23 SES 09 D, Curriculum Reform in Four Nations: A Home International Symposium
Although often referred to as the United Kingdom, the UK comprises four very different nations, England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, each with their own educational policy. The differences and the pace of reform in the school curriculum has increased since the creation of a devolved parliament in Scotland and legislative assemblies in Northern Ireland and Wales at the turn of the century.
In each nation some form of major curriculum change is under way or is currently being implemented. There do seem to be common threads. Firstly, there is an apparent increased process orientation to the curriculum and a concomitant weakening of subject boundaries (a weaker classification, in Bernstein’s terms). There is also increasing attention to explicit statements of values and to the definition of the desired outcomes in terms of personal attributes or capacities. Finally, in all four nations assessment is perceived to be a powerful influence on the curriculum.
Curriculum Reform is a major international issue. Building from discussions around a previous ECER symposium, European Perspectives on School-Based Curriculum Development (ECER, 2008) this symposium will reflect on the different changes underway in each of the four nations of the UK. A researcher from each of the four nations will seek to identify some of the origins and motivations for reform as well as providing an analysis of the process of change. The symposium will seek to demonstrate the power of ‘home international’ comparative work through revealing the significant influence on curriculum reform of very different policy contexts, of different political settlements and modes of governance and of different relationships between key stakeholders. Following the four papers symposium participants will be invited to reflect with the authors on possible implications arising from the four national models within the UK for curriculum and assessment reform in Europe more generally.
One theme that will emerge from the symposium is the changing ways in which teachers are being positioned or are positioning themselves in relation to curriculum development. In some contexts there is something of a ‘reprofessionalisation’ of teachers going on. A second theme will be the different ways in which assessment is being used as a driver for curriculum reform. Furthermore the symposium will provide an opportunity to consider the relationship between the school curriculum and national identity (which is all the more significant in a post-devolution context). There has been an apparent desire in the three smaller nations to have a curriculum that is more distinctive from that of the English than was the case in the past, but yet concern about ways in which concepts of nationalism are interpreted very [DW1] differently in the different nations. In particular, the symposium will reflect on perceptions of moves towards a nationalist curriculum, which in the views of several commentators, had been a feature of the English National Curriculum (514 words, excluding title)
[DW1]Should this be ‘vary’?
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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