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The National Curriculum: the natural evolutionary product of two decades of debate and development? Or a device for keeping the world Tory?

Willan, Patrick Trevor (1995) The National Curriculum: the natural evolutionary product of two decades of debate and development? Or a device for keeping the world Tory? PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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The concern of this research is the theory and practice of the National Curriculum that was established in law in England and Wales through the passing of the Education Reform Act (ERA) of 1988. Its contribution to knowledge lies first in my close textual analysis of the government's theoretical exposition of its proposed National Curriculum in The National Curriculum: a consultation document (DES, 1987). Its major contribution is to pursue the principal question through three years of field research of the practice of implementation in a London borough's county high schools. The theory is examined through a study of the documents which accompanied this legislative proposal, and analysed both through reference to the rhetoric specific to the proposal, and other relevant and contemporary literature. I endeavour to establish the origins and implications of the accompanying justifying rhetoric. I focus in particular on the concepts of entitlement and differentiation, frequently employed throughout the proposal and other supporting official documentation, and used both in justification and explanation of what was to be done. I pursue the suggestion of the existence of a gap between the rhetoric of this proposal and the political intentions of the government first through a consideration of the political and educational context of the proposal's emergence. Then I attempt to reveal some of the subsequent reality of implementation through the field research. ii These findings are discussed with reference both to my earlier analysis of the proposals, and the political context from which they emerged. The extent to which the political programme of the Conservative Party, including its policies on education, depended upon the appropriation of language for its justifying rhetoric, and hence legitimation of its activities, is considered throughout.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: National curriculum,Educational policy,Policy implementation,Politics and education,Right (political)
Subjects: Departments > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Welshman
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2015 14:50
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2015 13:11
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