A number of milestone events in the development of the English curriculum are considered. These are not all the formative events which have shaped what and how the curriculum is currently configured in schools, academies and beyond but they have had an impact. The argument is advanced that a number of the stakeholders that contributed to its formation did so from a position which was unexpected, and which did not always display an appropriate rationality. The centrepiece of the article is the shaping of post war education in England by the research and assertions of psychologist, Sir Cyril Burt. Burt’s underlying ontology is explored and the arguable fraud of his work is examined in the light of his impact on the structuring of English education. Raikes, Callaghan, Major, Gove and Smellie are also given consideration leading to the conclusion that curriculum formation can be improbable in terms of its narrative.