How teachers respond to a new syllabus, what they say and do within the challenging landscape of educational reform and curriculum implementation in the contemporary postmodern world attracts considerable research interest from scholars. The analysis of teachers' perceptions and actions presented here is set within the context of significant change to the secondary curriculum in New South Wales. We report a cross case study that draws on three separate investigations about how secondary school teachers of English, History and Mathematics respond to significant change in their respective syllabuses. The process of teacher change is complex and challenging. Teachers' beliefs about their subject and their pedagogy, and their access to customised professional development programs are strong influences on their responsiveness and adaptation to change. The possibilities for reform in practice are enhanced when teachers understand and value the nature of the curriculum changes, have the time and resources to adapt their classroom strategies, and they feel supported through the implementation phase.