From the Author
Is the curriculum a conspiracy, or is it an accident?
This book summarises much of my thinking over the past couple of decades on the way in which we arrive at a curriculum for schools. I started with an interest in a particular area - children's political and economic ideas - and became interested as this got squeezed and manipulated by the processes of curriculum design. My interests developed into who was doing this squeezing and manipulating, and why. I see the curriculum as being something that is socially constructed, in its entirety. Everything that we teach in schools, everything we encourage children to learn, is part of a political statement about what we (or somebody else) wants to happen. This is true even if it's just a plain traditional curriculum, of the 'learn this because I had to learn it once' variety. I take the English school curriculum as a case study, through much of the first half of this book. I try to unpick the changes that have occurred, the way that politicians and civil servants managed to control teachers and professionals, and the reasons behind some of this. I then try to disentangle some different justifications for creating a curriculum: the desire to pass on an academic cannon of knowledge; the desire to inculcate specic skills and abilities for instrumenstal/economic reasosn; and the desire to develop the individual abd their personal needs. My own view is that all of these models are wanting - and that we are probably unable to break very much free of the restraints of cultural reproduction. Though it's written with an English frame, I think that the points would travel well to other cultures. I's be happy to hear from readers. In retrospect, I enjoyed writing it (it was hard work at the time). I hope you enjoy reading it.