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The 'space of change' given to teachers in the current reform of education in Portugal, i.e. the degree of control which is given by the Ministry of Education to teachers in implementing syllabuses in the classroom, is analysed here using Bernstein's theory of pedagogic discourse. The findings show a change at the level of the teacher-Ministry of Education relationship in the present reform, which translates into an increasing control by the Ministry in respect of syllabus implementation together with a form of communication based on relationships of a more interpersonal nature.