This article examines the important but under-researched role of the curriculum manager within further education. It reviews managers’ perceptions of the role through the lens of the professional–managerial paradigm, with a particular emphasis on the conflict in values experienced by managers trying to implement processes driven by the financial imperative whilst ensuring that their focus remains student-centred. The sample selected mirrored the current curriculum management profile within further education and included seven managers (four female, three male) covering a geographical spread from the North Midlands to North London. The day-to-day reality of the role was reflected in a perceived lack of power and autonomy dominated by a sense of frustration that the initial perception of the job was not matched by the veracity of the position. Participants spoke about having to deal with a large number of obstacles that hindered their ability to make a difference; notably, organisational systems and processes, staffing problems and a perceived intransigence and lack of support from senior management resulting in the adoption of a variety of personas in order to cope with the demands of the role.
- Post-compulsory education
- Curriculum managers
- Professional–managerial paradigm