Curriculum Planning Design

Curriculum Planning and Design

Further Reading

Boyle B and Charles M (2016) Curriculum Development. A Guide for Educators

Sage Publications Ltd.

Examines how to re-design and change a curriculum’s structure, shape and content. Grounded in theory and philosophy, the book also offers practical help in grasping the principles of curriculum development. It provides useful planning templates and support and provokes analysis, discussion and experimentation as well as including examples and case material based on the authors’ worldwide work on curriculum design and evaluation.

Burden R and Williams M (1998) Thinking through the Curriculum

London: Routledge.

This book sets out theoretical considerations and arguments detailing the pros and cons of different approaches to teaching thinking and its place in the curriculum, based on research from the University of Exeter group. It also examines whether there is one set of underlying cognitive skills and strategies that can be applied across all the curriculum subjects and beyond.

Di Michele Lalor A (2016) Ensuring High-Quality Curriculum: How to Design, Revise, or Adopt Curriculum Aligned to Student Success

Virginia: ASCD.

This publication asks questions and provides answers to curriculum design queries such as: what makes a quality curriculum? How can what is taught be strongly aligned to the specific standards of the school? What kinds of lessons, learning experiences and assessments are most effective, and how should they be embedded within the curriculum?

Glatthorn A, Jailall J M, Jailall J K (2016) The Principal as Curriculum Leader. Shaping What Is Taught and Tested (4th ed.)

Corwin: Sage.

This is a perspective on curriculum planning from the USA, setting out how effective principals can guide curriculum development in their schools and classrooms. Principals must understand and be effective at curriculum design and planning. It provides examples of how principals can build curriculum leadership into their organisational behaviour and work with teachers to create meaningful curricula that will raise the standard of learning and teaching.

Hughes D (2007) Tweak to Transform

London: Bloomsbury.

Improving teaching is the key to genuine and sustainable school improvement. This publication focuses on what head teachers and school leaders can do to manage the change process and improve the quality of teaching in a school.

Kelly AV (2009) The Curriculum: Theory and Practice (6th ed.)

London: Sage.

Once the most influential textbook on curriculum practice, this still has relevance in its chapters on curriculum content, development change and control.

Lear J (2019) The Monkey Proof Box: Curriculum Design for Building Knowledge, Developing Creative Thinking and Promoting Independence

Independent Thinking Press.

This is a provocative, entertaining and counter-cultural read that strongly advocates creativity, critical thinking and independent learning as the cornerstones of a modern curriculum.

Pohl M (2007) Developing a Thinking Curriculum in Your School: A Handbook for Educators

Hawker Brownlow Education.

This is an overview of issues facing schools in putting Thinking Skills at the centre of curriculum practice. It will help schools to implement a whole-school approach to deliver thinking into the curriculum.

Priestley M, and Biesta G (2014) Reinventing the Curriculum. New Trends in Policy and Practice

London: Bloomsbury Academic.

This publication uses Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence as a case study to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach to curriculum design and development while exploring the implications for curriculum planning and development around the world.  

Priestley M and Minty S (2013) Curriculum for excellence: ‘A brilliant idea, but …’

Scottish Educational Review 45: 39–52.

Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence has an emphasis on generic skills and competencies aligned with teacher autonomy. This paper focuses on the extent to which this apparently new, radical and distinctive approach to curriculum resonates with the existing beliefs and practices of teacher – a major factor of whether the new curriculum will be enacted meaningfully in a manner that is in keeping with the spirit of the policy.

Stenhouse L (1975) An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development

London: Heinemann.

Although written almost fifty years ago Stenhouse’s argument that the curriculum should be an enquiry-based process is relevant today. He is a strong advocate of research-based learning. All school stakeholders including the local community should work together to plan, evaluate and develop the content, learning experiences and outcomes of schooling so that it becomes a rich education with learning for all those involved. Teachers should be research-informed but also be involved in educational research.

Young, Lambert, Roberts and Roberts (2014) Knowledge and the Future School


This publication provides a framework for developing the curriculum of individual schools for school principals, staff and those involved in Teachers’ Professional Learning. The authors distinguish three models of the curriculum in terms of their assumptions about knowledge, referred to in this book as Future 1, Future 2 and Future 3. They link Future 3 to the idea of ‘powerful knowledge’ for all pupils as a curriculum principle for any school, arguing that the question of knowledge is intimately linked to the issue of social justice and that access to ‘powerful knowledge’ is a necessary component of the education of all pupils.

Young M and Muller J (2010) Three educational scenarios for the future: Lessons from the sociology of knowledge

European Journal of Education 45, No. 1, 2010, Part I.

The most critical point about knowledge in the next 50 years will be to understand why some forms of knowledge tend towards specialisation and others towards variation or diversification. These different tendencies in the development of knowledge have critical implications for the curriculum and education in the round. The curriculum of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries developed when knowledge changed very slowly, was content-driven and, in its worst pedagogical form, memorisation and rote-learning driven. As a reaction, curriculum design then took a stand against ‘mere’ content and rote learning. A consensus emerged around the development of generic skills and outcomes based curricula, signalling the move from content-based to skills-based priorities. The authors argue for the importance of recognising the ‘differentiatedness’ of knowledge with two implications. First, curricular models that are too ideologically fixed on only content or skills give some subjects short shrift, as well as having implications for the distribution of educational opportunities and achievement. Second, recognising the differentiation of knowledge makes explicit that concepts, skills and content are all important and must be stipulated in the curriculum. Failure to do so means a slowing down of any progress that has so far been made towards equalising epistemological access. This has implications for both social justice and the viability of a knowledge-based economy in the future.