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Plain English Summary

Research Summary

Intentions Poster


Project Website

Groupwork Transition Website


Scottish Extensions


Supporting Group Work in Scottish Schools: Age and Urban/Rural Divide (2003 - 2004)

This project has now completed. Major outputs include:



Mr Donald Christie (University of Strathclyde)
Professor Keith Topping (University of Dundee)
Dr Andrew Tolmie (University of Dundee)
Dr Kay Livingston (University of Strathclyde)
Professor Christine Howe (University of Strathclyde)


Project Summary

This project was associated with the Phase II SPRinG project, 'Improving Effectiveness of Pupil Groups in Classrooms', which was intended to establish the conditions necessary for group activities to produce definite educational benefits (in terms of learning and quality of classroom relationships), and to design ways of helping teachers to introduce effective group work into their classes at Key Stages 1-3 of the National Curriculum in England. The Scottish Extension project sought to extend such support to science teaching with 10-12 year olds in three types of primary school in Scotland:

  1. Small rural schools with composite classes and cross-age group work between familiar peers;

  2. Urban schools with composite classes and cross-age group work between less familiar peers;

  3. Urban schools with same-age group work.

Interest here centred on the fact that group work between children of different ages tends to lead to older children tutoring the younger ones, rather than to more equal collaboration between them, which is what the programmes of support for teachers are designed to encourage.

The research tested how far the SPRinG support programmes need to be modified to promote group work where there is a different natural dynamic, adding to the understanding of the ways in which different forms of productive group activity can be promoted, and extending the social pedagogy being developed by SPRinG.

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