Supporting English-related teaching and learning at all levels

Taking back control: the importance of “audacious” curriculum design in secondary English, Nikki Copitch

The items given below are neither NAAE blog posts, nor are they new; however, having seen recent comments on Twitter about impossibility of finding time during the five years of secondary school English for learners to plan, draft and hone writing, it seems timely to remind ourselves of Ofsted’s English Lead, Sarah Hubbard’s blog post from last November:

“The message I would send to teachers is to be audacious. I would encourage teachers to be brave and creative, to use your subject expertise to design curriculums that will set pupils’ minds alight”.

Sarah Hubbard suggests that “English teachers can inspire pupils and at the same time ensure that they are successful in exams. You can have your cake and eat it – you just need to use the right recipes”. For those looking for a recipe- or at least a guide to where the ingredients might be found- it is worth looking at James Durran’s blog which combines creativity and inspiration with an eminently practical approach.

Helpfully, the English and Media Centre is currently developing a package which, according to their blog of the 5th February draws on “existing resources and others that are in development…this package is in line with recent noises being made by Ofsted about providing a content-rich curriculum for 11-14 year olds. But we think it goes even further than what Ofsted is calling for, prioritising, alongside superb content, pedagogical approaches that lie at the heart of English: creativity, discussion, personal response, exploratory work, and so much more”.

Every time NAAE members get together we discuss the importance of professional integrity and resisting the pull towards a curriculum which exists only to serve the narrow demands of the GCSE ‘hoop’ rather than preparing learners for the requirements and desires they will have in the rest of their lives. The ability to write in an effective manner seems to be the most basic of these- and to plan and draft is central to this.