chapter  4.3
Critical Perspectives on the Curriculum
WithAyshea Craig, Dominic Wyse
Pages 13

The idea that countries, or other jurisdictions, should have a national curriculum for primary (elementary) and secondary education is very common across the world. Over the last two decades, the attention paid by governments to national curricula has become more intense, not least because of the comparison of jurisdictions made in international testing and surveys such as PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study), PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). Responding to these international developments, the countries of the UK have also paid increased attention to their national curricula. At the same time, with increasing political devolution, the curricula of the different countries in the UK have diversified. As far as the National Curriculum in England is concerned, the rise of high-stakes national testing has had a significant impact on the curriculum children have access to in schools. And the diversification of primary schools in England, not all of which are now required to follow the ‘National’ Curriculum, has led to more variety, as some schools take up the opportunity to choose or design their own curriculum.