chapter  5
12 Pages

Subject Departments

The subject department provides the most common organizational vehicle for school subject knowledge, certainly in secondary schools, but unlike ‘the curriculum’ it has not been widely researched or much noted in our studies of schools. In many ways subject departments play the same role in schools as compartments in an oil tanker. ‘A well designed oil-tanker is a honeycomb of many small internal compartments so that, as the ship rolls, it’s cargo does not all swill over in the direction of each roll, exacerbating the aberrations.’ Parish (1993) goes on to say that ‘stability depends on these ‘sealed internal compartments’ which ensure checks and balances against too much movement’ (p. 7). The same could be said for subject departments.