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This paper reflects upon the implementation of the current NSW English primary Syllabus (Board of Studies, NSW, 1998); in particular those aspects to do with oral interaction. It demonstrates how official curriculum is read varyingly in classroom settings with the result that learners are positioned differently in respect of the communicative resources necessary for schooling success. Such readings are shaped by teachers’ beliefs about language and learning and features of the local context including its ‘distance’from the site of syllabus development. It is argued that closer attention to syllabus implementation in local settings and to relationships between local and official sites is important in understanding the distribution of curriculum knowledge.