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Time for curriculum reform: the case of mathematics

Noyes, Andrew; Wake, Geoffrey; Drake, Pat

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Professor of Education

Pat Drake


Mathematics education is rarely out of the policy spotlight in England. Over the last ten years, considerable attention has been given to improving 14-19 mathematics curriculum pathways. In this paper we consider some of the challenges of enacting curriculum change by drawing upon evidence from our evaluation of the Mathematics Pathways Project. From 2004-10 this project, which was directed by England’s Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, aimed to improve the engagement, attainment and participation rates of 14-19 year old learners of mathematics. Our particular focus is upon the temporal problems of piloting new curriculum and assessment and we draw on Lemke’s discussion of time-scales, heterochrony and the adiabatic principle to consider the interlocking and interference of various change processes.


Noyes, A., Wake, G., & Drake, P. Time for curriculum reform: the case of mathematics. Curriculum Journal, 24(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Deposit Date Dec 7, 2014
Journal Curriculum Journal
Print ISSN 0958-5176
Electronic ISSN 0958-5176
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 4
Keywords curriculum, mathematics, timescales, GCSE, reform
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Curriculum Journal on 23/07/2013, available online:


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