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The influence of the size of a secondary school on its organisation, its teachers and the academic and personal development of its pupils

Marshall, William John (1988) The influence of the size of a secondary school on its organisation, its teachers and the academic and personal development of its pupils. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The issue of secondary school size has been of interest throughout my teaching career, in which I have worked in schools ranging from 435 to 1,450 pupils. The early 1970's, were a period of expansion and comprehensive reorganisation. By the mid 1980’s most schools were experiencing falling rolls. Many were faced with closure and some LEA's proposed to phase out traditional sixth form teaching in schools. Although school size is frequently discussed in educational literature, little attention has been paid to the influence of size on the outcomes of the school. There is no general agreement as to the optimum size for a secondary school, and this lack of consensus prompted my choice of research topic. It may be said that five identifiable groups are involved in educations politicians, administrators, teachers, parents and pupils. Some individuals, mainly parents, are members of more than one category, but nevertheless each group has its own priorities. As with other educational issues, these conflicting objectives lead them to regard the question of school size differently. Throughout this thesis reference is made to the views and experiences of all five "subsets", though no attempt is made to use these divisions as a framework. However Chapter 2, on costs, is concerned with politicians and administrators, whilst Chapter 7 deals with teachers’ views. Academic issues are discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, with pastoral care and extra curricular provision being the themes of Chapters 5 and 6. Although much material studied was written during the period of expansion, the research was undertaken during contraction, and Chapter 8 deals with the implications for schools of falling rolls. Chapter 9 summarises the relevant literature, leading to the conclusion that the size of a secondary school has little quantifiable influence on its outcomes.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:36

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