The work of teachers in small primary schools
A review of the literature on small primary schools identified a number of problems: a lack of a definition of 'small', poor quality of evidence, a neglect of some important issues and the general picture of teachers in small schools having different work patterns from other teachers. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that the work of teachers in small schools was distinctively different from those in larger schools. Data were gathered which were used to portray the work of the Key Stage Two teachers in two small Warwickshire primary schools. Of the seven individuals studied, two were headteachers with a dual teaching and management role. Participant observation, time diaries, interviews and systematic observation techniques were employed in order to gain a full picture of their working lives and to allow for triangulation. Analysis of the data suggested that for the case study teachers, their work did not differ markedly from that reported in other studies of teachers in larger schools. This was true both in terms of the length and distribution of their time and the means by which they delivered the curriculum. Differences arose as a result of individual personalities and the proportion of a full-time teaching contract which each held. It was hypothesised that teachers working in small schools may have undergone the most intensification of their work; again, there was little to suggest that this was true for the teachers in this study. Despite limitations in the data collected, evidence of the headteachers' work suggested that again school size was not the main influence upon their work School status and individual personalities were influential in shaping their working patterns and priorities.