In an effort to understand interpretations of new and revised physical education syllabuses, and conditions that appear to strengthen or weaken the desire to introduce them, this paper draws on insights provided by principals and physical education teachers into the effective implementation of syllabuses within Irish post-primary schools. Situating the discussion within the area of managing curriculum change we examine how the various elements of the Irish education system are involved in providing support for such curriculum developments. Using principals' and teachers' perspectives on the implementation of the revised junior cycle physical education syllabus we suggest how the dynamics within the education system might change to provide effective dissemination and implementation of new and revised senior cycle physical education syllabuses. We refer to the principles underpinning community of practice, some of which are evident in the Irish education landscape. We acknowledge that they offer the potential for a changing culture and context in which principals and teacher might work.