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History of ASPE

The Association for the Study of Primary Education (ASPE) has a comparatively long history. 
It was launched at a conference in Leeds in 1988. One its founder members Professor Robin Alexander in his introduction to the papers from this first annual conference wrote:

“ASPE started as informal conversation in unlikely places. Its translation into something more formal began when those concerned decided to test the water by inviting a number of people to a seminar at Warwick University on 7th November 1987. The seminar was attended by about forty five people from different parts of the country and from various branches of primary education (teachers, advisers, teacher educators, researchers, HMIs etc).”

Those present considered and strongly endorsed, the case for establishing a national association to help advance the cause of primary education by promoting its study. Over the previous decade, primary education had gained a much higher profile than hitherto; it had attracted the attention of policy makers in central and local government, academic researchers and the press and public.
The 1988 Education Reform Act began to accelerate the pace of change even further. In particular there was the introduction, from September 1989, of the National Curriculum and later, plans for testing seven and eleven year olds. Despite the increased prominence of primary education, many people felt that there was a need to provide a voice for those primary specialists working in Schools, LEAs and Teacher Education. ASPE is about maintaining this tripartite membership and this is reflected in ASPE’s National Executive.


What distinguishes ASPE from other bodies with interests in Primary Education is its emphasis on reflective study and on collaborative activity between the groups it represents.

ASPE is founded on the core purposes of advancing the cause of primary education and on supporting those most directly involved, through professional discourse, practice and study.

ASPE uses a number of strategies to help establish and meet these aims:

  • Major National Conferences featuring national and international speakers specialising in Primary Education – open to all
  • Commissioning Publications – written by leading researchers and practitioners – entitled ASPE Papers
  • Newsletters to Members
  • Through its respected international journal – Education 3 – 13

Supporting Practitioner Research

ASPE is seeking to encourage emergent research activity within the UK primary phase by offering schools the opportunity to bid for funding to support small-scale classroom and school-based enquiries.

To submit a bid for funding you will need to download, complete and return the following form: ASPE application form for funding for school based research project TEMPLATE Version Mar 2022

In your application you will need to consider how your proposed investigation will:

  • Contribute to “grassroots” research
  • Lead to sustained further engagement with practitioner research
  • “Close the gap” between practitioners and the “world of research”
  • Potentially have a wide applicability and impact
  • Have clear outcomes relevant to the aims of ASPE
  • Offer “value for money”
  • Evaluate the activity and disseminate outcomes

Please return completed forms to [email protected]

Another excellent source of funding to support research activity within schools is https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/ who also publish the reports from recent studies on their web site.