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Cambridge Primary Review: The National Primary Network

Cambridge Primary Review:
The National Primary Network

The Review

The National Primary Network is the latest stage of the Cambridge Primary Review (CPR). Funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; and directed by Professor Robin Alexander, the CPR is the most comprehensive enquiry into England’s system of primary education for nearly half a century. Since 2006, and supported by researchers from 20 other universities, the CPR’s Faculty-based team has assembled a vast array of evidence and published 31 interim reports, many of which generated considerable media, political and public interest. In October 2009 the CPR published its 600-page final report and recommendations together with an 850-page volume of research surveys.

The Network

Led by Alison Peacock, the CPR National Primary Network is a direct response to requests from teachers, teacher educators and others who attended the regional and national dissemination events that followed the final report’s launch. Most participants supported the Review’s ideas and proposals and indicated their eagerness to take them forward, but many feared that they could not do so without ‘permission’ from national agencies and local authorities. The CPR has strongly criticised this culture of control and compliance and has argued that ‘children will not learn to think for themselves if their teachers are expected merely to do as they are told.’

The network has been set up both to begin the process of professional re-empowerment and to support and disseminate the work of those schools, local authorities, teacher educators and others who are keen to explore and build on the CPR’s ideas, findings and proposals. The new political climate makes the network doubly opportune: the coalition government has abandoned the Rose framework for the national curriculum and has commended the CPR’s curriculum proposals; reforms of assessment, teacher education and early years provision are also in the offing; and greater professional freedom is promised all round. Such freedoms will remain illusory unless teachers grasp the opportunities now open to them, and realise the advantage of working together, through organisations like the CPR network, rather than in isolation.

The regional centres

The Network’s national office, based at the Faculty, links to eight regional centres which will work closely with schools, local authorities and voluntary agencies to identify local educational needs and opportunities and advance the principles of local partnership and community engagement to which the Review is firmly committed.

Eastern Regional Centre

The centre for East Anglia and neighbouring counties is based at the Faculty, and is co-ordinated by Penny Coltman. For more information visit our Eastern Region Network page.

Practice, policy, research: resources for teachers and researchers

This page is a taster for the Review’s dedicated website www.primaryreview.org.uk. In addition to detailed information about the Review and its network, the site also offers an unrivalled and fast-expanding collection of resources for teachers and researchers.

The Review’s 28 specially-commissioned surveys of research relating to childhood, primary education and their social contexts are generally acknowledged as the most comprehensive of their kind. Alongside them is available alongside a wealth of other evidence and a fast-growing bank of material to support the work of teachers and teacher educators. For schools, all this is supplemented by material with a practical focus which they themselves have provided and will supplement as the network progresses. For those investigating policy or media matters, the considerable political and media interest which the Review prompted is recorded in an extensive archive going back to 2006. Researchers who wish to discuss any of this material are invited to contact the Review’s Research Associate, Julia Flutter.

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