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Primary vs Secondary Schools: How Different Are You?

15 November 2017

How different are primary and secondary schools? On some things, there are huge differences.

Most secondary school teachers think there is nothing better than students sat in rows, facing the most important person in the room. Primary teachers have desk organisation more conducive to group work. Some teachers care about this question so much that they are urging us to ask more questions to find out how much room dimensions or other factors (e.g. things screwed to the floor in labs) are constraining choices. Watch this space…

Libraries are also strikingly different in primary versus secondary schools. Most primary schools have no librarian. Even where they have one, they do little other than staff the library itself. By contrast, many secondary school librarians take an active role in teaching.
And primary teachers are much less likely to have read, or even heard of, Teach Like a Champion. The good news for the author, Doug Lemov, is that nearly everyone who has read it is using his routines in their classroom. Praise indeed!

But you are, perhaps, not as divided as you’d think!

A teacher wanted to know how common moves across different sectors are and we were pretty surprised by the results. Out of those of you who have ever (i.e. not necessarily today) taught in a state-funded secondary school:

  • 10% also had experience of teaching in a state primary school
  • 2% had experience of teaching in special schools
  • 14% had taught in the private sector
  • 5% had experience FE or a 6th form college
  • Only 68% had only taught in state funded secondaries!

Similarly, 17% of those who have ever taught in a state primary have also taught in a state secondary, 12% have taught in private schools, 6% have taught in special schools.

I’m sure the very substantial middle school reorganisations that have taken place all over the country have affected these figures – we’ll take a closer look at this in the future.


Other Recommended Reads

Teacher Illness And The Role Of Managers

Which Teachers Have The Most FREEDOM?


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