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Teacher Status

Minority Ethnic Teachers' Professional Experiences: Evidence From The Teacher Status Project

by Mark Cunningham and Linda Hargreaves

Final Brief and Full Reports


The Teacher Status Project is a national four-year study of the status of teachers and the teaching profession in England. It is interested in how teachers view themselves, their work and their profession, and in how teachers are viewed by other members of society. It is being carried out by teams of researchers in the University of Cambridge and University of Leicester, and is funded by the DfES. The project began in 2002 and will continue until 2006.

Project aims

  • Understand the factors that might influence perceptions of teacher status such as government initiatives or the portrayal of teachers in the media.
  • Compare teacher status with that of other professions.
  • Find out how perceptions of teacher status can be improved.
  • Identify and describe changes in perceptions of teacher status over the lifetime of the project.
  • Survey the views of the general public about the status of teachers.

Teaching in the media

During the project Dr Anders Hansen at the Centre for Mass Communications Research, University of Leicester, will carry out two surveys of press and broadcast media coverage of teachers and teaching. This will include analyses of how teachers and teaching have been portrayed in the printed press over the last decade, as well as a study of news production and interviews with key people involved in the production of 'education news'.

The participants

The project will survey the views of a large, nationally representative sample of members of the teaching profession, as well as people associated with education including governors, parents, pupils, teaching assistants and LEA officials. We also aim to capture and present teachers' subjective experiences as members of the profession through a wide range of case studies.


The research findings will have significant implications for

  • Future government policy on issues likely to affect teachers' careers and the status of teachers.
  • The practice of those who train teachers.
  • Agencies concerned with the recruitment and retention of teachers.
  • Teacher unions and professional associations.
  • Teachers themselves, and the educational research community.
  • And will help to provide the general public with realistic pictures of the work that teachers do.

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Research Team

The Teacher Status Project is being carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, all of whom have experience as primary or secondary school teachers and have research interests as shown.

Dr Linda Hargreaves (Project Director)
Classroom processes, small schools, interactive teaching in the literacy hour

Prof Donald McIntyre (Deputy Director)
Definitions of teacher professionalism and their effects on teachers' work

Mr Tim Everton (Deputy Director)
Teacher education, development, and teachers' use of educational research

Dr Tony Pell (Project Analyst)
Science education and children's attitudes to school

Mrs Beverley Hopper
Initial teacher education and routes into teaching

Mr Martyn Rouse
Special and inclusive education

Prof Robin Alexander (Project Consultant)
Comparative/international research, pedagogy, primary education

Prof Maurice Galton (Project Consultant)
School transfer, group work, and teachers' workloads

Mr Mark Cunningham (Research Associate)
ICT supporting teaching and learning; inclusive education

Dr Caroline Oliver (Research Associate - Qualitative Analysis)
Social anthropology, identity, specifically migration and ageing, explored through ethnographic and narrative approaches.

Mrs Ann Curtis
Project secretary

Final Reports

The project's final reports present the main findings from this four-year project and contain results from surveys of public opinion, of teachers', teaching assistants', parents' and governors' views on teacher status, and results of the survey of relevant media coverage. Teachers' perceptions of the factors that affect their status were explored further through school-based case studies and focus groups.


The Status of Teachers and the Teaching Profession in England: Views from Inside and Outside the Profession

Final Report of the Teacher Status Project - Research Brief

Final Report of the Teacher Status Project

Evidence Base for the Final Report

Evidence Base

Part I: The Surveys: Public Opinion, Media, Teachers and Associated Groups in 2003 and 2006

Part II: School-based Case Studies: The Status of Teachers in Ordinary/Typical Schools

Part III: School-based Case Studies: The Status of Teachers in Classified Case Study Reports

Part IV: Teachers and Pupils: Minority Ethnic Teachers, Teachers in Specialised Roles or Settings and Pupils' Views

Contact us

University of Cambridge

Linda Hargreaves: 01223 767548

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