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Jane's reward for 'labour of love'

A thesis, which contradicts present views on the transition process of pupils from primary to secondary school, has won its writer a top award

A probationer working in a Fife primary school is this year's winner of the George Gray award for the best final year BEd thesis.

Jane Chiverton, who is now doing her induction year in Letham Primary, near Cupar, was presented with a certificate and cheque on Wednesday at the meeting of the General Teaching Council for Scotland in Edinburgh (the award is named after the first registrar of the GTC).

Mrs Chiverton, who graduated with first class honours from Dundee University, impressed the judges with her entry, Crossing the Great Divide, which examined how children regarded themselves when they moved from primary to secondary.

Matthew MacIver, GTC registrar, said: "What the panel found most interesting about Jane Chiverton's thesis was the fact that she came to conclusions which seemed to contradict present views of the transition process.

"She found, for example, that girls' self-esteem decreased quite dramatically when they moved to secondary school.

"What she also found was that, far from treading water on moving to S1, pupils found it very exciting and far more stimulating than P7. That is not the kind of message we have been receiving in the recent past, especially from HMIE reports."

Mrs Chiverton said she chose the topic, which she describes as her "labour of love", because her daughter was about to start in secondary school. "The investigation provided many opportunities to develop a greater understanding of the transition process and its possible effect on the pupils involved," she said.

Mrs Chiverton realised her conclusions were not in line with other findings and she has already made arrangements to continue her research until the group of pupils leaves secondary school.

Research is something she believes should play a vital role in education and she aims to be involved in both.

The judging panel consisted of Mr MacIver; Ethel Gray, widow of George Gray; Ron Elder, former head of the education faculty at Dundee University; Ivor Sutherland, former registrar of the GTC; and Neil Munro, editor of The TESS.

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