Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Curriculum policy in South Australia since the 1970s: the quest for commonality


This article is drawn from a study of curriculum policy thinking and agendas in Australia over the past four decades, and sets out to describe and discuss some particular emphases and agendas in South Australia at that overarching curriculum policy level. It argues that, although significant changes are apparent over that time, in South Australia there has been also an evident continuity of perspective that persists through a number of different iterations of policy and national agenda, and that also explains something of the path curriculum policy has taken. The paper identifies three ongoing concerns: a prioritising of social justice; a focus on the individual student and his or her development; and a quest for a commonality of curriculum provision with an alternative to academic subjects as its core foundation. Over the period studied, an important aspect of the quest for commonality is a move away from a conception of the secondary curriculum as primarily being about students acquiring content knowledge to one of students being able to manage procedural knowledge and act in particular ways.