Priestley M & Sinnema C (2014) Downgraded curriculum? An analysis of knowledge in new curricula in Scotland and New Zealand. Curriculum Journal, 25 (1), pp. 50-75. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585176.2013.872047
The development, since 2000, of new National Curricula across the Anglophone world signals a number of policy trends, including: a move from the explicit specification of content towards a more generic, skills-based approach; a greater emphasis on the centrality of the learner; and [ostensibly] greater autonomy for teachers in developing the curriculum in school. These policy shifts have attracted some criticism, especially from social realist writers, who claim that the new curricula downgrade knowledge. This paper offers a contribution to this debate; an empirically-based analysis of two new curricula, New Zealand’s Curriculum Framework and Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence. We conclude that, while these curricula continue to accord considerable importance to knowledge in their statements of policy intent, the social realist critique is at least partially justified, since both curricula are characterised by a lack of coherence and mixed messages about the place of knowledge.
curriculum; curriculum policy; knowledge; social realism
Curriculum Journal: Volume 25, Issue 1