Holding policy-makers to account: exploring 'soft' and 'hard' policy and the implications for curriculum reform

Kennedy, Kerry J.; Jacqueline Kin-sang Chan; Ping Kwan Fok
March 2011
London Review of Education;Mar2011, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p41
Academic Journal
Curriculum implementation as both an educational practice and a policy conundrum has been the focus of academic research since the 1970s. A new perspective is taken in this article by borrowing from the literature on policy implementation in multilevel systems of government. The concepts of 'hard' and 'soft' policy are used to show that policy-makers choose from a range of strategies and it is these choices rather than teacher attitudes that may account for the level of implementation of a policy. A case study of curriculum implementation in Hong Kong is used to show how 'hard' and 'soft' policy can be identified in practice.


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