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The impact of a new National Curriculum on subject leaders in primary and secondary Schools

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Steven Chubb
Publication date06/2020
Number of pages217
Awarding Institution
Award date4/05/2020
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This interpretivist case-study research aimed to investigate the impact of a new National Curriculum on the work of subject lead teachers in a secondary school and in one of its ‘feeder’ primary schools from which it recruits some of its students. The cross-phase aspect of the research is unusual and raises interesting issues about student transition, school links and differences in curriculum planning within the two school settings. The research was carried out using semi-structured interviews in a pragmatic sample of subject lead teachers in the two geographically linked case study schools. Analysis of the interviews was through a thematic analysis approach based on the work of Braun and Clarke (2006), leading to inductively developed themes that were
then deductively analysed using Bernstein’s ‘Pedagogic Device’ (2000) as a conceptual lens. The analysis particularly focused on the ‘recontextualising’ and ‘evaluative’ rules of Bernstein’s Pedagogic Device. The initial findings of this small-scale case study research suggest that state influence over the work of teachers through a National Curriculum may vary considerably depending on the curriculum subject and age phase and that assessment of the curriculum is a powerful influence on curriculum planning. This highlights the importance of the evaluative rules and field of reproduction in Bernstein’s Pedagogic Device and suggests that further conceptual development of the role of assessment has some value. The research contributes to understanding of Bernstein’s evaluative rules and of how the state might influence the curriculum development work of subject leaders.