Middle School Research

MSc Dissertation

An investigation into the demise of the middle school in England

During 2004 I carried out some research into the demise of the middle school in England as my Masters disstertation undertaken at Nottingham Trent University (MSc Research Methods). To view a pdf version of the full report click here.

The research objectives were:

Key findings

The main findings of the research were as follows:

There is a strong constituency of support amongst 'users' of middle schools, i.e. current and former pupils and headteachers, but the system is falling victim to the strategic priorities of decision makers in local and national government

Headteachers and former pupils suggested that middle schools provide a more appropiate social environment for children in their middle years of schooling. Many felt that middle schools are educationally advantageous since they provide access to specialist teaching facilities at an earlier age than two-tier schooling and are arguably better able to meet pupils' individual needs.

The reasons for the demise of the middle school

The research identified the following possible reasons why the number of middle schools in England has declined since it's height in the early 1980s:


Limitations of the MSc research

Since my Master's degree was in Research Methods the full dissertation includes a chapter critiquing the methods employed (chapter 6), however, there were some overall limitations to the research approach which led to suggested ways of expanding the project.

In my critique of the research I suggested that it could have been improved by incorporating a comparative element, such as a comparison of the middle school system with the two-tier system in operation throughout most of England, or a comparison with middle schools in other countries. This has led me to undertake a PhD to address these issues, see my home page for more information.

To view a pdf of the full MSc dissertation click here.


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