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Teachers' perceptions of pupil active citizenship and the transition from primary to secondary school

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    Rights statement: © Ross, H., & Brown, J. (2013). Teachers' perceptions of pupil active citizenship and the transition from primary to secondary school. University of Edinburgh.

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Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh
Commissioning bodyGordon Cook Foundation
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 2013


This report is of research funded by the Gordon Cook Foundation and carried out by the Moray House School of Education, The University of Edinburgh. The research examined school teachers’ perceptions of the development of their pupils’ active citizenship in Scottish primary and secondary schools, and in particular over the transition from primary to secondary school. “Active citizenship” or the development of civic competence included ideas of pupil participation, responsibility, leadership, decision-making and voice.

The study reports interviews with 53 teachers in 17 schools that made up four “clusters” of schools, where a cluster consisted of a secondary school and the main primary schools from which pupils would transition to the secondary. Each of the four clusters was in a different Scottish Local Authority.

The study also considered Scottish and international literature pertaining to pupil citizenship and to primary-secondary transition. It found a major gap in the research literature, where there appeared to be a lack of studies that focused on primary-secondary transitions and citizenship. Instead, research has concentrated on the significant impact that transition has on pupil attainment and social and emotional wellbeing.

The study is therefore one of the first of its kind, internationally, and Scotland provides an interesting case because of its relatively homogenous schooling structure, consisting of clusters of primary and secondary schools with a single, major pupil transition between them.

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