ERIC Number: ED393610
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Implementation of the National Curriculum in Clusters of English Rural Primary Schools.
Hargreaves, Linda; And Others
This paper examines the impact of the (British) National Curriculum on classroom practices and range of curriculum in small rural elementary schools with varying involvement in school clusters. Small schools (fewer than 100 students) cost more per student and have been under threat for several decades in England as a "rural deficiency theme" has been used to justify a steady reduction in their numbers. Small schools have sought to enhance educational provision and overcome charges of deficiency by forming collaborative groups called clusters. A survey of 90 three-teacher elementary schools in the East Midlands of England consisted of 2 questionnaires: headteachers were asked about the nature of the schools' cluster membership, while third-grade teachers were asked to evaluate their own confidence and competence to teach the National Curriculum. In addition, case studies of nine target schools included classroom observations of 7-year-old students and children's "picture diaries" of classroom activities. Results show that teachers in small rural schools rated themselves as more competent than elementary teachers in general, but the hypothesis that clustering would increase self-confidence was only partially supported. Compared to previous studies, the case studies showed slightly reduced emphasis on English, mathematics, and art to cover a broader curriculum, but English and math continued to occupy nearly 50 percent of the curriculum. Classroom organization had shifted slightly to more whole-class teaching but continued to emphasize individualized tasks, particularly in Level II schools (neither firmly committed to clustering nor proudly independent). Children showed high levels of on-task behavior but were most likely to be distracted in Level II schools. Contains 24 references. (Author/SV)
Descriptors: British National Curriculum, Classroom Techniques, Educational Cooperation, Educational Practices, Elementary Education, Elementary School Curriculum, Elementary Schools, Foreign Countries, Institutional Cooperation, Rural Schools, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Small Schools, Teacher Attitudes, Time on Task
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cluster Schools; Curriculum Implementation; England
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the National Rural Education Association (Salt Lake City, UT, October 1995).