Document Type



International and Comparative Education


The overall purpose of this study was to explore what British teachers consider to be the purposes of schooling and how their beliefs impacted their classroom practice. The principal aims of the British National Curriculum informed this study, thus we examined teacher perceptions of schooling along a continuum, from academic to personal/social education. Research methodology included the use of teacher surveys, semi-structured interviews, and classroom observations in four different London schools (two elementary, two secondary). Each London school was ethnically and linguistically diverse and primarily served an economically disadvantaged student population. Our research suggests that overall, an emphasis on standardized testing has led to the exclusion of personal/social education while teachers attempted to meet the academic demands of high stakes testing. Social/personal education was typically only addressed implicitly or in response to behavior management issues. Our implications highlight the severe consequences of such trends for both British and American schools.