Primary schools at the crossroads : a study of primary schools' abilities to implement educational change, with a particular focus on small primary schools
This thesis addresses the issue of primary schools' abilities to implement educational change and focuses, in particular, on small primary schools. A comparison is made between small and large primary schools, in order to determine whether there are differences between the ways in which each have adapted to and implemented changes. Whilst a series of educational changes since the Second World War have affected primary schools the thesis takes 1988 as a watershed date, since the Education Reform Act of that year made considerable statutory demands upon primary schools. The thesis examines, in particular, the ability of small schools to implement changes effectively, since this was questioned following the Act, and it seemed that this might precipitate closures and amalgamations at a faster rate than had previously been the case. The thesis is based upon research over an eight-year period, involving three postal surveys, a series of structured interviews, and a review of relevant literature. The focal point for much of the research is the headteacher, with all of the empirical work being focused on heads, since they have been central to the management of change in schools. Attention is also given, mainly through reviews of literature, to the role of the class eacher and the way in which this has changed in relation to that of the head. The thesis may be divided into two sections. In the first, the scene is set through an examination of the position of primary schools in general, and small primary schools in articular, before the Education Reform Act. This is followed by a review of published research and the author's empirical studies, in order to gain an understanding of the way n which schools have coped with the implementation of the Education Reform Act. The thesis ends with conclusions and recommendations which are based upon the research findings.