In structuring National Curricula in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, priority has been given to English, Mathematics and Science. Restructured in England and Wales in 1995 in the 'Dearing review', national curricula for the UK experienced a further substantial revision in 2000. See also Adams and CCEA for examples.
- Dearing, R. (1995) The National Curriculum and its Assessment: A Review, London : SCAA
- Adams, F. (1999) ‘5-14: Origins, Development and Implementation’, in Bryce, T.G.K. and Humes W.M. (eds) Scottish Education. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- CCEA (2000) Proposals for Changes in the Northern Ireland Curriculum Framework, Belfast: Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.
The non-statutory guidelines for Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship are the parts of the National Curriculum that link most strongly with stated aims and values - see QCA; Beck & Earl; Inman, Buck & Tandy. For a consideration of the citizenship agenda see Klein; Claire; Holden and Clough; and Gardner et al. By contrast, the statutory subject orders sometimes sit uncomfortably with the aims and values that are intended to inform them.
- QCA (1998) The National Curriculum: Handbook for Primary Teachers in England, London: HMSO.
- Beck, J. and Earl, M. (eds) (2000) Key Issues in Secondary Education, London: Cassell.
- Inman, S., Buck, M. and Tandy, M. (2002) Enhancing Personal, Social and Health Education. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Klein, R. (2001) Citizens by Right: Citizenship Education in Primary Schools, Stoke-on Trent: Trentham Books.
- Claire, H. (2001) Not Aliens: Primary School Children and the Citizenship/PSHE Curriculum, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.
- Holden, C. and Clough, N. (2002) Education for Citizenship: Ideas into Action, London: RoutledgeFalmer
- Gardner, R., Cairns, J. and Lawton, D. (eds) (2003) Education for Values: Morals, Ethics And Citizenship In Contemporary Teaching, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
To a large extent the curriculum for schools has been placed in a linear form within each subject - and this is, of course, backed up by formal assessment procedures. There are several disadvantages in this approach, some of which are articulated by Ernest.
- Ernest, P. (1991) The Philosophy of Mathematics Education, London: Falmer.
However, focusing on implementing a broadly constructivist approach in the classroom, Selley shows how this is not necessarily incompatible with highly structured national curricula. McNamara, and Woods & Jeffrey, reflect the scope of the teaching role in the modern primary school, whilst Paechter provides a re-conceptualisation of the field of curriculum and its negotiation.
- Selley, N. (1999) The Art of Constructivist Teaching in the Primary School, London: David Fulton
- McNamara, D. (1994) Classroom Pedagogy and Primary Practice, London: Routledge
- Woods, P. and Jeffrey, B. (1996) Teachable Moments: The Art of Teaching in Primary Schools, Buckingham: Open University Press
- Paechter, C. (2000) Changing School Subjects, Buckingham: Open University Press
Osborn et al document teachers' reactions to the introduction of the National Curriculum, and the companion volume, Pollard and Triggs, describes the impact of its introduction on pupils' experiences of life in classrooms.
- Osborn, M., McNess, E. and Broadfoot, P. (2000) What Teachers Do: Changing Policy and Practice in Primary Education, London: Continuum.
- Pollard, A. and Triggs, P. (2000) What Pupils Say: Changing Policy and Practice in Primary Education, London: Continuum.
For a radical, revisionist view of the primary curriculum that questions the basis of many national curricula, again see Quicke; and for a seminal perspective from a renowned American educationalist, see Eisner. Another American perspective, this time on the implicit and explicit influences on the culture of the curriculum, is provided by Joseph.
- Quicke, J. (1999) A Curriculum for Life: Schools for a Democratic Learning Society, Buckingham: Open University Press
- Eisner, E.W. Cognition and Curriculum Reconsidered (2nd. Edition), London: Paul Chapman
- Joseph, P.B. (1999) Cultures of Curriculum, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
It is interesting to note that, from the advice on 'loosening' of the structure of the foundation subject curriculum in 2001 to the publication of 'Excellence and Enjoyment' in 2003, government advice for schools in England and Wales has acknowledged that a tightly subject-based curriculum is not the only way to organise the curriculum for learning in primary schools.
- DfES (2003) Excellence and Enjoyment: A Strategy for Primary Schools, Nottingham : DfES Publications
Key issues in contemporary vocational education are explored in:
- Watkins, E. J. (2009) Invisible Students, Impossible Dreams: Experiencing Vocational Education 14-19.
- Coffield, F., Hodgson, A., Spours, K., Finlay, I., Edward, S. and Steer, R. (2008) Improving Learning, Skills and Inclusion: The Impact of Policy on Post-Compulsory Education, Abingdon: Routledge.
- Spours, K. (2009) Education for All: The Future of Education and Training for 14-19 Year Olds, Abingdon: Routledge.
- Felstead, A., Fuller, A., Jewson, N. and Unwin, L. (2009) Improving Working as Learning, Abingdon: Routledge.
- Wolf, A. and Evans, K. (2011) Improving Literacy at Work, Abingdon: Routledge.