Policy chosen – ‘The National Curriculum’.
Produce an essay regarding a specific
policy (The National Curriculum) and its
implementation, which should be 2,500 words in length and represents 60% of the overall module
mark. You must address the following essay title:
Choose one policy that has been implemented in a particular sector of education and identify its
origins and its challenges to implementation.
You will be assessed against the following learning outcomes (2,3 &4):
identify and critically discuss key features of educational reforms in UK with reference to key
policy documents as well as political and ideological positions;
provide a critical assessment of the nature of organisational change and its implications for
practitioners and managers in the implementation of policy;
critically evaluate recent policy changes in terms of their value and impact for the individual,
the economy and society.
This assignment focuses on assessing your understanding of the policy process, including
policymaking, implementation and implications for diverse stakeholders within a particular
organisational context (educational settings are more relevant for this assignment, but you can
choose a different setting depending on which sector you are more familiar with).
You might want to include in this essay issues such as:
the political climate;
change or implementation strategies;
theories of policy implementation;
the roles of those involved in the implementation of the policy
Choosing a policy: The first task is to identify a particular policy that has been implemented within
the education sector or within a different setting that is more familiar to you. The “policy” will be in
the form of a formal public document, such as a government White Paper, legislation, guidance, or
any other approved form of policy communication. Examples of previous policies chosen by students
have been: the National Curriculum, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, Every Child
Matters (ECM), Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) code of practice (2014),
Policy Outline: After selecting a particular policy, provide a brief outline of its key features, including
the name of the policy, what area of the education setting is involved (such as early years, primary,
secondary, further education, higher education), and what the policy is focusing on achieving. This
should be as brief and introductory as possible since all these will be discussed in more detail later in
the main body of the paper.
Origins of the policy: In this part of the assignment, you are required to explore the origins of the
policy that you selected. This focuses on when and how the policy was initially made and how it has
developed over the relevant period of time. Identify and examine the key social, economic, and
political issues or debates that contributed to the formation of this policy.
Why was this policy developed?: This is concerned with the nature and key features of the chosen
policy. Identify the problem or issues that the policy was aimed at addressing. Are there any specific
social, economic, or educational issues or problems that were on the agenda and which then shaped
the making of this policy? What was the extent of the problem? Who was affected or involved and
how? What are the goals or aims of the chosen policy? All these elements can be identified by
reading the actual policy document as well as other academic literature relevant to the period of
time when the policy was made.
Political ideology/climate: The prevailing political climate is particularly important to examine in
relation to its implications for the formation of the selected policy. The political climate can be best
discussed by exploring the political ideology and priorities of the political party that was in power at
the time the policy was developed. You might draw on your learning about the key political
ideological standpoints in the UK, such as the left-wing, right-wing, and the “Third Way” and how
these ideologies might have influenced the nature of the chosen policy. The key point to illustrate is
that political ideology is an important factor in the policymaking process.
Theories of policymaking: While discussing the origins and how the policy was created, you might
want/choose to briefly mention one or more of the theories of policy development that you have
learnt about. These theories of policymaking are basically conceptual frameworks for trying to
explain and understand how policy is made how several factors and stakeholders can be involved in
the policymaking process. If you refer to a particular theory (such as systems theory or advocacy
coalition theory) you’ll be trying to use this theory to discuss and explain how the chosen policy was
made (This is just a way of looking at the policy, it does not suggest that the policymakers actually
Policy implementation strategies and challenges: In this part, your focus is on examining how the
chosen policy was implemented and the changes that it aimed to create. Review and evaluate
whether or not the policy has been successful in achieving its intended purposes and aims. What
changes did it bring? To what extent have these aims been achieved? In broad terms, you can draw
on the theories of policy implementation to discuss how the policy was implemented – that is, what
implementation strategies or models did the government use? Was it top-down model, or bottom-
up model, or a combination of both? What were/are some of the challenges and obstacles that
were/are encountered in implementing this policy?
Policy stakeholders: Identify and outline the various stakeholders involved with the chosen policy.
What were their roles and how are/were they impacted by the policy? Each policy must be targeted
at certain groups of stakeholders. Your task is the briefly explore some the key stakeholders
associated with your chose policy.
Conclusion: Pull together some of the key messages or points arising from your analysis of the
selected policy. What points do we need to take from it or what suggestions might you offer?
As with all your previous academic essays, you must support your points with reference to a range
of relevant sources (a mixture of books, journal articles, news articles (reputable sources, not
tabloids) and videos (from reliable sources).
Policy chosen – ‘The National Curriculum’.