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At a time of rapid social change and numerous policy initiatives, there is a need to question the nature and function of school curricula and the purposes of formal public education. Comparing curriculum developments around the globe, Understanding the School Curriculum draws on a range of educational, philosophical and sociological theories to examine the question 'What is a curriculum for?' In considering different answers to this fundamental question, it explores a range of topical issues and debates, including: tensions and dynamics within curriculum policy The implications of uncertainty and rapid social change for curriculum development the positive and negative influence of free market ideologies on public education the impact of globalization and digital technologies arguments for and against common core curricula and state control It examines the possibility of a school curriculum that is not shaped and monitored by dominant interests but that has as its founding principles the promotion of responsibility, responsiveness, a love of learning, and a sense of wonder and respect for the natural and social world. Understanding the School Curriculum is for all students following undergraduate and Masters courses in curriculum, public policy and education-related subjects. It is also for all training and practising teachers who wish to combine a deeper understanding of major curriculum issues with a critical understanding of the ways in which ideologies impact on formal state education, and to consider ways of producing school curricula that are appropriate to the times we live in.