activity examines the nature of curriculum frameworks, the choices
which are made in the process of their development and characteristics
which they share.
In doing so it is important to appreciate that curriculum has many
- The intended or specified curriculum has a focus on the aims
and content of what is to be taught – that is, the curriculum
which is planned and expressed through curriculum frameworks and
other formal documents and which may have the authority of law.
- The implemented or enacted curriculum relates to what is actually
put in place for students in schools which may represent local
interpretations of what is required in formal curriculum documents.
Here curriculum and instruction are seen as being closely interrelated.
- The experienced curriculum refers to the formal learning actually
experienced by students. This is more concerned with the learners,
what knowledge and perspectives they bring, their ability to learn
and their interaction with the curriculum.
- The hidden curriculum refers to student experiences of school
beyond the formal structure of the curriculum, and in particular
the messages communicated by the school or education system concerning
values, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes. The messages contained
in the hidden curriculum may complement the intended and implemented
curricula or they may undermine them.
- The null curriculum refers all those areas and dimensions of
human experience which the curriculum does not specify and which
are not addressed through teaching.
Normally an intended curriculum framework and related
syllabuses are designed and implemented, but then evolve and change
as they are interpreted and implemented at different levels and
in different contexts.
A curriculum framework is usually a single document
which is supplemented by other materials to guide the implementation
of specific parts of the framework. These may give more detailed
specification or guidance by individual year, subject or learning
area, addressing the requirements of the school system, individual
schools and the classroom. The documents may include syllabuses,
programmes of study, year plans and lesson plans. They may be developed
centrally, locally or by individual teachers, and may have the status
of support material or official documents which must be used. Regardless
of their contents or status, they should be consistent with statements
made in the curriculum framework.
In this Resource Pack, a curriculum framework is
understood to be both:
- a technical tool which establish parameters for the development
of other curriculum documents such as subject syllabuses, and
- an agreed social document which defines and expresses national
priorities for education and aspirations for the future of the
Curriculum frameworks are one way of expressing an
intended curriculum. In examining them, it is important to consider
- What are the common elements of a curriculum framework?
- What purpose(s) do curriculum frameworks serve?
Table 3.1 illustrates some common components of
|1. Introduction: Current Context
||Reflects the findings of the contextual scan.
It describes the social and economic environment in which teaching
and learning occur
|2. Educational Policy Statements
||Describes the Government’s goals for education, such
as universal literacy and numeracy, the development of skills
needed for economic prosperity and the creation of a stable
and tolerant society
|3. Statement of Broad Learning
Objectives and Outcomes /
standards for each level/cycle
|Describes what students should know and be able to do when
they complete their school education. Outcomes should be
expressed in a range of domains, including knowledge,
understanding, skills and competencies, values and attitudes
|4. Structure of the Education System
Describes the school system within which the curriculum
framework is to be applied. It should specify:
- Number of years of schooling, including compulsory schooling
- Stages (or cycles) of schooling and their durations
- Number of weeks in the school years, hours or teaching
periods in the school week
|5. Structure of curriculum content,
learning areas and subjects
Describes the organization of content within the framework
the extent to which schools and students can make choices.
It might describe:
- The pattern of subjects or learning areas to be studied
in each stage or cycle (such as core, elective and optional
- A brief description of each subject or learning area
outlining the rationale for its inclusion in the curriculum
and the contribution it makes to the achievement of the
learning outcomes defined in Section 3
- The number of hours to be assigned to each subject or
learning area in each stage or cycle
|6. Standards of resources required
Describes standards as they apply to:
- Teachers – qualifications, teaching load (number
of classes per week)
- Students – number per class in each subject
- Materials – textbooks, computers, other equipment;
facilities – classrooms, furniture, fittings.
|7. Teaching methodology
||Describes the range of teaching approaches that might be employed
in the implementation of the framework
|8. Assessing student achievement
||Describes the importance of assessing the extent to which
students achieve the outcomes established for each subject,
and recommends or prescribes types of assessment strategies
(such as written, oral, performance and practical skills demonstration)