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The Development of Pupil Voice in a One Form Entry Primary School in the North East of England: Who Benefits and Who Learns?

WHITTON, SANDRA,JAYNE (2011) The Development of Pupil Voice in a One Form Entry Primary School in the North East of England: Who Benefits and Who Learns? Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This research study examines the development of pupil voice activities within a one-form entry primary school in northern England over a three-year period through a mainly qualitative approach. The views of both teaching and non-teaching staff have been gathered through recorded semi-structured interviews at the beginning, middle and end of the research period with additional views from teachers gathered through questionnaires at the end of the first year. The views of all pupils and parents have been obtained from the Annual Questionnaires for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Findings clearly indicate that the increase in pupil voice activities has had a positive impact on the school: pupils are more involved in decision-making and in shaping the direction of the school. This appears to be welcomed by pupils, teachers and parents alike. Initial concerns from teaching staff that increased pupil voice may result in their own role being diminished have been dispelled. Indeed teachers are now comfortable with consulting pupils over the content and direction of their topic planning as well as seeking feedback about their teaching. Whilst this engagement with pupils over teaching and curriculum issues is still at an early stage, all teachers have embraced pupil voice input into both general and class-based activities, with some commenting on how this has further enhanced their own performance. A review of assessments carried out by external bodies has shown that the school has become more effective and whilst it would be wrong to attribute this increase in school performance solely to the development of pupil voice, it is worth noting that such activities have had no detrimental effect.

However, although the picture portrayed seems very optimistic, it is important to note that this has taken over three years of steady development to achieve and has involved a considerable commitment from all involved. In addition, as the head teacher of the school, the researcher was able to constantly drive this initiative forward, dedicate the time needed for its implementation and to provide the necessary support and resources to ensure its success. Not all teachers interested in developing this area will be in such a privileged position.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:Pupil voice, student voice, pupils as researchers, school improvement, primary school, teaching, learning
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Nov 2011 12:05

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