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Press release


  • 26 November 2007

Children want more control over their education, report shows


A new report shows that school children find themselves under considerable pressure to perform well in national curriculum tests.

The study, led by Dr Carol Robinson at the University of Sussex, also shows that children believe their teachers place more emphasis on the completion of work, rather than the understanding of it, in order to ensure the workload is covered.

And they are also concerned about the loss of curriculum breadth as teachers concentrate on the tested core subjects.

'Children and Their Primary Schools: Pupils' Voices,' part of the major Cambridge Primary Review, was commissioned to review what pupils and former pupils think of their primary schooling.

While the study found that children were normally very happy at primary school, their enthusiasm wanes as they grow older.

Dr Robinson, who carried out the study with Professor Michael Fielding, of the University of London's Institute of Education, said the research showed that children would like more control over their learning, though the pressure of SATs for older children often prevented this.

"The Government's focus on equipping learners for life seems to be at odds with the current emphasis at the primary stage on target setting and academic achievement in a narrow range of subjects," said Dr Robinson. "Further consideration needs to be given to what the prime purposes of primary schooling are and how these purposes are conveyed to pupils, families and the communities they serve."

Notes for editors

The report, Children and their Primary Schools: pupils' voices, is one of 32 Primary Review interim reports and is available at www.primaryreview.org.uk

The reports are being published to both increase public understanding of primary education and to stimulate debate during the period leading up to the publication of the Review's final report in 2008.

University of Sussex Press Office: Jacqui Bealing and Maggie Clune, tel: 01273 678888, email: press@sussex.ac.uk

 

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