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Cambridge Primary Review Trust

Cambridge Primary Review Trust: The National Primary Network

Cambridge Primary Review Trust:
The National Primary Network

The Review

The National Primary Network was part of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust (CPRT),  successor to the Cambridge Primary Review - (CPR). Funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; and directed by Professor Robin Alexander, the CPR was the most comprehensive enquiry into England’s system of primary education for nearly half a century. Between 2006 and 2012, and supported by researchers from 20 other universities, the CPR’s Faculty-based team assembled a vast array of evidence and published 31 interim reports, many of which generated considerable media, political and public interest. In October 2009 CPR published its 600-page final report and recommendations together with an 850-page volume of research surveys.

The Trust

The Cambridge Primary Review Trust was a not-for-profit company committed to building on the work of the Cambridge Primary Review. It received core funding from Pearson and additional research funding from other organisations. Its chair was Professor Robin Alexander. It had four programmes: policy engagement, research, school leadership and professional development, and through these it pursued seven priorities carried forward from CPR and the discussion generated by its final report. 

The Network

Initiated in 2010, the CPR national primary network was 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 strongly criticised this culture of control and compliance and argued that ‘children will not learn to think for themselves if their teachers are expected merely to do as they are told.’

The network was 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. 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 CPRT, rather than in isolation.

The Regional Centres

CPRT had ten regional centres which worked 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 Trust, like the Review before it, was firmly committed.

Eastern Regional Centre

The centre for East Anglia and neighbouring counties was based at the Faculty, and was co-ordinated by Penny Coltman and Fiona Maine

Practice, policy, research: resources for teachers and researchers

The Trust’s website provides detailed information about the Review and the work of the Trust. The Review’s 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

In April 2017 the Cambridge Primary Review Trust closed but its work with teachers and schools is continuing via the new Chartered College of Teaching which is establishing a network for teachers interested in developing the CPR principles in practice. For further information contact the Research Communities Coordinator at the Chartered College of Teaching (email