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Curriculum making in Scottish Schools: Aim to investigate the factors that shape curriculum making in Scottish schools.


Faculty of Social Sciences

About the Project

Curriculum making by schools and teachers is a key area of interest in educational research worldwide. For example, the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence now requires schools and teachers to become local curriculum makers, with national policy providing little more than a guiding framework for curriculum making in schools. Curriculum making is defined here as the activities undertaken by teachers schools in developing programmes of study for children and young people.
Current research in the Faculty of Social Sciences, for example the ESRC-funded Teacher Agency and Curriculum change and Nuffield-funded ‘Choice, attainment and positive destinations’ projects, indicates clearly that affording schools and teachers autonomy as curriculum makers does not necessarily lead to better curriculum making. Instead, the research shows that the indirect factors, such as accountability systems and school benchmarking, can have negative effects on teachers’ decision-making around curriculum. This can lead to issues such as curriculum narrowing.
Prof Mark Priestley and Dr Marina Shapira wish to meet potential candidates for a mixed-methods study on the factors that shape curriculum making in Scottish schools. Suitable candidates will be supported in applying for Scottish Graduate School of Social Science funding for PhD study (including a foundation research Master’s year if needed). We are also interested in talking with people seeking self-funded PhD study.
Prof Priestley is an internationally recognised scholar in curriculum studies. Dr Shapira is a sociologist with expertise in quantitative research methods, and a strong interest in educational attainment and social disadvantage.

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