Curriculum Development Through Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry



Drew V, Priestley M & Michael MK (2016) Curriculum Development Through Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 1 (1), pp. 92-106.;

In recent years, there has been considerable interest within education policy in collaborative professional enquiry/inquiry methodologies, both as an alternative to top-down implementation of change and for the purpose of fostering educational improvement. However, researchers have been critical of this approach, pointing to various concerns: these include the risk of reducing a developmental methodology to an instrumental means for delivering policy, as well as issues around sustainability of practices. This paper describes a Scottish university/local authority partnership, which developed an approach entitled Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry, designed to address some of these concerns. The paper also reports on empirical outcomes related to the partnership project.  This interpretivist study generated qualitative data from multiple sources, utilising a range of methods including semi-structured interviews with teachers and school leaders, evaluation surveys and analysis of artefacts developed during the inquiry phases of the project. This programme exerted a powerful effect on the teachers who participated. The research suggests that teachers developed better understandings of the curriculum, and of curriculum development processes. There is evidence of innovation in pedagogy, some sustained and radical in nature, and further evidence of changes to the cultures of the participating schools, for example a shift towards more democratic ways of working. This paper reports upon an original approach to curriculum development, with considerable potential to transform the ways in which schools approach innovation.

Collaborative professional enquiry; inquiry; curriculum development; professional learning

Journal of Professional Capital and Community: Volume 1, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online01/2016
Date accepted by journal31/10/2015
Publisher URL…PCC-09-2015-0006

People (3)


Dr Valerie Drew

Dr Valerie Drew

Lecturer in Education Leadership, Education

Dr Maureen Michael

Dr Maureen Michael

Senior Lecturer, Education

Professor Mark Priestley

Professor Mark Priestley

Professor, Education