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Research Survey 6/4

Hilary Burgess The Open University

For other interim reports in this series, and for briefings on each report, go to This report has been commissioned as evidence to the Primary Review. The analysis and opinions it contains are the authors’ own. Copyright © University of Cambridge 2008


Primary Review Research Survey 6/4

Hilary Burgess

April 2008

This is one of a series of 32 interim reports from the Primary Review, an independent enquiry into the condition and future of primary education in England. The Review was launched in October 2006 and will publish its final report in late 2008. The Primary Review, supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is based at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education and directed by Robin Alexander. A briefing which summarises key issues from this report has also been published. The report and briefing are available electronically at the Primary Review website: The website also contains Information about other reports in this series and about the Primary Review as a whole. We want this report to contribute to the debate about English primary education, so we would welcome readers’ comments on anything it contains. Please write to:

The report forms part of the Review’s research survey strand, which consists of thirty specially-commissioned surveys of published research and other evidence relating to the Review’s ten themes. The themes and reports are listed in Appendices 1 and 3. This survey relates to Primary Review theme 6, Settings and Professionals. The author: Hilary Burgess is Director for Postgraduate Studies in the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology at the Open University. Suggested citation: Burgess, H. (2008) Primary Workforce Management and Reform (Primary Review Research Survey 6/4), Cambridge: University of Cambridge Faculty of Education.

Published April 2008 by The Primary Review, University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ, UK. Copyright © 2008 The University of Cambridge. All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Primary Review, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation or the University of Cambridge. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data: A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-1-906478-27-8


Introduction The last twenty years have seen a profound change in the way primary schools have been managed and organised, alongside a fundamental restructuring of the professional school workforce. These changes have created both controversy and debate among policy makers, teachers and educational researchers. This report provides an overview of the impact of policies upon professional workforce management, reform and support and assesses recent developments in England and Wales and elsewhere in the UK. A brief comparison with the USA provides a global context for understanding key issues that impact upon teachers and other professionals in primary schools. The time span for this survey is relatively short and focuses on the period from 1998, when the government published the Green Paper, Teachers: meeting the challenge of change (DfEE 1998), to the present day. The survey is necessarily selective, and includes those policies and research studies deemed to have the most impact on the practice of the professional primary school workforce. A number of research studies have been examined in detail. They include, in particular: • • • • NFER evaluation of the National Remodelling Team (Easton et al 2006) Transforming the School Workforce Pathfinder Project (Thomas et al 2004a) The...
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