Delivering the primary curriculum: The use of subject specialist and generalist teachers in NSW

Kathie Ardzejewska*, Anne Mcmaugh, Pamela Coutts

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)
    86 Downloads (Pure)


    The delivery of the primary curriculum has been subject to recent debate in Western countries. In Australia, the primary teacher is by and large considered a generalist; however a current paradox exists whereby there are claims that specialists are needed to deliver the curriculum. This study explores this claim by first addressing the prevalence of specialist use in NSW government schools before examining principals' views regarding the current work of primary teachers. Data was collected using a mixed method sequential QUAN+QUAL design. In phase I questionnaires were distributed to all principals (N = 1608) in government primary schools in one Australian state (New South Wales) with a response rate of 25%. Follow-up interviews were conducted with 14 principals in phase II. The findings suggest that there is a disjuncture between the assumption that the primary curriculum can be delivered by a generalist and current practices which forces us to consider whether it is time for a different model.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)203-219
    Number of pages17
    JournalIssues in Educational Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2010. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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