Education and schooling 5–11 years

Hazel Bryan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Primary schools in England have been the recipients, in recent years, of a litany of policies that can be defined by targets, performance criteria and league tables (Ball, 2003; Jeffrey, 2003; Troman and Jeffrey, 2007) and this has resulted, arguably, in a ‘performative’ culture (Pheysey, 1993). That is, a culture where teachers are required to perform their duties in relation to externally defined targets, and each pupil’s performance is judged against these same targets. This performative context is kept under scrutiny and reported upon through inspections by the lead inspecting body for schools, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (known commonly as, and hereafter, Ofsted).

This chapter draws on the context of primary schools in England before contrasting this with that of other nations. It opens with an analysis of the most recent reports of the lead inspecting body for schools, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, on ten of the lowest achieving (based on national Standard Assessment Tests) primary schools in England. The chapter then locates these findings within the gradual politicisation of the English primary curriculum asking ‘how did we get to here?’ The relationship between teachers, pupils, parents and the State is at the heart of this consideration; education policy in England, as this chapter will demonstrate, has positioned professionals, pupils and parents in terms of expectations and roles. These are sometimes explicitly defined in recent policy documentation and are a new departure in terms of the role of the State in relation to education. Finally, the chapter explores the ways in which other countries (namely Sweden, Norway, France and the Republic of Ireland) monitor the performance of pupils and teachers at the primary phase of education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Education
EditorsJames Arthur, Andrew Peterson
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780203802243
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Education and schooling 5–11 years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this