Book Chapter

Understanding curriculum



Priestley M & Nieveen N (2020) Understanding curriculum. In: Chartered College of Teaching (ed.) The Early Career Framework Handbook. Corwin Ltd. London: SAGE, pp. 135-143.

Discussion that specifically relates to the school curriculum is firmly back on the educational agenda in the UK after a hiatus of around 25 years. This development is to be welcomed for at least two reasons. First, “the curriculum is – or at least should be – at the heart of educational discourse and practice” (Priestley & Philippou, 2018, p.2). In recent years, there has been a tendency to neglect consideration of curricular issues when developing practice, as schools have become more likely to be influenced by more instrumental concerns driven by accountability systems. Second, teachers play an important role in curriculum making; policy intentions set out in official curriculum texts only take us so far, and they still need to be translated into practice. This is an active process requiring teachers to work from first principles to develop their practice, and thus requires a good understanding of curriculum (e.g. Priestley, Biesta & Robinson, 2015; Nieveen, Van den Akker & Resink, 2010). This chapter provides an introduction to some core curriculum concepts, addressing the following aims, which align closely to ECF standard 3: • To set out a framework for understanding curriculum and its role in the development of educational practice; • To reflect upon the resources required for developing the curriculum; • To explore issues related to sequencing and progression. • To reflect upon the relationship between knowledge and skills in the curriculum. • To suggest implications for curriculum making by teachers

Title of seriesCorwin Ltd
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online12/06/2020
Place of publicationLondon

People (1)


Professor Mark Priestley
Professor Mark Priestley

Professor, Education