23 SES 04 D, Policy Reforms and Teacher Professionalism (Part 3)
Paper Session: continued from 23 SES 02 D, 23 SES 03 D
In this paper we seek to extend the application of van Zanten's concept of 'logics of school action' (Van Zanten 2009) and her and Maroy’s analysis of the capitals possessed by schools in local competitive arenas (Maroy and van Zanten 2009) to understand the evident subordinate status of primary schools to secondary schools in England. We analyse how certain distinct characteristics of primary and secondary schools in England – including the generalist class teacher system of primary and the subject expert system of secondary, as well as forms of internal organisation - are invested with different meaning and value. We identify material factors such as the smaller size of primary schools and the lower levels of remuneration and funding relative to secondary and describe the gendered nature of the English primary school workforce (DfE 2012), its interrelation with discourses of caring (Noddings 1992 Griffin 1997; Nias 1999 Forrester 2005), the associations of these with the education of younger children and the forms of professional identity typically adopted by English primary school teachers (Vogt 2002).
We analyse these features as factors in the production of relative prestige of primary and secondary schools for example how some of the differences noted above form binaries or oppositions with the secondary part attracting greater prestige. We consider the implications of the differential accrual of these different forms of capital – symbolic, material and cultural – and, using Bourdieu’s theoretical framework we take the possession of different levels of capital as constituting objective differences which locate English primary schools as sub-ordinate to secondary schools in the social field of schooling.
This analysis of English schools presents a way of understanding school positioning in local arenas (Coldron et al 2014). The analysis is particularly relevant beyond the English context, to those countries whose systems make an institutional distinction between the age phases. While the durable inequality (Tilly 1999) between the two phases found in the English system has emerged from its particular history and is maintained because of particular conflicts in English society there are at least four ways in which this analysis may be relevant to other countries in Europe and more widely. First, the kind of analysis of capitals manifested in this school field is adaptable to other systems. Second, the greater specification of the inequality of this one system makes it easier to identify similarities and differences when comparing different national systems. Third, the analysis shows the operation in one context of some shared features of societies such as gendered and sexist discourses that can highlight forms of inequality in other systems. Finally, the system model found in England of prescribed content, high stakes testing, performance based accountability is ever more pervasive and has been widely criticised for its effects (Rizvi and Lingard 2009; Lingard 2012) - this paper identifies how such a system also participates in determining the relation between primary and secondary schools.
Alexander, R. (Ed) (2010) Children, their World, their Education: Final report and recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review Routledge Coldron, J., Crawford, M., Jones, S., Simkins, T. (2014) The restructuring of schooling in England: The responses of well positioned headteachers. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 42(3) Online. DfE (2012) School Workforce in England, November 2011 http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001062/index.shtml Forrester, G. (2005): All in a day's work: primary teachers ‘performing’ and ‘caring’, Gender and Education, 17:3, 271-287 Griffin, G. (1997) Teaching as a gendered experience, Journal of Teacher Education, 48, pp. 7–18. Lingard, B. (2012) Globalization, PISA and the Changing Education Work of the OECD Paper presented at European Conference on Educational research, Cadiz 2012 Maroy, C. and van Zanten, A. (2009) ‘Regulation and competition among schools in six European localities’, Sociologie de Travail 51S: e57-e79 Nias, J. (1999) Primary teaching as a culture of care, in: J. PROSSER (Ed.) School Culture (London, Paul Chapman). Noddings, N. (1992) The Challenge to Care in Schools: an alternative approach to education (New York, Teachers College Press). Rizvi, F. and Lingard, B. (2009) Globalizing Education Policy Taylor & Francis, Tilly, C. (1999) Durable Inequality University of California Press Van Zanten, A (2009) Competitive arenas and schools' logics of action: a European comparison. Compare, Volume 39, Number 1, January 2009, pp. 85-98 (14) Vogt, F. (2002) A Caring Teacher: explorations into primary school teachers’ professional identity and ethic of care Gender and Education, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 251–264 Woods, P. and Simkins, T. (2014) ‘Understanding the local: themes and issues in the experience of structural reform in England’, Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 42(3) Online.
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