This paper argues that the work of teachers in England's primary schools has been reconstructed. It is proposed that the literacy curriculum has been a major factor in this reconstruction. The paper suggests that the purposes of literacy today have been determined by policy makers, and that the nature of policy texts has changed, hardened, into specific requirements. It argues that the role of the policy driver has been fundamental in this era, influential in the contexts of policy making, policy text production and teacher training. The paper develops by proposing that there is an emerging model of professionalism today largely determined by two key figures: the Policy Driver, and the Practice Driver, or Headteacher. These two figures are at the meeting place of policy and practice and assume the mantle of ‘reality definers’ for the process of literacy education in English primary schools.