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The rationale for subsidiarity as a principle applied within curriculum reform and its unintended consequences

Newton, Nigel 2020. The rationale for subsidiarity as a principle applied within curriculum reform and its unintended consequences. Curriculum Journal 31 (2) , pp. 215-230. 10.1002/curj.37
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Following trends across the developed world to devolve power and responsibility for public services to more local agencies, curriculum reforms in several countries have been characterised by policies designed to increase teacher agency and professionalism as a means of achieving successful change. In Wales, this approach has been promoted through adoption of a principle of subsidiarity. Four interconnected reasons are presented for its use within the development of a new curriculum. These can be summarised as follow: that it will encourage teacher professionalism; stimulate improvements in teaching; enhance the responsiveness of schools to local and national needs; lead to increased confidence in the reforms. This paper explores the extent to which these four justifications are reflected in teachers' experiences of curriculum development in schools involved in leading the reform process. Drawing on data from 10 in‐depth semi‐structured interviews with teachers and a survey of over 600 teachers, data reveal that although the principle of subsidiarity is broadly welcomed, whether or not its application fulfils the justification criteria presented is far from clear. Questions about the application of a subsidiarity principle in relation to curriculum reform are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0958-5176
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 6 February 2020
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2020 07:08

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