Creating the Curriculum: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Creating the Curriculum

1st Edition

By Dominic Wyse, Vivienne Baumfield, David Egan, Louise Hayward, Moira Hulme, Ian Menter, Carmel Gallagher, Ruth Leitch, Kay Livingston, Bob Lingard


156 pages

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Paperback: 9780415687706
pub: 2012-08-16
Hardback: 9780415687690
pub: 2012-08-16

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Is there an ‘ideal’ primary school curriculum?

Who should decide what the curriculum is?

Should teachers have autonomy over how they teach?

The curriculum is the heart of what teachers teach and learners learn: effective teaching is only possible with an effective curriculum. Yet in spite of its importance, there has been a crisis in curriculum that has been caused in large part by governments assuming direct control over the curriculum, assessment, and increasingly, pedagogy.

Creating the Curriculum tackles this thorny issue head on, challenging student and practising primary school teachers to think critically about past and present issues and to engage with a new wave of curriculum thinking and development. Considering curriculum construction and its impact on teaching and learning in the four countries of the UK, key issues considered include:

  • who should decide the curriculum, its aims and its values
  • the extent to which issues in primary education swing back and forth
  • Subjects versus thematic organisation, stages and phases, progression, breadth and balance
  • prescription versus teacher autonomy
  • the key features of effective classroom practice
  • strategies for assessing the whole curriculum
  • how language in the classroom influences curriculum design
  • understanding curricula in the context of children’s social and personal circumstances
  • creativity, curriculum and the classroom.

Illustrated throughout with strategies and case studies from the classroom, Creating the Curriculum accessibly links the latest research and evidence with concrete examples of good practice. It is a timely exploration of what makes an effective and meanginful curriculum and how teachers can bring new relevance, motivation and powerful values to what they teach.


"Creating the Curriculum is a stimulating, informed, provocative, well-referenced and accessible collection of writing. The focus of the book is a consideration of curriculum construction and the impact of the primary school curriculum on teaching and learning in the four countries of the UK. Central to the success of this book, however, is that, in addition to providing a careful summative historical setting for the discussion of issues affecting schools now and in the future, the writers never lose sight of the fact that, at every opportunity, we need to listen to children." - John Senior, Gifted Education International

Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction 1. Reshaping the message systems of schooling in the UK: a critical reflection Bob Lingard 2. The history of primary education and the curriculum Ian Menter 3. Aims and Objectives Carmel Gallagher and Dominic Wyse 4. Pedagogy Vivienne Baumfield 5. Has anyone really learned anything? Assessment in the primary school Louise Hayward 6. Curriculum Construction Carmel Gallagher and David Egan 7. Languages and literacy Dominic Wyse 8. Critical analysis of personal and social education in UK primary curricula Ruth Leitch 9. Creativity Dominic Wyse 10. Curriculum for the future Moira Hulme and Kay Livingston

About the Authors

Dominic Wyse is Professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

Vivienne Marie Baumfield is Professor of Pedagogy at the School of Education, University of Glasgow, UK.

David Egan is Emeritus Professor and Director at the Centre for Applied Education Research, Cardiff School of Education, University Wales in Cardiff, UK.

Carmel Gallagher is Research Associate at the School of Education, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK.

Louise Hayward is Professor of Educational Assessment and Innovation at the School of Education, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK.

Moira Hulme is Lecturer in Educational Research at the School of Education, University of Glasgow, UK.

Ruth Leitch is Professor of Education at the School of Education, Queen’s University Belfast, UK.

Bob Lingard is Professorial Research Fellow at the School of Education, The University of Queensland, Australia.

Kay Livingston is Professor of Educational Research, Policy and Practice at the School of Education, University of Glasgow, UK.

Ian Menter is Professor of Teacher Education and Director of Professional Programmes at the Department of Education, University of Oxford, UK.

About the Series

Understanding Primary Education Series

The Understanding Primary Education Series offers a fresh approach to the key topics in primary education, combining compelling practical writing with rigorous theoretical and evidence-based argument. Breaking new ground in both established topics and essential topics which have been less well covered previously, the series emphasises the importance of research evidence, theory and reflection on practice in primary education. The series will be invaluable reading for all those engaged with initial teacher education and professional development who want authoritative accounts of issues central to working in the primary classroom.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Curricula
EDUCATION / Elementary