Published: March 2020

This paper focuses on the implications of the transformative student‐centred curriculum being developed in Wales for tackling educational inequalities. Informed by long‐standing debates within the sociology of education about the role of school knowledge in social and cultural reproduction, our research outlines some of the challenges that those implementing the new Curriculum for Wales need to address if it is to offer ‘successful futures’ for all. Drawing on interview and survey data from those schools tasked with developing the new curriculum, and the evaluation of a very similar curriculum reform for early years and primary education in Wales, we outline the demands the new curriculum will place on material and human resources and the risks of increasing flexibility. We argue that there will need to be significant investment and some form of external accountability to ensure that disadvantaged students receive a curriculum experience that opens up avenues to ‘powerful knowledge’.

Keywords
curriculum development; subject knowledge; disadvantaged students; Wales; Basil Bernstein