This powerful text encourages both pre-service and established teachers, as well as teacher educators, to engage with contemporary debates in primary education. Promoting a critical approach, the chapters explore a wide range of key themes including the importance of values in primary education and the imperative for a curriculum which embraces the whole range of available subjects. At the same time, the chapters are underpinned by a belief that children should be at the heart of all the decisions we make and that primary education should inspire a love of learning, for life.

The book aims to support practitioners to make informed judgements and feel confident to argue their point of view with deeper theoretical knowledge and understanding, thus increasing teacher agency and confidence in responding to complex educational and social dilemmas such as literacy levels and rising mental health concerns. Chapters encompass both the macro aspects of primary education and more specialised debates on key topics such as reading, mathematics, languages, early years education and the use of technology.

With annotated further reading and reflective questions, this key text is essential reading for all those wanting to develop a better understanding of the issues that shape their practice including student teachers at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, practising teachers engaged in continuing professional development and teacher educators.

chapter Chapter 1|14 pages

The purpose of education

The purpose of primary education

chapter Chapter 2|17 pages

Intimations of Utopia

Values, sustaining environments and the flourishing of children and teachers

chapter Chapter 3|11 pages

Reconceptualising teacher identity

chapter Chapter 4|16 pages

Fundamental British Values

Are they fundamental?

chapter Chapter 5|16 pages

What is effective pedagogy in the Reception Year?

chapter Chapter 7|16 pages

Teaching early reading

The phonics debate

chapter Chapter 8|18 pages

The arts as handmaiden

chapter Chapter 11|11 pages

Debates in primary science education

chapter Chapter 14|19 pages

Using digital strategies for primary learning

chapter Chapter 17|11 pages

Teachers as readers and writers

chapter Chapter 19|11 pages

‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’

Support for children with SEND in times of austerity

chapter Chapter 20|17 pages

Leading the way