Schools in the UK are currently faced with a reform package which includes not only a new national curriculum but also changes in school governance, management and funding, changes in the roles of local authorities, in student testing and school inspection, and in pedagogy and classroom organization and changes in teacher training, and teachers’ conditions of work and employment. It is easier to capture the scope of change involved by listing those things that remain the same-but A-level examinations may be the only example. These changes are all facets of current Conservative government education policy; they are all externally imposed, virtually all have legal status. They are all happening at once. They all have dramatically short time scales for implementation. By general consensus, within the educational community they are all massively underfunded (Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte, 1992). Furthermore, the changes are frequently altered, amended and reoriented, often by ministerial fiat. Advisory committees are set up and then ignored. Development work is commissioned and then cancelled. Teacher representatives are excluded from consultations, consultation processes are deliberately short and responses are typically ignored. Separately and together these changes are bringing about profound shifts in the nature of teaching and the teacher’s role, profound shifts in the relationships between schools and parents

and profound shifts in the nature of schools as work organizations. Not surprisingly, many teachers appear weary and wary, stressed and depressed, alienated and bitter. They are faced with threats to their autonomy and status, and livelihood in some cases, but are expected to respond constructively and intelligently to make sense of the uncertainties,

incoherence and complexity of change. In a sense the more successful they are at coping, the more of themselves as professionals and their experience they must forego.