Understanding curriculum

Mark Priestley, Nienke Nieveen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional

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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
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Early Career Framework Handbook
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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