Children's changing perceptions over the course of the transition from the Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In this thesis I examine the way in which the changing contexts of the Foundation State and Key Stage 1 in England affect children's perceptions of school and of themselves when they make the transition from Reception to Year 1. Working with 11 children out of a class of 30 who made the transition in a two form entry school situated in an outer borough of London, I employed a variation of the 'Mosaic Approach' (Clark and Moss 2001) to gather data with the children using photographs, tours, observations and conversations. In order to understand the changing context I gathered further information through interviews with the children's teachers and parents and examined documentary evidence from government and school concerning the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.
Focusing on the interplay between structure and agency, I undertook an iterative approach to analysis between the field data and literature, which indicated that even small adjustments in teaching style effected changes in children's ideas about learning through both play and work. The findings also point to links between the children's understandings of identity as being either fixed or flexible, their individual priorities and the way in which they experienced the transition. The findings from this thesis support the view that it may be more important in Year 1 to focus on a pedagogy aimed at developing flexible, mastery orientations to learning using children's interests as a basis for planning than delivering predetermined curriculum content.
Date of AwardOct 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • School of Education
  • University of Roehampton
SponsorsFroebel Trust

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