Professor James Tooley and his colleague David Longfield have written a response to the DFID commissioned Rigorous Literature Review of the research into the role of the low-cost private schools. Sir Michael Barber has written the foreword and the Response has been published by Pearson
Their Response to the Rigorous Review suggests that its findings may not adequately reflect the studies surveyed, as it has shortcomings in the following three main areas:
1. Reading of evidence;
3. Evidence missed or duplicated.
They found that the original report lukewarm to these schools when the evidence was more strongly positive.
1. In several cases, literature that clearly says one thing is presented as saying the opposite or is much more nuanced than the Rigorous Review suggests.
2. The framing of several of the assumptions leads to a less favourable view of the role and impact of private schools than would assumptions framed only slightly differently; two in particular seem like ‘straw-man’ assumptions, the wording of which makes it impossible to see private schools in a favourable light.
3. In several cases, evidence from the selected literature that could have informed the assumptions is simply missed out; sometimes this evidence would completely reverse the conclusions reached.