Primary School Teachers’ Perceptions of Risk: Emerging findings from a study of theoretical conceptualisations of risk and their impact upon Pedagogical Practice

Understanding teachers’ views of risk is important and necessary as their opinions have been associated with the declining freedom children are experiencing in primary school (Bundy et al., 2009). Despite risk being a prevailing topic amongst researchers it has yet to be clearly understood (Cooper and Faseruk, 2011). Early childhood researchers have suggested that it is beneficial for teachers to share their perceptions of risk (Howard, 2011) and to make sense of their beliefs so that they can share a common goal of providing children with the best opportunities to play and learn (Trotman et al., 2012).
The paper will examine how risk is perceived in existing literature. This will then be used to contextualise the emerging findings from the pilot phase of a larger PhD study of teachers’ perceptions of risk in their day-to-day practice and the key factors that influence their perceptions. In this initial phase, semi-structured interviews were conducted with year one teachers from primary schools in South Wales. Emerging themes include teachers’ fears of litigation from parents and the role of social media.