Category Archives: English

How can we increase breadth and challenge?

Over the past few days as sorry tale has unfolded. The new GCSE English literature specifications have been announced in draft form, full of sound and fury, signifying… nothing. The current GCSE

Wanna play fantasy GCSE Literature specifications?

The exam boards have played their hands and they’re relying on jokers rather than aces. GCSE English literature is a race to the bottom: with the overwhelming concern seemingly being how to retain schools’ business

Who’s to blame for the new English literature GCSEs?

The sound and fury surrounding text choices for GCSE English literature just won’t go away. The exam boards got their digs in first with Paul Dodd of OCR claiming Gove wanted to

Whose English literature is it anyway?

Have you heard? Education Secretary, Michael Gove has personally intervened to ban the only books worth teaching in the entire canon of English literature. Twentieth century American classics like To Kill A

Does it do what it’s supposed to? Assessing the assessment

In response to a request for constructive criticism of the English assessment model I helped design, Michael Tidd got in touch to query whether it met his 7 questions you should ask about

One step beyond – assessing what we value

Hey you, don’t teach that. Teach this! Do we always teach what we value? it seems to me that when push comes to shove, we end up teaching what is assessed. The urgency

The glamour of grammar: in context or not?

It’s something of an understatement to say that glamour and grammar are not usually closely associated in many people’s minds. One of the 100 words David Crystal uses to tell The Story of English is

Is there a way to avoid teaching rubbish in English?

I’ve had an idea! For a while now I’ve been increasingly disgusted at the way English language has been dumbed down as a GCSE subject. Really, what is the point of asking

Principled curriculum design: the English curriculum

The tragedy of life is that one can only understand life backwards, but one must live it forwards Søren Kierkegaard Back in March 2013, I wrote about the principles underlying my redesign

The art of beautifully crafted sentences

I came across this post on Doug Lemov’s blog earlier today and instantly decided to rewrite my Year 8 lesson to make use of the ideas within. The idea is, like all

Teaching sequence for developing independence Stage 2: Model

Over the past few years I’ve thought a lot about how and what we should teach. My journey has been long and painful. I used to evangelically promote the teaching of transferable

How knowledge is being detached from skills in English

I don’t normally do this. In fact, I haven’t put up a post by anyone else since last August. But in this case Joe Kirby has expressed my own thoughts so articulately that there seemed