The core content framework and the ‘new science’ of educational research

Jim Hordern, Clare Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


This paper unpacks the assumptions underpinning England’s new Core Content Framework (CCF) in respect of the educational research required for teacher expertise, with particular attention to the sources referenced in the final part of the CCF and claims that these constitute the ‘best available educational research’. Drawing on sociological studies of educational knowledge, and assessments of the quality of educational research in England, in addition to the philosophy of expertise as related to teaching, it is argued that the CCF is currently orientated towards a scientism that (i) marginalises longstanding traditions of educational thought, and (ii) technicises and instrumentalises teaching practice. The predominance of a scientistic model of educational knowledge is demonstrated through a profile of the sources identified in the CCF, with a focus on the journals in which referenced material is published and an overview of subject matter via an analysis of keywords and titles. With an overwhelming preference for this ‘New Science’ as opposed to other traditions of educational knowledge, the CCF encourages an image of teaching as a decontextualised series of interventions with narrow objectives, and thus implicitly marginalises wider educational goods and purposes and deprofessionalises teachers work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-818
Number of pages19
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number6
Early online date27 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023


  • Teacher education reform
  • educational knowledge
  • initial teacher education
  • teacher professionalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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