Publication Date



ᅟThis Garth Boomer Memorial Lecture contextualises in the broadest sense the creation of the Australian curriculum. As such, this sociological account will argue that the national curriculum is both a response to and articulation of globalisation, set against the intricate complexities of Australian educational federalism. The analysis will demonstrate how this emergence had a long and slow gestation and was enabled by the political contingency in 2007 of all Labor governments at the federal, state and territory levels. The Australian curriculum now has an institutional home in the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and appears to have bipartisan political support, apart from ideological debates about what should be included. The lecture considers the Australian curriculum as working together what knowledge students need to know (disciplines) and what sort of people they ought to become (cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities). The argument will situate the national curriculum against the broader national schooling policy assemblage (NAPLAN, My School, Melbourne Declaration, teacher and school leader standards) and interrogate it in terms of the limitations imposed by this contingent framing. These limiting factors include lack of an intellectual rationale, the distance of ACARA from schools, classrooms and teachers, and the restrictive legislative and compositional character of the Australian Institute for Teachers and School Leaders (AITSL), which frames standards for teachers, who are central to the productive enactment of the Australian curriculum. The overall argument is set against Garth Boomer’s innovative curriculum theorising


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.