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Title: Policy to practice in reception class mathematics
Author: Durmaz, Döndü
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 8017
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
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This study examines implementation of early years mathematics policy in reception classes (RCs) in England. It addresses the core question: what is the relationship between policy and practice in the Foundation Stage (FS) mathematics curriculum for three- to five-year-olds, in particular, implementation in RCs? Policies and their implementation are analysed by means of the policy trajectory model outlined by Bowe et al. (1992) which separates the creation and implementation of policy into three distinct but interactive cycles: context of influence, context of policy text production, and context of practice. It both guided and framed this study. In the context of influence, scrutiny of international policy revealed a recognition of the importance of high-quality early years education, as a means to raising school achievement. This posed a challenge to RC teachers charged with both accessing and extending children’s rich mathematical knowledge through appropriate, yet accepted FS practices. The context of policy text production uncovereded a tension between the drive to raise standards through whole-class interactive methods and the need for an appropriately play-based and informal FS pedagogy. Elite interviews revealed an awareness of and concern about this but showed little optimism for future development of practice, In the context of practice, RC teachers revealed a positive attitude towards FS curriculum and pedagogy. Observed practice, however, was seen to vary considerably. Tensions in FS mathematics policy were thus enacted in RCs through practice that ranged from didactic teacher-led numeracy tasks poorly matched to children’s capabilities to colourful practical mathematics activities that did not necessarily extend children’s learning. The policy trajectory model revealed strong top-down pressures that took little account of the impact on those charged with implementation, with RC teachers caught in a nexus of forces, reflecting requirements to deliver accepted FS practice and increase formality of numeracy lessons.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Turkey
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB Theory and practice of education