The construction of the national curriculum: an ideological and political analysis

Keith Crawford*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper argues that the 1988 National Curriculum for England and Wales was socially constructed and was a product of ideological struggle, conflict and compromise. While explanations of curriculum construction through exploring and analysing the actions of individuals and groups are illuminating and critical, and while work in the micro-study of policy sociology is clearly important, it can lead to a limited focus on classroom interpretation, resistance and redefinition. This can result in the analysis of the ideological definition of curriculum before its subsequent interpretation in schools remaining under- or unexplored. This paper seeks to readdress that imbalance by exploring the preactive invention and construction of the National Curriculum within a broad historical, social and economic context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-276
Number of pages16
JournalResearch Papers in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • curriculum
  • curriculum history
  • ideology
  • national curriculum
  • politics
  • social constructionism


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