chapter  6
12 Pages

The National Curriculum in a Secondary School

ByAlan Leech

No-one can examine the National Curriculum's operation and implementation at secondary school level without an awareness of the climate under which schools have been working since 1988. The Education Reform Act was a great and powerful force for change and both the tidal wave and ripple effect of the changes triggered have yet to cease. In particular, schools have been adjusting to and amending their operations with regard to Local Management of Schools (LMS) at same time as dealing with the staged introduction of the National Curriculum and national testing. These twin, and eventually linked, developments have posed severe problems for schools in reviewing, modifying and formulating policies. LMS has the dual thrusts of formula funding and much devolved management. At the same time, schools have had to deal with the most radical and far-reaching changes in curriculum organization, planning and delivery that present-day staff have ever known. In addition, schools have had newly constituted governing bodies, with wider but different responsibilities, a more diverse membership, an increase in powers, and an increase in size. Further, schools have had to deal with a new Pay and Conditions Document which has arrived annually, each time with amendments to aspects of a school's operation, such as discretionary pay, which have often been largely unclear and confusing to headteachers and governors. More recently, to add to the pressure of changes, teacher and headteacher appraisal has been introduced.