Let the Os & Es remain slaves not masters to the main purpose of change in CfE


I’ve been looking at policy recently and considering CfE and Glow as policy constucts and it’s been really interesting – hard work but rewarding to be able to  understand them in a different way. I found  this module challenging and hard going in general; sometimes things appeared blindingly obvious ( policy gets contested at each stage of its development, which changes it, so it is process as well as product) and some issues I just couldn’t get my head round at all ( but for some CfE is the shiny green folders and now they’re here they don’t change! If people think they’re enacting upon it but just doing the same as they’ve always done, does that count as contesting the policy?)

  The reading I did was extensive – but still didn’t feel like enough. I can across two papers yesterday, thanks to my tutor, Donald Gilles,  just as I was completing the final section, that I would have loved to have explored and drawn on a bit more, but didn’t have the time, energy or inspiration to reconstruct my arguments.

My favourite texts from our prescribed reading lists were from the globalization of policy area. The first reading of Lingard & Ozga I found pretty impenetrable, but second time round it provided a rich seam of thought for me, especially when cross referenced with my former colleague from Stirling, Mark Priestley’s work. I read several of Mark’s papers for this assignment, which are listed below and would recommend any of them for any kind of deeper analysis you might want to make of our current situation in Scotland’s schools.  One that you might find particularly interesting is the latest one: Curriculum for Excellence: transformational change or business as usual? just newly out this month in the Scottish Educational Review. The title of this post is taken from it, and in it Mark makes some honest and incisive criticisms of the policy; its lack of theoretical grounding; the gaps in elaboration of the processes it makes reference to, notably active and collaborative learning. He also makes some useful comments about teacher capacity building and a possible process for engaging with innovation – trials underway in Highland council area I understand. It all sounds very promising: a potential structure for engaging with the processes of change could be very useful in these changing and challenging times.

Lingard, B & Ozga, J. (2007). Education Policy and Politics. In B. &. Lingard, The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Education Policy and Politics (pp. 65-82). Abingdon: Routledge.

Priestley, M. (2010) Curriculum for Excellence: transformational change or business as usual?, Scottish Educational Review, 42 (1), 23-36.

Priestley, M & Humes, W. (2010). The development of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: amnesia or déja vu? Oxford Review of Education. First published on 26th February 2010 (iFirst)

Priestley, M. (2002). Global discourses and national reconstruction; the impact of globalization on curriculum policy. Curriculum Journal , 121-138.


About catrionao

I'm a lecturer at UWS and a PhD student at Stirling University, studying a school based practice of teacher professional learning.
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2 Responses to Let the Os & Es remain slaves not masters to the main purpose of change in CfE

  1. dave t says:

    Change needs to be a cultural one not just within individual far seeing establishments at all levels. Currently doing a huge blog post which I really need to finish and then whittle down to explain my thinking! Good post and thanks for the link to Mark P’s latest. What a guy – he kicks intellectual butt like no other!

  2. catrionao says:

    Thanks for your comment Dave and I totally agree with you – transformational change does require a cultural change, and mapping existing practice onto new framework just isn’t going to make it happen. I like what Mark says in his paper about post-hoc audits after the process of change is underway is the best way forward – auditing what you do now against new landscape isn’t going to help you move as far forward in the change process. It’s all fascinating stuff – hope folks can make good use of it.

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