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THE PRIMARY REVIEW and the education of primary teachers Robin Alexander University of Cambridge UCET Annual Conference 9 November 2007. www.primaryreview.org.uk enquiries@primaryreview.org.uk evidence@primaryreview.org.uk . The Primary Review ESSENTIALS. The Review:

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THE PRIMARY REVIEW

and the education of primary teachers

Robin Alexander

University of Cambridge

UCET Annual Conference

9 November 2007


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www.primaryreview.org.uk

enquiries@primaryreview.org.uk

evidence@primaryreview.org.uk


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The Primary Review

ESSENTIALS

  • The Review:

  • focuses on the statutory primary phase, 4/5-11;

  • is financially and politically independent;

  • is grounded in national and international evidence;

  • seeks views across a wide range of professional, political and public constituencies;

  • is undertaken by a Cambridge-based central team, supported by 70 research consultants

    and a 20-strong advisory committee;

  • combines assessment of current provision with the development of a vision for the future;

  • yields interim reports and briefings, and a final report containing findings, conclusions and recommendations for future policy and practice.


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The Primary ReviewINFRASTRUCTURE

(Current total number involved directly in the Review: over 100)

Advisory Committee (20) Policy sub-committee Management Group

Chair: Gillian Pugh Chair: Gillian Pugh Chair: Hilary Hodgson

Members listed on Review website

Central team

Director of the Primary Review: Robin Alexander

Associate Directors: Christine Doddington, Linda Hargreaves, Ruth Kershner

Research Associates: David Harrison, Julia Flutter.

Administrator: Catrin Darsley

Part-time temporary research assistants: 6

Research consultants (70)

Listed on website

Communications

Communications Director: Richard Margrave

In conjunction with

Cambridge University Press Office and

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation Press Office


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The Primary ReviewPERSPECTIVES AND THEMES

Perspectives

Children and childhood

Culture, society and the global context

Education

Core themes

Purposes and values

Learning and teaching

Curriculum and assessment

Quality and standards

Diversity and inclusion

Settings and professionals

Contingent themes

Parenting, caring and educating

Beyond the school

Structures and phases

Funding and governance


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The Primary ReviewEVIDENTIAL STRANDS

Submissionsopen to all, written

2. Soundingsregional and national, face-to-face

Surveys of published research, commissioned from academic consultants

4. Searches of official data


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The Primary ReviewTHE REVIEW MATRIX

EVIDENTIAL STRANDS Submissions Soundings Surveys Searches

PERSPECTIVES:

Children

Society

Education

THEMES:

Purposes & values

Learning & teaching

Curriculum & assessment

Quality & standards

Diversity & inclusion

Settings & professionals

Parenting, caring & educating

Beyond the school

Structures & phases

Funding & governance


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The Primary ReviewTHE BALANCE OF EVIDENCE

Invited opinion - open / non-interactive (SUBMISSIONS)

- targeted / interactive (SOUNDINGS)

Published empirical data - independent research (SURVEYS)

- official data (SEARCHES)


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The Primary ReviewEVIDENCE STRAND 1: SUBMISSIONS

Number to date: 550

Shortest: Half a page

Longest: 330 pages

Sources: Children, teachers, TAs, heads, governors, LAs, teacher trainers, researchers, parents,

unions, faith groups, public bodies, subject

associations, professional associations,

organisations outside education ……..

Topics: All perspectives and themes, especially

learning, assessment, curriculum, values,

schools, teachers, diversity, inclusion,

policy, funding…


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The Primary ReviewEVIDENCE STRAND 2: SOUNDINGS

Community soundings- engaging with grass-roots experience and opinion

- regional, reflecting geographical and cultural diversity

- based on primary schools, but moving into their localities

- teachers, parents, children, officials, community figures

- hard to reach families as well as regular school users

- January - March 2007

National soundings - 1: National organisations

- 2: VIP teachers’ group

- focus on key issues, problems and dilemmas emerging from the evidence so far

- December 2007 - March 2008

Meetings with other stakeholders


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The Primary ReviewEVIDENCE STRAND 2: SOUNDINGS -

OTHER STAKEHOLDERS

Official bodies and agencies: DfES/DCFS

Ofsted, QCA, TDA, GTC, NCSL

Opposition education shadows

Commons Education / CSF Select Committee

Downing Street Policy Unit

Professional organisations: Teacher unions: ASCL, ATL, NAHT, NASUWT,

NPhA, NUT, (PAT)

Phase organisations (e.g. PUG, ECF, PLG, SSAT, UCET?)

Curriculum organisations (e.g. UKLA)

Other enquiries, eg: Good Childhood Enquiry

All Party Scientific Research in Learning and Education

Group


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The Primary ReviewEVIDENCE STRAND 3: RESEARCH SURVEYS

Theme 1: Purposes and values

1/1 Aims and values in primary education

1/2 The aims of primary education: England and other countries

1/3 The changing national context of primary education

1/4 The changing global context of primary education

Theme 2: Learning and teaching

2/1a Children in primary schools: cognitive development and learning

2/1b Children in primary schools: social development and learning

2/2 Teaching in primary schools: characteristics, changes and conditions for success

2/3 Learning and teaching in primary schools: the curriculum dimension

2/4 Learning and teaching in primary schools: evidence from TLRP

Theme 3: Curriculum and assessment

3/1 Curriculum and assessment policy and requirements: England and other countries

3/2 Curriculum, teaching and assessment: the trajectory and impact of national reform

3/3 Curriculum alternatives for primary education

3/4 Assessment alternatives for primary education

Theme 4: Quality and standards

4/1 Quality and standards in primary education: national evidence

4/2 Quality and standards in primary education: international evidence

4/3 Monitoring, assuring and maintaining quality in primary education


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Theme 5: Diversity and inclusion

5/1 Children in primary education: demography, culture, identity, diversity, inclusion

5/2 Children of primary school age with special needs: identification and provision

5/3 Children and their primary education: pupil voice

Theme 6: Settings and professionals

6/1 Primary education: the physical environment

6/2 Primary education: the professional environment

6/3 Teachers and other professionals: training, induction and development

6/4 Teachers and other professionals: workforce management and reform

Theme 7: Parenting, caring and educating

7/1 Parenting and caring: culture, demography and change

7/2 Home and school: changing relations and procedures

Theme 8: Beyond the school

8/1 Children’s lives outside school and their educational impact

8/2 Education and the wider childhood context: primary schools and other agencies

Theme 9: Structures and phases

9/1 The structure and phasing of primary education: England and other countries

9/2 The organisational environment of learning: structure, grouping and transition

Theme 10: Funding and governance

10/1 The financing and financial management of primary education

10/2 The governance, administration and control of primary education


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The Primary ReviewEVIDENCE STRAND 4: OFFICIAL DATA SEARCHES

Data sources - Statutory bodies (DfES, Ofsted, TDA, QCA) plus ONS, OECD and others

Main foci - The system as a whole - policy, demography, statistics, standards

- Change over time

DfES - LA data on staffing, TPRs, funding, initiatives, SEN etc, 1997-2005

- Government Trends data on targets, workforce, pupil attainment

- Comparative UK data

- School-level demographic data

- Achievement data 2000-2006

- Annual statistical releases 1995-2006

- Value for Money Unit analysis of inputs, efficiency & effectiveness

- Pupil data via PAT from 1999 - prior attainment, gender,

special needs, first language, ethnicity, mobility,

deprivation, in care

- School census/PLASC pupil, teacher and LA data 1997-2006

Ofsted - Old HMI (to 1994): HMSCI annual reports plus surveys and studies - Ofsted (1994-): HMCI annual reports plus surveys and special studies

- School inspection reports and self-evaluations from 1994

- Lesson/subject data from 1994

- PICSI/PANDA and RAISO linking school data to national trends

QCA, TDA, OECD - to follow (QCA to include SCAA/NCC/SEAC; TDA to include TTA/CATE)


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The Primary Review

OUTLINE TIMETABLE

PHASE 1: PREPARATION January 2004 - October 2006

PHASE 2: IMPLEMENTATION

Launch 13 October 2006

Data collection October 2006 - December 2007

Data analysis March 2007 - March 2008

Reporting Interim reports and briefings October 2007 - March 2008

Final report Winter 2008

PHASE 3: FOLLOW-UP From January 2009


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The Primary Review

OUTCOMES

GENERATING DEBATE

Website

The submissions process

Community and national soundings

Official stakeholder dialogues (government, opposition, national agencies, unions)

After publication of the interim reports, from October 2007 onwards

Media coverage

Post-interim reporting debate feeds back as evidence

PROVIDING INFORMATION

Website

Interim reports and briefings

Final report

Final report supplementary volumes

CHANGING POLICY AND PRACTICE

Change vs influence: creating a climate of opinion

Changing policy

Influencing professional thinking and practice

Influencing public opinion

Immediate action vs longer-term influence

Whose education system is it?


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The Primary ReviewINTERIM REPORTS: PUBLICATION SCHEDULE

All reports, briefings and press releases are at www.primaryreview.org.uk

from the day of publication

A. REPORTS ON PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS

Community Soundings: the Primary Review regional witness sessions - 12.10.07

Submissions received by the Primary Review - 4.1.08

B. COMMISSIONED RESEARCH SURVEYS (published in groups)

How well are we doing? Research on standards, quality and assessment- 2.11.07

(research surveys 4/1, 3/1, 4/2)

Children’s lives and voices: research on children at home and school- 23.11.07

(research surveys 5/3, 7/1, 8/1, 8/2)

Children in primary schools: development, diversity, learning and educational needs- 14.12.07 (research surveys 2/1a, 2/1b, 5/1, 5/2 )


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JANUARY TO MARCH 2008: GROUPINGS AND DATES TO BE FINALISED.

Aims, values and contexts for primary education

(research surveys 1/1, 1/3, 1/4)

Structures, aims, curriculum and assessment: international perspectives

(research surveys 9/1, 1/2, 3/1, 3/3)

Governance, finance, reform and quality assurance

(research surveys 10/1, 10.2, 3.2, 4.3)

Schools, teachers, training and workforce reform

(research surveys 6/1, 6/2, 6/3, 6/4)

Learning and teaching: the pedagogy of primary education

(research surveys 2/2, 2/3, 2/4, 9/2)


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The Primary Review: interim reportsEVIDENCE STRAND 2a:

COMMUNITY SOUNDINGS

Community soundings: 9

Locations: London (3), North East (1), North West (1), Midlands (1), Yorkshire (1), South East (1), South West (1)

Witness sessions: 87

Witnesses: 757

By constituency:

Pupils (197)

Parents (75)

Governors (33)

Teachers (72)

Teaching assistants and non-teaching staff (60)

Senior management team members (22)

Head teachers (70)

Commmunity representatives (86)

Other (139)


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The Primary Review: interim reportsCOMMUNITY SOUNDINGS: HEADLINES

(Interim report 1: Community Soundings - published 12.10.07)

Local differences on specifics, but national consensus on the big issues

Positive view of the work of primary schools, but pessimism about the wider educational, national and international contexts

Policy: from support to hostility

Support: Every Child Matters.

Ambivalence: NLS, NNS & PNS.

Unease: Centralisation, compliance and loss of autonomy

Concern: Rigid curriculum, narrowed by tests;

Hostility: KS1/2 SATs.

The world in which today’s children are growing up

Children and childhood under stress; loss of childhood innocence

Parenting in decline and families under pressure

Loss of social cohesion, community, mutual respect and concern

Values: materialism, individualism, celebrity

Plugging the gap: schools as communities

Global issues: climate change; international security


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The Primary Review: interim reportsCOMMUNITY SOUNDINGS:

REGIONAL AND LOCAL ISSUES

(Interim report 1: Community Soundings - published 12.10.07)

Policy and the achievement gap

Selective secondary education

Revisiting the three-tier system

Parents and families: supporting parents/carers of SEN children

Parents and families: reaching the hard to reach

Ethnic/religious diversity and national identity

Urban schools: children’s safety vs independence

Rural schools in an urban system

Migration: unreliable statistics; inadequate resourcing; language provision

Migrants and travellers: provision and prejudice

School intakes: transient pupils in a system premised on stability


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The Primary Review: interim reports

HOW WELL ARE WE DOING?

RESEARCH ON PRIMARY STANDARDS, QUALITY AND ASSESSMENT

(Research surveys 3/4, 4/1, 4/2 - published 2.11.07)

Mixed messages

Stability of the system over time

Children’s positive attitudes to primary schooling

National data: modest improvements in maths

International data: big improvements in maths and science, high comparative standards in reading

Limited impact of national strategies on reading standards

Gains in reading skills at expense of enjoyment

Increases in test-induced stress

Narrowing of the curriculum

Bigger gap between high and low attainers in England than many other countries


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The Primary Review: interim reports

HOW WELL ARE WE DOING?

(Continued)

Low level of dependability of national test data

Misleading nature of apparent KS2 improvements, 1995-2000

‘Standards’ too narrowly defined

Thin evidence on international comparative standards

NLS/NNS/PNS: value for money?

Testing does not of itself ‘drive up’standards

School accountability should be based on more than SATs

National standards to be monitored through sample surveys rather than SATs

More use of teacher assessment in summative assessment

Shift overall assessment balance towards AfL: impact on teaching quality and thence standards

Tie assessment policy and strategies more closely to research


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The Primary Review: interim reportsCHILDREN’S LIVES AND VOICES

RESEARCH ON PRIMARY CHILDREN AT HOME AND SCHOOL

(Research surveys 5/3, 7/1, 8/1 and 8/2 - published 23.11.07)

Childhood. Changing conceptions of children, childhood and children’s needs.

Dangers of polarisation: children as victims / threats; as innocent / deficient

Parenting. Changing conceptions and demographics of parenting and families: do schools understand? Can they cope?

Children’s lives outside school. Their massive impact, for better or worse.

Need to understand, respect and build on children’s non-school lives & experiential learning.

Children’s rights. Challenge of UNCRC to school power relations and established pedagogy.


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The Primary Review: interim reportsCHILDREN’S LIVES AND VOICES

(Continued)

Scholarisation . Vulnerable children and families: need for early intervention, but dangers of one-size fits all ‘scholarisation’ of childhood, and of belittling or crowding out productive non-school activities. School work not the only work that children do.

Life skills. Testing, targets and the narrow curriculum not compatible with the broader life-skill goals of ECM.

Inequality. The impact of inequalities, and especially poverty, on children’s education and life prospects. But the risk that some policies/strategies (e.g. admissions, homework, parental involvement) favour the affluent and increase inequality.


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The Primary ReviewSOME EMERGING ISSUES FOR PRIMARY INITIAL TRAINING

Early days, but ……...

The quality of primary ITE: ‘the best teachers / best trained teachers ever’ vs sluggish gains in literacy standards, a narrowing curriculum and an unacceptably wide achievement gap. Are TDA’s admission criteria / Ofsted’s ITT quality criteria set high enough?

The purpose of primary ITE: training for compliance vs training for critical judgement and eventual transition to autonomous expertise.

The content of primary ITE: what should the beginning teacher know and be able to do?

Problem areas: Curriculum beyond the core and (yet again) subject knowledge and the demands of

generalist teaching.

Curriculum discourse for change, and teachers’ cultural and epistemological

understanding.

Pedagogy - How far is pedagogical preparation informed by research?

The evidential basis of the national strategies vs recent evidence on

development, cognition, learning and teaching.


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CPD: policy catch-up or engagement with a much broader professional agenda (e.g. evidence emerging from the Primary Review)?

The ‘era of informed professional judgement’? Whose information? Whose judgement?

Competing versions of ‘expert’ teachers: are ASTs agents of the national strategies or ‘experts’ in the senses used by Berliner, Dreyfus and others?


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www.primaryreview.org.uk

enquiries@primaryreview.org.uk

evidence@primaryreview.org.uk


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