Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Curriculum Studies 46:5 (2014), pp 656–675.

doi 10.1080/00220272.2014.911352


Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


In this article, we examine one school’s experience with policy, as a means of shedding light on the intersection of factors contributing to challenges of implementing policies to support the academic achievement and social adaptation of immigrant and minority students in their school context. We begin with the presentation of a ‘big fight’ between two students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds, and consider multiple perspectives of how the disagreement was addressed by teachers and administrators, to offer insight into how issues of race and policy might have been understood by members of the school community. We use a narrative inquiry approach to examine ways in which a policy designed to enhance student participation was interpreted by various members of this school community. This study reveals nuances of the intersection between culture and (hidden) curriculum as it relates to the implementation of policies aimed at creating and maintaining safe school communities.