Changing classroom practice at Key Stage 2: The impact of New Labour's national strategies

Rosemary Webb, Graham Vulliamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article examines the impact of New Labour policies - particularly the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies and the subsequent Primary National Strategy - on classroom practice at Key Stage 2 in England. Evidence is drawn from fieldwork conducted in 2003-2005 from a sample of 50 schools, replicating a study conducted a decade previously in the same schools. The data base consists mainly of 188 transcribed in-depth teacher interviews and fieldnotes from observation of 51 lessons. By comparison with other research studies on primary classroom practice from the 1970s through to the mid-1990s, our study suggests that there have been more changes in the last five years in teaching styles and in classroom organisation throughout the whole curriculum at KS2 than in the previous two decades. Such changes include a dramatic increase in whole-class teaching, the use of learning objectives shared with pupils and changes in pupil seating arrangements. Through compliance with centrally imposed changes in pedagogy, teachers' experiences have led them to change some of their professional values concerning desirable pedagogy. The article concludes by considering some of the implications of our evidence for theories of educational change and of teacher professionalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-580
Number of pages19
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


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