and former education secretary Estelle Morris.

The institute is expected to be particularly useful to newsdesk journalists, who are increasingly handling technical issues such as education without any particular expertise.

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