Book Chapter

Curriculum reform in Scottish Education: Discourse, Narrative and Enactment



Humes W & Priestley M (2021) Curriculum reform in Scottish Education: Discourse, Narrative and Enactment. In: Priestley M, Alvunger D, Philippou S & Soini T (eds.) Curriculum making in Europe: policy and practice within and across diverse contexts. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Ltd, pp. 175-198.

This chapter examines curriculum reform in Scotland, showing how the ambitious aspirations of its flagship policy, Curriculum for Excellence, were subject to a complex array of global, national and local pressures and had to take account of political and cultural circumstances that posed particular challenges. Both the Scottish Government’s management of the reform programme and the teaching profession’s response to it are subject to detailed scrutiny. The discussion pays particular attention to the discourse used in promoting the policy, the shifting nature of the official narrative as the recommendations of international agencies were taken on board, and the issues that arose as the policy moved from intention to enactment. Drawing on the notion of ‘curriculum making’, which serves as a conceptual thread for all the contributions to this volume, the analysis highlights both evidence of progress and sites of continuing debate.

Curriculum for Excellence; Policy process; Curriculum change; Curriculum making; Curriculum enactment; Scotland

Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online20/01/2021
PublisherEmerald Publishing Ltd
Place of publicationBingley

People (1)


Professor Mark Priestley

Professor Mark Priestley

Professor, Education