AbstractThis article provides a historical overview of how the process of curriculum change has evolved over the past 40 years. The intention is to explore how patterns of power and control have changed their configuration during different historical periods. The historical investigation of curriculum change shows a progressive movement away from the definition of curriculum by the deliberation and discussion of issues and content by professional groups. The professional groups – teachers and scholars – have been replaced by a range of political and commercial interest groups. In the conclusion some of the likely consequences of these changes are explored, particularly with regard to their impact on children’s education.