England is a clear example of a country where government has imposed a stranglehold over curriculum development over the last 30 years, driven by a belief in the power of markets and testing to improve education. We provide an account of the evolution of a national curriculum in England, along with the growing importance of the school inspection system, which has served as a form of surveillance and as a constraint on curriculum development in schools, resulting in a very subject dominated curriculum. This has been exacerbated by demise of many traditional meso level curriculum actors and the emergence of a different assemblage of support. We give particular attention to the prominence given to interventions in pedagogy and curriculum, set within a school effectiveness paradigm. We explain that within government rhetoric there is encouragement to innovate but we show through research evidence that accountability pressures overwhelm this message and that younger teachers have not been introduced to or trained in curriculum development processes. In the final section of the chapter, we describe some schools which are going against the grain and innovating, but they do stand very much as oases in a curriculum desert.
Parker, G. and Leat, D. (2021), "The Case of Curriculum Development in England: Oases in a Curriculum Desert?", Priestley, M., Alvunger, D., Philippou, S. and Soini, T. (Ed.) Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 151-174. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83867-735-020211008
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