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: This study explores how recent policy changes have affected primary school teachers and their work. The thoughts, feelings and activities of teachers in their daily work are examined, resulting in the conclusion that what used to be a complex and fulfilling job has been increasingly marked by tension and constraint, which frustrates teacher creativity. While some teachers find new opportunities in the "new" primary school, many use strategical and micro-political activity in order to cope, while others fall victim to stress and burnout. The authors argue that teachers' own active involvement in policy change is required if their creative potential is to be realized.