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Curriculum Studies

Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson

On Curriculum Form

The structure of resources linked to examinations has effectively survived the ensuing changes in the educational system (although currently these are now subject to challenge). Byrne for instance has stated "that more resources are given to able students and hence to academic subjects", the two are still synonymous "since it has been assumed that they necessarily need more staff, more highly paid staff and more money for equipment and books" (Byrne 1974, p. 29).

The material interests of teachers - their pay, promotion and conditions - are intimately interlinked with the fate of their specialist subjects. In schools, school subjects are organised in departments. The subject teacher's career is pursued within such a department and the department's status depends on the subject's status. The ‘academic’ subject is placed at the top of the hierarchy of subjects because resource allocation takes place on the basis of assumptions that such subjects are best suited for the ‘able’ students (and vice versa of course) who, it is further assumed, should receive favourable treatment.

Thus, in secondary schools, the material and self-interest of subject teachers is interlinked with the status of the subject, judged in terms of its examination status. Academic subjects provide the teacher with a career structure characterised by better promotion prospects and pay than less academic subjects.

The pattern of finances and resources that emerged in the period 1904-1917 proved durable and has only very recently been subject to substantial challenge. As a result a common process of school subject promotion and development began to emerge in response to the ‘rules of the game’ defined in this manner for those pursuing finance, resources and status (Goodson 1987 & 1988). 

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  • Date of publication: 15/09/2005
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 272
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject:
    Curriculum Studies, Narrative Theory
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £27.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-415-35220-8
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