Cox (1989)

(page numbers in brackets*)

Notes on the text

The complete report is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various chapters.

Preliminary pages (1-8)
Foreword, proposals, contents

Chapter 15 (9-19)
Speaking and listening
Chapter 16 (20-32)
Reading
Chapter 17 (33-51)
Writing
Chapter 1 (52-56)
Introduction
Chapter 2 (57-60)
English in the National Curriculum
Chapter 3 (61-62)
English in primary and secondary schools
Chapter 4 (63-72)
Teaching Standard English
Chapter 5 (73-82)
Linguistic terminology
Chapter 6 (83-93)
Knowledge about language
Chapter 7 (94-98)
Literature
Chapter 8 (99-101)
Drama
Chapter 9 (102-103)
Media education and information technology
Chapter 10 (104-106)
Bilingual children
Chapter 11 (107-109)
Equal opportunities
Chapter 12 (110-112)
Special educational needs
Chapter 13 (113-115)
English language and literature in the schools of Wales
Chapter 14 (116-123)
Assessment

Appendices (124-139)

1 Working Group Membership
2 Terms of reference
3 Supplementary guidance
4 Announcement on assessment
5 Sources of evidence
6 Approaches to the "class novel"

*In the printed version the pages were not numbered.


The Cox Report (1989)
English for ages 5 to 16

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1989
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


[title page]



E N G L I S H

for ages 5 to 16



Proposals of the Secretary of State for Education and
Science and the Secretary of State for Wales





June 1989

Department of Education and Science
and the Welsh Office


[page 2]

Foreword

The Education Reform Act 1988 provides for the establishment of a National Curriculum comprising core and other foundation subjects, to be taught to all pupils of compulsory school age in maintained schools, for each of which there are to be appropriate attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements. The Act defines attainment targets as:

"the knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of d(fferent abilities and maturities are expected to have by the end of each key stage"

and programmes of study as:

"the matters, skills and processes which are required to be taught to pupils of different abilities and maturities during each key stage".

The four consecutive key stages cover the years of compulsory schooling from 5 to 16.

The Act empowers the Secretaries of State to specify attainment targets and programmes of study. Before they may draft Orders, they are required to make formal proposals in accordance with the provisions of the Education Reform Act. In England, the Secretary of State for Education and Science is required to make proposals to the National Curriculum Council (NCC) which in turn is required to consult, and then to make a report to the Secretary of State, containing a summary of views expressed on his proposals and the NCC's advice and recommendations. In Wales, the Secretary of State for Wales is required to give notice of his proposals to the Curriculum Council for Wales (CCW), and to any other persons with whom consultation appears to him to be desirable. In the light of the NCC's advice and the outcome of the parallel consultations in Wales, the Secretaries of State may proceed to draft Orders, allowing a minimum period of one month for further evidence and representations before the Orders are made.

This document contains the joint comments of the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales on the report of the English Working Group which they set up to make recommendations on attainment targets and programmes of study. The Secretaries of State's comments and the Report together represent the formal proposals for statutory attainment targets and programmes of study for English in key stages 2 to 4. An Order was made on 31 May 1989 giving effect to the statutory requirements for key stage 1: which are not the subject of the present consultations.

In England, views on the Secretaries of State's proposals should be sent to the National Curriculum Council (NCC) at 15/17 New Street, York Y01 2RA by 29 September 1989.

In Wales, views should be sent to Schools Branch 4, Welsh Office Education Department, Welsh Office, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF1 3NQ by the same date.

Extracts from this Report may be reproduced provided the source is acknowledged.


[page 3]

English 5 to 16

Proposals of the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales

The origins and scope of our proposals

1 In April 1988 the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales appointed a Working Group to advise them on appropriate attainment targets and programmes of study for English. The Group was asked to report in two phases. Its first report, on English 5 to 11, was published in November 1988. Following consultations, the Secretaries of State made an Order on 31 May 1989 covering the targets and programmes in English for key stage 1 only. The Group's final report, submitted in May, builds on that and covers key stages 2 to 4, including a revision of its earlier recommendations for key stage 2 in the light of consultations on the key stage 1 Order and of the NCC's advice.

2 The completion of the Group's work represents a considerable achievement, and it is on the basis of the Group's advice on attainment targets and programmes of study that we now make jointly our formal proposals for key stages 2 to 4 in accordance with the provisions laid down in the Education Reform Act. The full text of the Working Group's Report is attached. References in this document are to chapter and paragraph numbers in the Report.

3 Our proposals are confined to attainment targets and programmes of study. They do not relate to assessment arrangements, although these are covered in the Working Group's Report. We are grateful to the English Working Group for the thought it has given to assessment issues. We are asking SEAC to take these into account in advising us in due course on the Orders specifying assessment arrangements covering English. But our present proposals relate only to Orders under section 4(2) (a) and (b) of the Act for attainment targets and programmes of study.

4 The report makes a number of comments on other matters, for example in relation to the resource and teacher training implications for English in the National Curriculum, and the need for non-statutory guidance for teachers based on its observations. We are grateful for the Group's advice on these points, which will be duly considered, together with any comments on them.

Objectives of the consultation exercise

5 The objective of the processes for statutory consultation in England and Wales is to produce clear recommendations in a form which can be put into a draft Order under section 4(2) (a) and (b) of the Act covering key stages 2 to 4. Our proposals for attainment targets and programmes of study are those recommended by the Working Group. We are satisfied that the Group's recommendations represent a sound basis for legislation and we propose no changes.


THE PROPOSALS

Attainment targets

6 The Report outlines five attainment targets in English for pupils in key stage 2, and four in key stages 3 and 4. These are grouped for assessment and reporting purposes into three profile components - for speaking and listening (attainment target 1), reading (attainment target 2) and writing (attainment targets 3, 4 and 5). For each attainment target there are statements of attainment which define up to ten levels of attainment specifying what pupils should know, understand and be able to do, appropriate for pupils of different ages and abilities. The Report also recommends the ranges of levels of attainment which should apply to pupils at the end of each of key stages 2, 3 and 4 - ie at the ages of 11, 14 and 16. These are:

Key stage 2 - Levels 2 to 5
Key stage 3 - Levels 3 to 8
Key stage 4 - Levels 3 to 10

7 We propose that the attainment targets, the associated statements of attainment at each level and the ranges of levels appropriate to each of key stages 2 to 4 should be included in the Order to be made under section 4(2) (a) of the Act.


[page 4]

Programmes of study

8 The purpose of programmes of study is to establish the matters, skills and processes which pupils should be taught in order to achieve the attainment targets. The programmes of study in chapters 15 to 17 of the Report offer a sound and comprehensive coverage of the essential content which pupils will need to tackle. We therefore propose that the Group's recommended programmes of study should form the basis for the Order to be made under section 4(2) (b).

Application of the Order - special educational needs

9 In chapter 12 the Group makes recommendations concerning the disapplication of some parts of some attainment targets and programmes of study for certain groups of pupils with special educational needs. We propose that these recommendations should form the basis of modifications made to attainment targets and programmes of study in the Order under section 4 of the Act and that, subject to those modifications, the attainment targets and programmes of study should apply to all pupils.

Application of the Order - Wales

10 In chapter 13 the Group suggests that, for pupils taught mainly through the medium of Welsh, the programmes of study but not the attainment targets for English in key stage 2 will need modification, to accommodate the matters, skills and processes which have been included in the English programmes of study for key stage 1 but have been disapplied in respect of such pupils in key stage 1. The Secretary of State for Wales proposes that these recommendations should form the basis of modifications made to the programmes of study for key stage 2 in the Order under Section 4 of the Act.

Commencement dates

11 We propose to introduce the attainment targets and programmes of study for all pupils in England and Wales in the first year of each of key stages 2 and 3 in autumn 1990, and of key stage 4 in autumn 1992.


[page 5]

Appendix

Summary of attainment targets

Profile Component 1 - Speaking and listening

Attainment target 1

The development of pupils' understanding of the spoken word and the capacity to express themselves effectively, in a variety of speaking and listening activities, matching style and response to audience and purpose.

Profile Component 2 - Reading

Attainment target 2

The development of the ability to read, understand and respond to all types of writing, as well as the development of information-retrieval strategies for the purposes of study.

Profile Component 3 - Writing

Attainment target 3

A growing ability to construct and convey meaning in written language matching style to audience and purpose.

Attainment target 4

Spelling (up to level 4)

Attainment target 5

Handwriting (up to level 4)

Attainment target 4/5

Presentation (level 5 and above)


[page 6]

22nd May 1989

Our ref: EWG/CBC/sla

The Rt. Hon. Kenneth Baker, M.P.,
Secretary of State for
Education & Science
The Rt. Hon. Peter Walker, M.P.,
Secretary of State for Wales

Dear Secretaries of State,

I have pleasure in attaching the second report of the National Curriculum English Working Group. Our first report, submitted to you on 30th September 1988, dealt with the primary stages; in this report we have extended our work to cover the secondary stages. We have repeated material from our first report. The profile components, attainment targets and programmes of study printed here cover the age range 5-16, with the proposals for key stage one revised in accordance with those approved by Order and incorporated in statutory documents which are to be published on 31st May. The chapters in our first report which explained our assumptions about a national curriculum in English are also included, with revisions to cover the secondary stages. This rationale will help the National Curriculum Council and the Curriculum Council for Wales in formulating non-statutory guidance.

Our report includes proposals about many difficult and complex issues, some of them breaking new ground, and we are anxious that those conducting consultations do so on the widest possible basis. We also emphasize that our recommendations have to be proved in the classroom, and may in due course need to be revised following careful evaluation of the results. We have not had time to compile a collection of examples which would illustrate the achievements expected for the levels of attainment, and we recommend that the School Examinations and Assessment Council, the National Curriculum Council and the Curriculum Council for Wales be jointly commissioned to undertake this task.

The English Working Group, the assessors and the secretariat have spent many hours in discussions of controversial issues and in careful preparation of drafts. I should like to acknowledge here how grateful I am for their dedication and hard work.

Yours sincerely

Professor C. B. Cox


[page 7]

Contents

For ease of reference, chapters 15 to 17 have been placed at the front of the report, adjacent to the proposals, and are printed on tinted paper.


Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 English in the National Curriculum

Chapter 3 English in primary and secondary schools

Chapter 4 Teaching Standard English

Chapter 5 Linguistic terminology

Chapter 6 Knowledge about language

Chapter 7 Literature

Chapter 8 Drama

Chapter 9 Media education and information technology

Chapter 10 Bilingual children

Chapter 11 Equal opportunities

Chapter 12 Special educational needs

Chapter 13 English language and literature in the schools of Wales

Chapter 14 Assessment

Chapter 15 Speaking and listening

Chapter 16 Reading

Chapter 17 Writing


[page 8]

Appendix 1 Membership

Appendix 2 Terms of reference

Appendix 3 Supplementary guidance

Appendix 4 Secretary of State's announcement on assessment

Appendix 5 Sources of evidence

Appendix 6 Approaches to the "class novel"





[page 9]

15 Speaking and listening

"Where children are given responsibility they are placed in situations where it becomes important for them to communicate - to discuss, to negotiate, to converse - with their fellows, with the staff, with other adults. And of necessity they are likely to develop oral skills. This basically is how oracy grows: it is to be taught by the creation of many and varied circumstances to which both speech and listening are the natural responses." (1)

"We learnt that it is hard to build models to scale from a drawing as they are not very accurate in size. We learnt that working together was a lot easier than going solo; but arguing brought out the better ideas." (2)

Introduction

15.1 Our inclusion of speaking and listening as a separate profile component in our recommendations is a reflection of our conviction that they are of central importance to children's development.

15.2 The value of talk in all subjects as a means of promoting pupils' understanding, and of evaluating their progress, is now widely accepted. For instance, the Cockcroft Report (1982) on the teaching of mathematics drew attention to the importance of learning through talk. This emphasis has been endorsed by the mathematics and science teachers' associations, and by the National Association for the Teaching of English as well as by cross-subject movements such as the Association for Primary Education.

15.3 In Better Schools (1985) the Government drew attention to the need to reconsider traditional teaching techniques in order to promote and encourage the development of oral skills: "In the majority of primary and middle schools there is an over-concentration on practising skills in literacy and numeracy ... much work is too closely directed by the teacher and there is little chance for oral discussion."

15.4 In addition to its function as a crucial teaching and learning method, talk is also now widely recognised as promoting and embodying a range of skills and competence - both transactional and social - that are central to children's overall language development. In 1982 and 1983, the APU carried out surveys of standards in oracy among pupils of 11 and 15. The theoretical framework underlying the APU's oracy tests is echoed in the GCSE national criteria for assessing oral communication. For the first time in this country, for many pupils, the assessment of oracy has been made compulsory: by GCSE.

15.5 We set out, in chapter 2 of this Report, the broad purposes - individual and social, educational and cultural, in school and in adult life - that underlie the curriculum and attainment targets that we recommend. Recent surveys have drawn attention to the importance of talking and listening both in obtaining employment and in performing well in it.

15.6 The surveys (3) report the significant finding that in interviews employers attached importance to candidates' answers to open questions which invited them to express and develop ideas in a sustained way, and to their ability to engage in discussion and to exchange views. Conversely, they attached little value to questions to which there were simply short right or wrong answers. Employers also identified the ability to relate to the interviewer as a key factor. Howe (4), reflecting on the result of his survey in Marks & Spencer, drew attention to the importance of employees' being able to cope - in both work and other activities - with a variety of complex situations through talk. He emphasised the consequent need for schools to ensure that adequate opportunities were provided for improving accomplishments in speaking and listening.

15.7 Employment apart, there are very many other areas of adult life in which teenagers will need increasingly sophisticated competence in speaking and listening. Through such media as TV, radio and the cinema, for instance, they will see and hear an abundance of information which they will need to evaluate and use judiciously for their own purposes. As consumers, they will need to know how to conduct oral transactions effectively - how to seek information, how to negotiate, how to complain. As potential jurors

(1) Spoken English, Educational Review, Occasional Publications No. 2, Andrew Wilkinson, University of Birmingham 1985.

(2) Project report by children aged 10 to 11.

(3) Lip Service, P Jones, OUP 1986; Oracy in the Work Place, A Howe, Wiltshire Oracy Project 1983; Language in Operation in Industry, P D'Arcy, Wiltshire County Council 1983.

(4) Oracy in the Work Place.


[page 10]

or witnesses, voters or representatives of political or interest groups, they will need to know how to judge or present a spoken case, how to recognise emotive language and arguments that are specious or selective, and how to marshall facts with clarity and precision. As members of smaller groups within a larger community - a trade union or residents' association, for instance - they will need to be able to function collectively through discussion, for example to represent or protect their interests. English departments in secondary schools should take some of the responsibility for preparing pupils for such purposes of spoken language in public life by providing firm foundations on which they will be able to build as adults with increasing maturity and experience. Moreover, as patrons or practitioners of the arts and as future adult learners in all spheres of life, pupils should be given every opportunity to become familiar with - and derive pleasure and understanding from - the widest possible range of oral presentations: from plays, films and broadcasting to debates and public lectures.

Assumptions underlying the attainment target and programmes of study

15.8 The assumptions set out in the following paragraphs are central to the recommendations on attainment levels and programmes of study in paragraphs 15.24 to 15.41.

Social and transactional language

15.9 The development of children's spoken language in the English curriculum is concerned with the relations between language, speaker and listener. Some talk (eg casual conversation) is predominantly listener-related: it is social or interpersonal in its functions, rather than aiming to convey particular information in a precise way. No particular outcome may be expected from such talk at all: it does not have a definable purpose, beyond maintaining social relations. Clarity and efficiency are, for example, not criteria by which we judge social talk, and the world would be a very unpleasant place if they were.

15.10 But in some other types of spoken language, it is predominantly the content which matters: it is information-related or transactional in its functions, and characteristically has a definable purpose. Communication will have failed if the listener does not discover which platform the train leaves from or how to load the program into the computer.

15.11 These two orientations are not entirely separate: most speech involves some information and it is couched differently according to the audience. But in most circumstances, the focus will tend to be either more on the maintenance of social relations, or more on the conveying of information clearly, concisely and unambiguously.

15.12 Under normal circumstances, children's social talk will develop naturally, without teacher intervention. But not all children will automatically acquire all the forms of transactional spoken language which are necessary and highly valued in education and in society. Most children will need the skilled and active support of their teachers, in all subjects, in building their confidence and developing the transactional skills and language which are necessary both across the curriculum and in adult life. An adequate transactional competence should be a real achievement of lasting value.

Talking and listening skills

15.13 The effectiveness of talking and listening is determined not only by the ability to use speech appropriately, but also by the ability to listen actively. The former includes being able to adjust ways of speaking - such as tone and vocabulary according to audience, context and purpose; the latter involves skills of concentration and assimilation. The use and interpretation of silence can also be important.

15.14 The structure and patterns of spoken language are distinct from those of writing: it is rare, for example, for a speaker continuously to use complete sentences as we understand them in writing - particularly in a situation where interruption is both accepted and expected. Similarly, oral language differs significantly from written language in its complex interactive nature: non-verbal communication, such as body language, is also a part of the process.


[page 11]

Dialect

15.15 Teachers should never treat non-standard dialect as sub-standard language but should recognise the intimate links between dialect and identity land the damage to self-esteem and motivation which can be caused by indiscriminate "correction" of dialect forms. All children should be supported in valuing their own dialects and in using them where they are appropriate to context and purpose, but they should also be able to use Standard English when it is necessary and helpful to do so in speaking as well as writing. We do not, however, see it as the school's place to enforce the accent known as Received Pronunciation.

Development of oral skills

15.16 Development of oral skills will involve increased sensitivity to the nuances of language and presentation, and to the implications of context. We would expect pupils to demonstrate their growing competence as both speakers and listeners by:

  • developing increasing clarity and precision in describing experience and expressing opinions, and sensitivity in articulating personal feelings;
  • formulating - and making appropriate responses to - increasingly complex instructions and questions;
  • developing an increasing capacity to organise or sequence information and response;
  • demonstrating an increasing ability to evaluate and to reflect;
  • increasingly adjusting language and delivery to suit audience and purpose, and being able - as an audience for others - to understand, respond to and reflect on correspondingly wider modes of address;
  • showing an increasing ability to function collaboratively - eg involving others in a discussion; listening to and giving weight to the opinions of others; perceiving the relevance of contributions; timing contributions; adjusting and adapting to feedback;
  • showing an increasing ability to be explicit about how written and spoken language can support each other.
The attainment target

15.17 The range of communication purposes for the spoken word is extensive. It may be used, for example, to persuade; to explain; to instruct; to entertain; to narrate; to speculate; to argue a case; to report; to describe; to find out; to clarify or explore an issue; to solve a problem; to interpret; to summarise; to evaluate; to reflect; to announce; to criticise and to respond to criticism. Our proposed attainment target is therefore deliberately broad and the associated programmes of study should enable children to develop confidence and competence as speakers and listeners in a wide variety of situations.

15.18 We propose the following single attainment target for the speaking and listening profile component:

The development of pupils' understanding of the spoken word and the capacity to express themselves effectively in a variety of speaking and listening activities, matching style and response to audience and purpose.

Strands within levels of attainment

15.19 In defining the statements of attainment we have, wherever possible, grouped speaking and listening skills into broad strands:

  • the skills enabling pupils to put forward (and interpret) clear and properly supported statements of personal feeling, opinion or viewpoint;
  • the skills enabling pupils to give accurately - and to assimilate and act appropriately on - information, explanations and instructions;
  • the skills enabling pupils to communicate imaginatively and effectively as performers or readers;
  • the skills enabling pupils to function collaboratively and to participate positively and with understanding in general discussion;
  • the skills enabling pupils to develop and express an awareness of varieties of spoken language and of the relationship between spoken and written language.
15.20 The separation of skills into these groupings is simply an organisational device. We would stress that the broad lines of development which we


[page 12]

propose in our descriptions of the 10 levels under this attainment target will require flexible interpretation since we recognise that language development is not linear but recursive, with pupils returning repeatedly to the same aspects of competence and reinforcing their skills on each occasion. In addition, what is difficult will vary for different individuals and according to circumstances: some topics will themselves vary in difficulty; some people will perceive the difficulty of the same task very differently; and circumstances may make an otherwise easy task seem very hard.

15.21 Beyond level 6 there are no statements of attainment which relate to dramatic performance; we believe it is at level 7 and beyond that the claims of drama as a separate subject become specific. We also believe that it would be inappropriate for performance in drama at those levels to detract from a higher level of performance for spoken English as a whole.

Programmes of study

15.22 The range of activities recommended for programmes of study is drawn up in general terms and, for the most part, gathered in clusters to enable schools to match their particular planned activities to our specifications. In suggesting programmes according to level we have taken account of a range of dimensions of difficulty. Topics will vary in difficulty in a variety of ways according especially to their familiarity, their controversial or uncontroversial character, in degrees of abstraction and complexity and much else. Similarly, the challenges of talking and listening may increase as one's audience ranges outwards from intimates to strangers and upwards in group size. What we may expect, know or not know about our audience can present other dimensions of difficulty and challenge. This is a condensed account of the factors which complicate the business of speaking and listening - readers will easily add for themselves their own accounts of the personal and emotional features which make for vulnerability or call for sensitivity.

15.23 In drawing up the list of activities below we have aimed to recommend programmes of study that reinforce the links between English and drama, and between English and media education, which we seek to emphasise throughout this Report as well as in chapters 8 and 9.

  • We see role-play as a valuable means of broadening pupils' mental and emotional horizons and of developing social and personal confidence: it provides an ideal medium for much of the exploratory and/or performance-based elements of programmes of study.

  • Media work has a particular significance, leading naturally to discussion of how spoken language and visual accompaniment are interpreted; this leads to an understanding of the processes of selection, omission and editing which take place when any programme is prepared. For example, in advertising can pupils distinguish the aesthetic from the transactional? In news broadcasts, panel discussions or documentaries can they distinguish how fair or balanced are the points of view presented?






[page 13]

ATTAINMENT TARGET 1: SPEAKING AND LISTENING (5)

15.24 The development of pupils' understanding of the spoken word and the capacity to express themselves effectively in a variety of speaking and listening activities, matching style and response to audience and purpose.

From level 7, pupils should be using Standard English, wherever appropriate, to meet the statements of attainment.

Pupils should be able to:

LEVELDESCRIPTION
1
i Participate as speakers and listeners in group activities, including imaginative play.
ii Listen attentively, and respond, to stories and poems.
iii Respond appropriately to simple instructions given by a teacher.
2
i Participate as speakers and listeners in a group engaged in a given task.
ii Describe an event, real or imagined, to the teacher or another pupil.
iii Listen attentively to stories and poems, and talk about them.
iv Talk with the teacher, listen and ask and answer questions.
v Respond appropriately to a range of more complex instructions given by a teacher, and give simple instructions.
3
i Relate real or imaginary events in a connected narrative which conveys meaning to a group of pupils, the teacher or another known adult.
ii Convey accurately a simple message.
iii Listen with an increased span of concentration to other children and adults, asking and responding to questions and commenting on what has been said.
iv Give, and receive and follow accurately, precise instructions when pursuing a task individually or as a member of a group.
4
i Give a detailed oral account of an event, or something that has been learned in the classroom, or explain with reasons why a particular course of action has been taken.
ii Ask and respond to questions with increased confidence in a range of situations.
iii Take part as a speaker and listener in a group discussion of straightforward issues or in a group activity, commenting on what is being discussed.
iv Participate in a presentation, eg of the outcome of a group activity, a poem, a story or a scene.

(5) The statements of attainment at levels 1 to 3 are as specified by Order and published in the statutory Document entitled English in the National Curriculum on 31 May 1989.


[page 14]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
5
i Give a well organised and sustained account of an event, a personal experience or an activity.
ii Contribute to and respond constructively in discussion or debate, advocating and justifying a particular point of view.
iii Use transactional language effectively in a straightforward situation, eg an eye-witness account of an event or incident; reclaiming an article which has been lost.
iv Plan and participate in a presentation, eg of the outcome of a group activity, a poem, story, dramatic scene or play.
v Talk about variations in vocabulary between different regional or social groups, eg dialect vocabulary, specialist terms.
6
i Contribute considered opinions or clear statements of personal feelings to group discussions and show an understanding of the contributions of others.
ii Understand and use transactional language effectively in a variety of relatively straightforward situations where the subject is familiar both to the pupil and to the audience or other participants.
iii Participate in simple presentations or performances with some fluency.
iv Talk about some grammatical differences between spoken Standard English and a non-standard variety.
7
i Express a point of view cogently and with clarity to a range of audiences and interpret with accuracy a range of statements by others.
ii Understand and use transactional language effectively on occasions where the situation or topic requires more than one outcome and is less readily familiar to the pupils and/or their audience.
iii Take an active part in group discussions, contributing constructively to the development of the argument in hand.
iv Talk about appropriateness in the use of spoken language, according to purpose, topic and audience, eg differences between language appropriate to a job interview and to a discussion with their peers.
8
i Express a point of view on a complex subject cogently and with clarity, and interpret alternative viewpoints with accuracy and discrimination.
ii Understand and use transactional language effectively in a variety of complex situations which involve a range of audiences.
iii Take part in group discussions, actively and critically, showing an ability to summarise and evaluate arguments effectively.
iv Talk about the contribution that facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice can make to a speaker's meaning, eg in ironic and sarcastic uses of language.


[page 15]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
9
i Give a presentation involving a personal point of view on a complex subject cogently and with clarity, integrating talk with writing as appropriate, eg using hand-outs or visual aids, and respond appropriately to the presentations of others.
ii Take an active part in group discussions, displaying sensitivity,listening critically, eg to attempts to persuade, and being self-critical.
iii Talk about ways in which language varies between different types of spoken communication, eg joke, anecdote, conversation, commentary, lecture.
10
i Express a point of view on complex subjects cogently and with clarity, applying and interpreting a range of presentational strategies and assessing their own effectiveness accurately.
ii Take a leading role in group discussion, eg by taking the chair, listening with concentration and understanding, noting down salient points, summarising arguments and, where appropriate, formulating a consensus.
iii Talk about some of the factors that influence people's attitudes to the way other people speak.


PROGRAMMES OF STUDY FOR SPEAKING AND LISTENING

General provisions for all four key stages

15.25 Through the programmes of study pupils should encounter a range of situations and activities which are designed to develop their competence, precision and confidence in speaking and listening, irrespective of their initial competence or home language.

15.26 These planned situations and activities should cover:

  • working with other pupils and adults - involving discussion with others; listening to, and giving weight to, the opinions of others; perceiving the relevance of contributions; timing contributions; adjusting and adapting to views expressed;
  • development of listening (and, as appropriate, reactive) skills in non-reciprocal situations;
  • development of speaking and listening skills, both when role-playing and otherwise - when describing experiences, expressing opinions, articulating personal feelings and formulating and making appropriate responses to increasingly complex instructions and questions;

    development, by informal means and in the course of purposeful activities, of pupils' powers of concentration, grasp of turn-taking, ability to gain and hold the attention of their listeners, and ability to voice disagreement courteously with an opposing point of view.

15.27 All activities should:

  • help to develop in pupils' speaking and listening their grasp of sequence, cause and effect, reasoning, sense of consistency, clarity of argument, appreciation of relevance and irrelevance, and powers of prediction and recall;
  • by informal and indirect means, develop pupils' ability to adjust the language they use and its delivery to suit particular audiences, purposes and contexts and, when listening to others, to respond to different ways of talking in different contexts and for different purposes. Pupils should therefore be encouraged to reflect on and evaluate their use of spoken language and to reformulate it to help the listener;
  • draw on examples from across the curriculum, and in particular those existing requirements for mathematics and science which refer to use of spoken language and

[page 16]

    vocabulary, asking questions, working in groups, explaining and presenting ideas, giving and understanding instructions;
  • include provision for pupils to talk and listen in groups of different sizes and to a range of audiences;
  • emphasise the importance of clear diction and audibility.
Detailed provisions for key stage 1 (6)

15.28 The range of activities designed to develop pupils' ability to speak and listen should include:

  • listening and responding to stories, rhymes, poems and songs - familiar and unfamiliar. These should include examples from different cultures and authors and from pupils' own work;
  • securing responses to visual and aural stimuli, eg pictures, television, radio, computer, telephone, making use of audio and video recordings as appropriate;
  • discussion of their work with other pupils and the teacher;
  • collaborative planning of activities in a way which requires pupils to speak and listen;
  • talking about experiences in or out of school, eg a school trip, a family outing, a television programme seen;
  • telling stories, and reciting poems which have been learnt by heart;
  • collaborative and exploratory play;
  • imaginative play and improvised drama;
  • giving and receiving simple explanations, information and instructions; asking and answering questions.

General provisions for key stages 2 to 4

15.29 Pupils should be given the opportunity to develop the ability to:

  • express and justify individual feelings, opinions and viewpoints with increasing sophistication;
  • discuss an increasingly complex range of issues;
  • assess and interpret the arguments and opinions of others with increasing precision and discrimination;
  • present their ideas, experiences and understanding in a widening range of contexts which require an increasing awareness of audience and purpose;
  • give increasingly precise instructions;
  • ask increasingly precise or detailed questions;
  • respond to increasingly complex instructions and questions;
  • present factual information in a clear and logically structured manner in an increasingly wide range of situations - discriminate between fact and opinion, and between relevance and irrelevance;
  • listen and respond to the presentation or performance of an increasing range of fiction, poetry and plays;
  • recite and read aloud in a variety of contexts, with increasing fluency and awareness of audience;
  • work with or devise an increasing range of drama scripts, taking on an increasing variety of dramatic roles;
  • use, and understand the use of, role-play in an increasingly broad range of teaching and learning situations;
  • interact positively with other group members in an increasingly wide range of situations, eg collaborating on an assignment where a specific outcome is required;
  • discuss a variety of issues in small and large groups, listening to - and taking account of - the views of others, and negotiating a consensus as appropriate;
  • report and summarise effectively in a range of contexts;
  • reflect on their own competence in the use of the spoken word;
  • in the course of group activity, engage constructively in prediction, speculation and hypothesis.

15.30 Teaching about language through speaking and listening, which should start for pupils working towards level 5, should focus on:

  • regional and social variations in English accents and dialects; and attitudes to such variations;
  • the range of purposes which spoken language serves;

(6) The programme of study for key stage 1, including references to levels 1 to 3, appears as specified by Order and published on 31 May 1989 in the statutory Document entitled English in the National Curriculum.


[page 17]

  • the forms and functions of spoken Standard English.
15.31 Pupils should have increasing opportunities to develop proficiency in spoken Standard English, in contexts where it is evidently appropriate.

Detailed provisions for key stage 2 (ages 7 to 11)

15.32 For pupils working towards levels 2 and 3, teachers should refer to relevant material in the programme of study for key stage 1.

15.33 Pupils working towards level 4 should, where possible, be given the opportunity to work in single sex and mixed groups of various size, with and without direct teacher supervision. They should be encouraged to express their opinions and argue a point of view, to be receptive to the contributions of others and be helped to make their own contributions confidently and effectively. The range of activities should be widely varied, including the preparation of presentations, eg to the class, the school assembly or to parents, planning and problem-solving activities across the curriculum, undertaking assignments where specific outcomes are required, talking about stories and poems and taking part in shared writing activities. In addition, pupils at this level should be encouraged to contribute individually in class discussions and, where practicable, with wider audiences, eg in representing the views of a group, or taking small parts in group or class presentations.

15.34 (i) Pupils working towards level 5 should be encouraged to make more extended contributions to group or class discussions and to informal or formal presentations, eg dramatic improvisation, role-play activities or scripted scenes. They should be encouraged to make their questions more probing, and their contributions to discussion more closely reasoned.

(ii) Teaching about language should encourage discussion of vocabulary that is specific to local communities - words for local places, buildings, institutions etc, and local usages such as bairn (cf child), baps (cf rolls), outwith (cf outside); or to particular age groups, eg frock (cf dress), wireless (cf radio); or to certain occupations eg the specialist terms and acronyms used by groups such as doctors, lawyers, builders, computer experts and mechanics.

Detailed provisions for key stages 3 and 4 (ages 11/12 to 16)

15.35 For pupils working towards level 3, teachers should refer to relevant material in the programme of study for key stage 1.

15.36 For pupils working towards levels 4 and 5, see level related material in detailed provisions for key stage 2.

15.37 (i) Pupils working towards level 6 should be encouraged to work in a wider range of situations in which their individual contributions are given greater emphasis. These might include the giving of instructions to others in a group, problem-solving activities related to the school or local community, role-play and simulation work and, where feasible, the undertaking of small representative roles on behalf of a group, a class, or the school, eg with visitors to the school. Teachers should be starting to guide pupils towards the use of spoken Standard English in public or formal situations. Presentations at this level might include memorised scripts for minor parts in school productions - though this will not be feasible for all pupils.

(ii) Teaching about language should draw attention to people's sensitivity to quite small features of pronunciation that differentiate the speech of one area from others; and to any grammatical differences between the speech of the area and spoken Standard English, eg in verb forms, pronoun use, prepositions.

15.38 (i) Pupils working towards level 7 should continue to participate extensively in widely varied group work in a range of groupings where they should now be encouraged to take on an increasingly responsible and, as appropriate, individual or independent role, eg by taking notes of the discussion and checking them with the group, representing group views in plenary sessions. The discussions themselves should vary widely in topic, but should be so planned as to involve the display of evidence, and the development and probing of both argument and evidence. Literary texts (including drama scripts), the use of language, responses to the media, pupils' own written work and the use of information technology might furnish many of the materials and topics for discussion for which planned outcomes, eg in written work or presentations


[page 18]

might emerge. Where possible, some work at this level should also be directed beyond the confines of the school and individual pupils should be encouraged to undertake real transactions on behalf of others, eg by making use of the telephone, or in representative roles.

(ii) Pupils should consider the notion of appropriateness to situation, topic, purpose and language mode and the fact that inappropriate language use can be a source of humour (either intentional or unintentional) or may give the impression that the speaker or writer is pompous or inept or impertinent or rude. Pupils should learn that Standard English is the language of wide social communication and is particularly likely to be required in public, formal settings. Teaching should cover discussion about the situations in which and purposes for which people might choose to use non-standard varieties rather than Standard English, eg in speech with friends, in a local team or group, in television advertising, folk songs, poetry, dialogue in novels or plays.

(iii) It is important that pupils working towards level 7 and beyond have increasing opportunities to use spoken Standard English, and in particular that those who do not speak it as a native dialect should be helped to extend their language competence so that they can use Standard English with confidence.

15.39 Pupils working towards levels 8 to 10 should be involved in much the same programmes of work as those for level 7, but will need increased opportunities, where feasible, for undertaking individual, responsible and formal roles. At level 8, this might include some debating activities within a formal structure, opportunities to give talks on a topic of individual interest or expertise, leading a group activity towards a planned outcome or presentation (which might include a wider audience than the class). At levels 9 and 10, the activities themselves will not differ significantly in kind, but pupils will require teaching which helps them to act with increasing confidence and fluency, to take a leading role in discussions, to be supportive of the contributions of others, to prepare presentations effectively (including the use of audiovisual aids and handouts), to be rigorous in argument and the use of evidence, and to take effective account of audience and context.

15.40 For pupils working towards level 9, teaching should demonstrate how speech ranges from intimate or casual spontaneous conversation, eg jokes, anecdotes, banter, gossip, argument, through discussion, commentary and debate to more formal forms - lectures, sermons, and formulaic utterances such as toasts, oaths, and banns.

15.41 Pupils working towards level 10 should learn that attitudes to Standard English and to non-standard varieties, eg as expressed in letters to newspapers, can be based on stereotypes and prescriptive judgement. Teaching should show how language can be a bond between members of a group, a symbol of national pride, a barrier and a source of misunderstandings, and can be used to alienate, insult, wound, or offend, to be polite or rude. Pupils should be encouraged to respect their own language(s) or dialect(s) and those of others.

ASSESSMENT

15.42 The list of activities suggested in the programmes of study, combined with the variety of suggested groupings, is wide in its implications. Assessment in individual areas through SATs will necessarily be a sampling process. The SATs should nevertheless include as much speaking and listening, in as wide a range of representative activities, as is practicable. But the bulk of assessment in speaking and listening should be conducted locally, recorded by teachers in a common format devised by SEAC in consultation with NCC and CCW.

15.43 We list below five important criteria, in addition to those specified in paragraph 15.16 which have informed our recommendations and which we would expect those constructing internal and external assessment arrangements to take into full account. These criteria are:

  • the assessment of speaking and listening should, where possible, be informal, continuous and incidental, applied to tasks carried out for curricular purposes;
  • the tape recording of individual children's oral performance for assessment purposes might not be part of normal classroom activity and thus not in line with TGAT recommendations. Given the technical and administrative problems that such a method would present in many classrooms and the artificiality which would be introduced, we recommend that tape recording (audio or video) should not be used to moderate the assessment of oral performance for SATs (though it may, of course, be used by teachers or pupils, as part of their planned activities). We are aware of the implications of this recommendation

[page 19]

    regarding the moderation of assessment, but urge that alternative means of establishing common standards in oracy should be explored (in line with current developments in GCSE oral assessment);
  • although there are some widespread non-reciprocal speaking and listening situations (such as radio, television, public address systems and lectures), the processes of listening and speaking are primarily reciprocal and integrated. The ability of a listener to respond appropriately to instructions is heavily dependent on the ability of the instructor to speak plainly. Tests of listening which by their nature place all responsibility for comprehension upon the listener should therefore be avoided;
  • oral assessment methods should both reflect and promote the variety of classroom activities recommended in this Report;
  • particular attention should be paid, by task-setters, teachers and moderators alike, to the danger that oral assessment might be influenced by cultural or social bias. There are differences in the verbal and non-verbal behaviour of members of different social groups, whether defined by ethnicity, gender or social class; and consequently assessors' own expectations may vary.

End note

15.44 We wish to stress that what we have suggested in this chapter treads some new ground. It will undoubtedly need further refinement and modification in the light of consultations and of experience. We recommend that teachers should be given training in the assessment of speaking and listening and in moderation methods. We also recommend that there should be a central bank of specially compiled examples for training in the moderation process.





[page 20]

16 Reading

" ... learning to read is a satisfying activity. What encourages children to read and thus to learn to read is not some 'intrinsic reward' like praise or high marks or a special treat, but being able to read, Watch children engrossed in a book from which they are learning about reading, and there will be no need to ask where the fundamental satisfaction lies". (1)

Introduction

16.1 Our proposals for attainments in reading cover three related forms of development:

  • the development of the ability to read, understand and respond to all types of writing;
  • the development of reading and information retrieval strategies for the purpose of study;
  • the development of knowledge about language.
16.2 Reading is much more than the decoding of black marks upon a page: it is a quest for meaning and one which requires the reader to be an active participant. It is a prerequisite of successful teaching of reading, especially in the early stages, that whenever techniques are taught, or books are chosen for children's use, meaning should always be in the foreground.

16.3 Reading takes pupils beyond first-hand experience: it enables them to project themselves into unfamiliar environments, times and cultures, to gain sympathetic understanding of other ways of life and to experience joy and sadness vicariously. Much of this imaginative experience stems from literature whose quality influences the depth and range of the pupil's imaginative experience. In addition, literature provides examples of different kinds of language use and may be used as a stimulus for a variety of learning activities (see chapter 7).

16.4 Pupils can be helped to develop emotionally, aesthetically and intellectually by means of the pleasurable activity of reading. The pleasure principle should motivate the programmes of study, and always be given high priority. There is a danger, particularly in the final years of compulsory schooling, that little time is given to promoting reading for fun. Too much concentration on set texts for assessment purposes can turn pupils against reading.

16.5 The requirement to make time for independent reading, not least as a source of pleasure, remains crucial, whatever the total curriculum demands. It should be seen as a definite part of a school's total reading programme in English: it is not an interruption of it. Indeed, if necessary, it can be integrated into other classroom activities. Independent reading need not be solitary, but it can include reading silently a book selected by personal preference. Such reading in the classroom may still be the only occasion when some pupils experience this activity: in which case, they may well value it very highly indeed.

16.6 There should be opportunities for individual and group reading activities, which might lead to "performance readings" of texts of different genres, especially drama and poetry. Teachers should continue the practice of reading aloud in class; there is plenty of evidence that this simple activity can interest and enthuse. It is a valuable means of conveying the pleasure of reading, and as valid at secondary as at primary level. The widespread enjoyment derived from hearing stories well read is clearly apparent in the continuing popularity of programmes devoted to this on radio and television.

16.7 Reading is also one of the means by which we interact with the society in which we live. The transactional uses of print can differ sharply in style and form from the various genres of imaginative writing and may, indeed, vary extensively themselves according to type and purpose. These variations can include the use of signs and diagrams to replace, or partly replace, written text. Pupils need to be able to respond to such forms, and schools have an obligation to help them to read everything from labels and slogans to the subject textbooks of the secondary school curriculum.

Reading in the primary school

16.8 We hope parents will share books with their children from their earliest days, read aloud to them, and talk about the stories they have enjoyed together. Many parents will also have shown by their own reading of newspapers, periodicals, lists, calendars, instructions and leaflets and by their sending and receiving of letters and cards that reading plays an important role in their daily lives. Many pre-school children will have played spontaneous games in which the

(1) Reading, Frank Smith, Cambridge University Press 1978.


[page 21]

pretended reading (and writing) of stories, lists, letters and so on shows their own recognition of the pleasurable and purposeful nature of reading. Reading is best taught in the classroom when teachers build on this basis.

16.9 A prime objective of the teaching of reading must be the development of the pupil's independence as a reader. But "there is no one method, medium, approach, device, or philosophy that holds the key to the process of learning to read ... Simple endorsements of one or another nostrum are of no service to the teaching of reading". (2) In their quest for meaning, children need to be helped to become confident and resourceful in the use of a variety of reading cues. They need to be able to recognise on sight a large proportion of the words they encounter and to be able to predict meaning on the basis of phonic, idiomatic and grammatical regularities and of what makes sense in context; children should be encouraged to make informed guesses. Teachers should recognise that reading is a complex but unitary process and not a set of discrete skills which can be taught separately in turn and, ultimately, bolted together.

16.10 The environment provided by the school should promote the reading development of all pupils. Examples of purposeful and pleasurable uses of print should be displayed in classrooms, foyers and school libraries. Well chosen picture books, poetry collections, folk tales, stories, novels, reference books and non-fiction should be available for use in all primary classrooms. Well presented notices, labels and children's own work should also be displayed to stress the communicative character of the written word.

16.11 As independence is strengthened, pupils should be encouraged to read more difficult texts and to look not only at what is said, but at how meaning is expressed and how effects are achieved in writing. Progress will be shown by increased reading fluency; an increase in the range of types of text which the pupil can tackle without frustration; an increase in the range of approaches which readers can apply to particular texts according to their own purposes and those of the texts - skimming, scanning, close reading and so on. On these points, teachers need clear and agreed guidelines. They also need well-informed assessment procedures for recording pupils' progress; the support of well chosen and well supplied book stocks in classrooms, in school libraries and from local authority school library services.

Reading in the secondary school

16.12 In the secondary school, pupils should continue to read, understand and respond perceptively to an increasingly wide range of texts. Pupils learn to read, in the deepest sense of that word, by reading widely and often. It remains very important at secondary level that reading should also be encouraged outside the classroom, at home, in libraries at school or in the locality. This will help pupils to develop a personal love of reading which will continue after compulsory schooling. We have already stressed the importance of silent reading in the classroom. In addition, reading programmes should certainly include shared experiences, whether in small groups, or within a whole class. The shared fun, or criticism, of a text can bring its own satisfaction.

16.13 At secondary school, pupils should be increasingly encouraged to think critically about the texts they encounter, as a means of enlarging their understanding of the worlds of others, and in this way to examine and develop their own responses. They should also analyse, through a variety of approaches, the form and style of a writer as the method of conveying meaning. Learning to read involves recognising that writing is made: poets were originally called "makers", craftsmen and women. Pupils should be encouraged to question the intentions behind a text, the reasons for choice of vocabulary, image or genre, and to become increasingly aware of the richness and complexity of literature. They should be aware of the importance of refining and substantiating their opinions by the use of precise textual reference.

16.14 In chapter 7 we say that literature plays an important role in improving abilities in speaking and listening, and in writing, as well as in reading. We particularly urge that children should be encouraged to write fiction, poetry, plays, diaries, book reviews and so on, in response to the literature they have enjoyed and shared and discussed with their teacher and classmates. This applies just as much at secondary as at primary level.

16.15 Poetry needs to be a central part of the reading programmes throughout the secondary sector, and this assumption needs reinforcing especially at 14 to 16. Evidence suggests that some teachers are least happy about teaching poetry to this age group, in comparison with the other main literary genres. Clearly, pupils will sense a

(2) Bullock Report, paragraph 6.1.


[page 22]

teacher's unease in presenting poetry to them, and are then likely to respond negatively. It is crucial that teachers' attitudes to poetry communicate enthusiasm for it. In our chapter on literature and appendix 6 we describe ways of bringing literature to life for pupils of all abilities. We hope that these methods will help teachers themselves to enjoy poetry and to share their pleasure with their pupils: "Poetry needs to be at the heart of work in English because of the quality of language at work on experience that it offers to us. If language becomes separated from moral and emotional life - becomes merely a trail of cliches which neither communicate with nor quicken the mind of the reader - then we run the risk of depriving children of the kind of vital resource of language which poetry provides". (3)

The attainment target

16.16 In our first Report we proposed two attainment targets for reading for ages 5 to 11. We agree with the National Curriculum Council's conclusion, in the light of consultation, that they should be combined and had in fact already decided on one target for the secondary stages. We propose the following single attainment target for the reading profile component:

The development of the ability to read, understand and respond to all types of writing, as well as the development of information-retrieval strategies for the purposes of study.

Strands within levels of attainment

16.17 At level 3 there are statements of attainment that refer to the ability to read silently with sustained concentration, and to listen attentively to stories read aloud. These strands do not continue through the levels because it is not possible to specify further measurable stages of development in these abilities, and it would be cumbersome to repeat them unchanged throughout the remaining seven levels. Nevertheless, it is clearly important that pupils should have opportunities both to read silently and to listen to well-written books read aloud throughout their school years.

16.18 Strand (i) at levels 3 and 4 refers to the ability to read aloud fluently and expressively. Again, this strand is not continued into the higher levels because further development of this ability would move into areas such as acting and public speaking, which are not appropriately assessed within a reading component.

16.19 From level 5, the statements of attainment are presented in five strands: the range of literature read, responses to literature, understanding and interpreting non-literary and media texts, study skills and information-retrieval strategies, and knowledge about language.

16.20 From level 5, strand (i) in the statements of attainment describes in broad terms the kinds of literature that pupils will read at successive levels, taking into account the various dimensions of text difficulty described in paragraph 7.17. By level 8, the reading material is as demanding as it can be. Therefore, levels 8, 9 and 10 are identical since there can be no differentiation in the material itself. The same argument applies to strand (iv) (from level 5 onwards), which deals with study skills and information-retrieval strategies, which is repeated from levels 8 to 10.


(3) Teaching Poetry in the Secondary School: An HMI view.


[page 23]

ATTAINMENT TARGET 2: READING (4)

16.21 The development of the ability to read, understand and respond to all types of writing, as well as the development of information-retrieval strategies for the purposes of study.

Pupils should be able to:

LEVELDESCRIPTION
1
i Recognise that print is used to carry meaning, in books and in other forms in the everyday world.
ii Begin to recognise individual words or letters in familiar contexts.
iii Show signs of a developing interest in reading.
iv Talk in simple terms about the content of stories, or information in non-fiction books.
2
i Read accurately and understand straightforward signs, labels and notices.
ii Demonstrate knowledge of the alphabet in using word books and simple dictionaries.
iii Use picture and context cues, words recognised on sight and phonic cues in reading.
iv Describe what has happened in a story and predict what may happen next.
v Listen and respond to stories, poems and other material read aloud, expressing opinions informed by what has been read.
vi Read a range of material with some independence, fluency, accuracy and understanding.
3
i Read aloud from familiar stories and poems fluently and with appropriate expression.
ii Read silently and with sustained concentration.
iii Listen attentively to stories, talk about setting, story-line and characters and recall significant details.
iv Demonstrate, in talking about stories and poems, that they are beginning to use inference, deduction and previous reading experience to find and appreciate meanings beyond the literal.
v Bring to their writing and discussion about stories some understanding of the way stories are structured.
vi Devise a clear set of questions that will enable them to select and use appropriate information sources and reference books from the class and school library.

(4) The statements of attainment for levels 1 to 3 are identical to those specified by Order which appear in the statutory Document entitled English in the National Curriculum, published on 31 May 1989.


[page 24]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
4i Read aloud expressively, and with fluency, from a range of familiar literature.
ii Read a range of fiction and poetry and talk about reasons for their preferences.
iii Demonstrate, in talking about stories and poems, that they are developing their abilities to use inference, deduction and previous reading experience, eg by recognising that authors provide clues about the outcome of their stories.
iv Locate books or magazines in the class or school library by using the classification system or catalogue, and use simple information-retrieval strategies when pursuing a line of enquiry, eg use "search" reading, contents lists, indexes, to find a particular fact or piece of information.
5
i Read a range of fiction and poetry, explaining their preferences in talk and writing.
ii Demonstrate, in talking about fiction and poetry, that they are developing their own views and can support them by reference to some details in the text, eg when talking about characters and actions in fiction.
iii Recognise, in discussion, whether subject matter in non-literary and media texts is presented as fact or as opinion.
iv Select reference books and other information materials, eg in classroom collections or the school library or held on a computer, and use organisational devices, eg chapter titles, subheadings, typeface, symbol keys, to find answers to their own questions.
v Recognise and talk about the use of word play, eg puns, unconventional spellings etc, and some of the effects of the writer's choice of words in imaginative uses of English.
6
i Read a range of fiction and poetry, including works not written specifically for children, explaining their preferences in talk and writing.
ii Demonstrate in talking and writing about literature that they are developing their own views and can support them when appropriate by reference to the text, eg in making judgements of characters and their actions, or when building upon those characters and events in their own writing.
iii Recognise, in discussion, whether subject matter in non-literary and media texts is presented as fact or as opinion, identifying some of the ways in which the distinction can be made - eg in newspapers, advertisements, magazines and in news or documentary broadcasts, where the distinction is clear.
iv Make a selection from a range of reference materials, using their information retrieval skills to identify key points.
v Talk about examples (from their own experience or from their reading) of changes in word use and meaning over time, and about some of the reasons for these changes, eg technological developments, euphemism, contact with other languages, fashion.


[page 25]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
7i Read a range of poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction, eg letters, diaries, autobiographies, and drama, including some works written before the 20th century and works from different cultures.
ii Talk and write about their responses to literature, taking account of matters such as the development of the plot, interactions between characters, central themes, and the use of language.
iii Recognise, in discussion, some features of presentation which are used to achieve identifiable purposes, such as to inform, to regulate, to reassure or to persuade, in non-literary and media texts - eg enhancement or suppression of colour, page layout, illustration, style and size of print, verbal emphasis through repetition, exclamation, vocabulary.
iv Make an independent selection from a comprehensive range of reference materials, eg encyclopaedia, adult dictionary or data bank, retrieve information from them using techniques such as skim-reading; and synthesise information from different parts of a text or different texts.
v Talk about some of the effects of sound patterning, eg rhyme, alliteration, and figures of speech, eg similes, metaphors, personification, in imaginative uses of English.
8
i Read a range of poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction and drama, including works written before the 20th century and works from different cultures. The range should include some works that make demands on the reader in terms of content or length or organisation or language.
ii Talk and write about their responses to literature, taking account of matters such as dramatic, poetic or fictional structure, complexities of plot, development of character and theme, and the use of poetic or stylistic devices. Make comparisons, where appropriate, between different works, in terms for example of theme or characterisation or style.
iii Write about some features of presentation which are used to achieve identifiable purposes, such as to inform, to regulate, to reassure or to persuade, in non-literary and media texts, showing some ability to form a considered opinion - eg when comparing two reports of the same event.
iv Make an independent and discriminating selection from a range of reference materials; retrieve information from them using techniques such as skim-reading; evaluate and synthesise information from different parts of a text or different texts.
v Identify in their reading, and talk and write about some of the changes in the grammar of English over time, eg in pronouns (from thou and thee to you), in verb forms, in negatives, etc.


[page 26]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
9i Read a range of poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction and drama, including works written before the 20th century and works from different cultures. The range should include some works that make demands on the reader in terms of content or length or organisation or language.

ii Make more knowledgeable spoken and written responses to literature, taking a more perceptive account of matters such as dramatic, poetic or fictional structure, complexities of plot, development of character and theme, and the use of poetic or stylistic devices. Make comparisons, where appropriate, between different works, eg in terms of theme or characterisation or style.

iii Recognise and write about some of the techniques and conventions of presentation in non-literary and media texts, and the effectiveness of their use in specific instances - eg structure of news stories, or the way television programmes and newspapers match style and content to targeted audiences.

iv Make an independent and discriminating selection from a range of reference materials; retrieve information from them using techniques such as skim-reading; evaluate and synthesise information from different parts of a text or different texts.

v Demonstrate some understanding of the use of special lexical and grammatical effects in literary language, eg the repetition of words or structures, dialect forms, archaisms, grammatical deviance etc.

10
i Read a range of poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction and drama, including works written before the 20th century and works from different cultures. The range should include some works that make demands on the reader in terms of content or length or organisation or language.

ii Make well-informed spoken and written responses to literature, taking sophisticated account of matters such as dramatic, poetic or fictional structure, complexities of plot, development of character and theme, and the use of poetic or stylistic devices. Make comparisons, where appropriate, between different works, eg in terms of theme or characterisation or style.

iii Show that they are beginning to adopt a critical stance towards some of the techniques and conventions of presentation used in non-literary and media texts.

iv Make an independent and discriminating selection from a range of reference materials; retrieve information from them using techniques such as skim-reading; evaluate and synthesise information from different parts of a text or different texts.

v Demonstrate some understanding of attitudes in society towards language change and of ideas about appropriateness and correctness in language use.


[page 27]

PROGRAMMES OF STUDY FOR READING

Programme of study for key stage 1 (ages 5 to 7) (5)

16.22 General introduction

  • Reading activities should build on the oral language and experiences which pupils bring from home. Teaching should cover a range of rich and stimulating texts, both fiction and non-fiction, and should ensure that pupils regularly hear stories, told or read aloud, and hear and share poetry read by the teacher, and each other.
  • Reading should include picture books, nursery rhymes, poems, folk tales, myths, legends and other literature which takes account of pupils' linguistic competences and backgrounds. Both boys and girls should experience a wide range of children's literature. Non-fiction texts should include those closely related to the world of the child and extend to those which enable children to deepen an understanding of themselves and the world in which they live, eg books about weather, wildlife, other countries,food, transport, the stars. Pupils should encounter an environment in which they are surrounded by books and other reading material presented in an attractive and inviting way. The reading material should include material which relates to the real world, such as labels, captions, notices, children's newspapers, books of instructions, plans and maps, diagrams, computer print-out and visual display.
  • Pupils' own writing - either independently written, or stories dictated to the teacher or composed in collaboration with other pupils - should form part of the resources for reading.
  • Teachers should take account of the important link between home and school, actively encouraging parents to participate and share in their child's reading and supporting pupils where this is not possible.
Detailed provisions

16.23 (i) Activities should ensure that pupils:

  • hear books, stories and poems read aloud or on radio, tape or television and take part in shared reading experiences with other pupils and the teacher, using texts composed and dictated by the pupils themselves, as well as rhymes, poems, songs and familiar stories (including traditional stories from a variety of cultures);
  • read in the context of role-play and dramatic play, eg in the home play corner, class shop, or other dramatic play setting such as a cafe, hospital or post office. Such reading might include a menu, a sign on a door, a label on a packet, or a sign above a counter. For pupils working towards level 1, the settings should include individual letters, eg "P" for Parking, and individual words, eg "Exit", which pupils can be encouraged to recognise;
  • re-tell, re-read or dramatise familiar stories and poems;
  • make their own books about particular experiences, areas of interest or personal stories, eg guide books, instructions, favourite poems or stories;
  • talk to the teacher and each other about the books and stories they have been reading or listening to;
  • widen their range of reading, turning readily to books, choosing those which they would like to hear or read and saying why;
  • ask and answer questions about what has been heard or read - how characters feel, their motives, the endings of stories;
  • talk about the ways in which language is written down, in shared reading or writing sessions or in discussion with the teacher, identify words, phrases, patterns of letters and other features of written language which they recognise, and notice how words are constructed and spelled;
  • refer to information books, dictionaries, word books or simple data on computers as a matter of course. Pupils should be encouraged to formulate first the questions they need to answer by using such sources, so that they use them effectively and do not simply copy verbatim;
  • talk about the content of information texts.
(ii) Through the programme of study pupils should be guided so as to:
  • appreciate the significance of print and the fact that pictures and other visual media can also convey meaning, eg road signs, logos;
  • build up, in the context of their reading, a vocabulary of words recognised on sight;
(5) The programme of study for key stage 1, including references to levels 1 to 3, appears as specified by Order and published on 31 May 1989 in the statutory Document entitled English in the National Curriculum.


[page 28]

  • use the available cues, such as pictures, context, phonic cues, word shapes and meaning of a passage to decipher new words;
  • be ready to make informed guesses, and to correct themselves in the light of additional information, eg by reading ahead or looking back in the text;
  • develop the capacity to convey, when reading aloud, the meaning of the text clearly to the listener through intonation and phrasing;
  • develop the habit of silent reading.

Programme of study for key stage 2 (ages 7 to 11)

General provisions

16.24 Pupils should read an increasingly wide range and variety of texts in order to become more experienced readers. Teachers should encourage them to develop their personal tastes in reading and to become more independent and reflective.

16.25 The reading materials provided should include a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as periodicals suitable for children of this age. School and class libraries must provide as wide a range as possible. The material available must pose a significant challenge to pupils; for example, poetry should not be confined to verse written for children; folk tales and fables might include translations from original sources. Pupils should discuss with others and with the teacher what has been read.

16.26 Pupils should:

  • hear stories, poems and good non-fiction read aloud;
  • have opportunities to participate in all activities related to reading, eg preparing and reading a selection of poems, or reciting some from memory, or taking part in storytelling sessions or dramatic activities;
  • select books for their own reading and for use in their work in school;
  • keep records of their own reading and comment, in writing or in discussion, on the books which they have read;
  • read aloud to the class or teacher and talk about the books they have been reading;
  • be encouraged to think about the accuracy of their own reading and to check for errors that destroy meaning;
  • be shown how to read different kinds of materials in different ways, eg "search" reading to locate a particular fact;
  • learn how to locate information in books and, where available, databases, sometimes drawing on more than one source, and how to pursue an independent line of enquiry.
Detailed provisions

16.27 For pupils working towards levels 2 and 3, teachers should refer to relevant material in the programme of study for key stage 1.

16.28 Pupils working towards level 4 should be taught how to select the information material relevant to a particular line of enquiry and how to use lists of contents, indexes and a library classification system and catalogue.

16.29 (i) Pupils working towards level 5 should be encouraged to respond to the plot, character or ideas in stories and poems, and to refer to appropriate passages or episodes to support their opinions. They should be taught to look in a text for clues about characters or actions, and to use these clues to reach conclusions, evaluate, and predict what may happen. They should learn to distance themselves from a text, eg no longer misattributing sex or age to a character because of self-identification.

(ii) They should be shown how to distinguish between fact and opinion in a variety of texts, including newspapers, magazines and advertisements.

(iii) Pupils should be shown how to make use of organisational devices, eg chapter titles and headings, subheadings, changes in print or typeface, and keys of symbols or abbreviations.

(iv) Teachers should discuss texts which make imaginative use of English - literature, advertising, songs etc - in order to bring out the ways in which different choices of words affect the impression given by the text - eg the use of exotic words in passages about foreign countries or people. Pupils should consider the way word meanings can be played with, eg in riddles, puns, jokes, spoonerisms, word games, graffiti, advertisements, poems; the use of nonsense words and deliberate misspellings, eg in poems and advertisements.


[page 29]

Programmes of study for key stages 3 and 4 (ages 11/12 to 14 and 14 to 16 respectively)

General provisions

16.30 Teachers should encourage pupils to read a variety of genres: eg autobiographies, letters, diaries or travel books, as well as short stories, novels, poetry and plays, and introduce them to literature written in English from different countries.

16.31 Pupils need to be aware of the richness of contemporary writing, but they should also be introduced to pre-20th century literature. Teachers should introduce pupils to some of the works which have been most influential in shaping and refining the English language and its literature - for example, the Authorised Version of the Bible, Wordsworth's poems, or Dickens's novels. In particular, they should give pupils the opportunity to gain some experience of the works of Shakespeare. Using sensitivity and tact, teachers should help pupils to tackle texts of increasing difficulty.

16.32 Teachers should encourage pupils to read independently in their own time, and to discuss with others their own favourite reading.

16.33 Pupils should be taught how to handle, and be given experience in using, information and media texts of a variety of kinds. Teachers should use texts of increasing difficulty to develop pupils' powers of discrimination and perseverance so that they become confident and efficient in their use and interpretation of such material.

16.34 The texts used should include some of the following: guide books, consumer reports, text books, sets of instructions and manuals, stage directions, brochures, forms, contracts, information leaflets from a variety of sources, the highway code, publicity materials, newspapers and magazines, dictionaries, thesauruses, atlases, and encyclopaedias. Pupils should be taught how and when to adapt the speed and closeness of their reading for specific purposes, eg finding a fact, getting the gist of a passage or making a summary.

16.35 Pupils should also be introduced to a range of media texts, and be encouraged to consider their purpose, effect and intended audience.

16.36 Teaching of knowledge about language through reading should focus on:

  • some of the main characteristics of literary language and how it conveys meanings;
  • some of the ways in which English is constantly changing between generations and over the centuries; and people's attitudes to such change.
Detailed provisions

16.37 For pupils working towards level 3, teachers should refer to relevant material in the programme of study for key stage 1.

16.38 For pupils working towards levels 4 and 5, see level specific material in detailed provisions for key stage 2.

16.39 (i) Pupils working towards level 6 should be reading some texts not written specifically for children or young people, eg short stories with a contemporary setting. They should be taught to use the evidence in a text to interpret and form judgements about characters' motivations, and be able to quote that evidence in support of their views. They should be taught to recognise that the attitudes and behaviour of a character or narrator are not necessarily to be identified with the attitudes or beliefs of the author. They should continue to read aloud, highlighting meaning in a sensitive way.

(ii) Pupils should be taught how to respond to the way information is structured and presented so that they are able to identify key points. The texts used should include reference books, brochures and consumer reports. Pupils should be taught how to select these texts for themselves and how to use them effectively.

(iii) Discussion should bring out examples of words and expressions which tend to undergo very rapid change in use or meaning - eg terms of approbation (wicked, brill); differences in the use and meanings of words as used by pupils, their parents and grandparents - eg wireless, radio, tranny, receiver, and new words that have become part of the English vocabulary during the last 50 years or so, eg computer, astronaut, macho. Teachers should also discuss with pupils, and encourage them to analyse, the reasons why vocabulary changes over time - eg contact with other languages because of trade or political circumstances, fashion, effects of advertising, need for new euphemisms, new inventions and technology, changes in society. They should also consider where new words come from, eg borrowings from other languages such as glasnost, coinages, acronyms etc.


[page 30]

16.40 (i) Pupils working towards level 7 should read some texts written for adults, including pre-20th century fiction, drama and poetry, including Shakespeare. They should discuss the themes, settings, characters and literary styles of the texts in order to make a personal response to them.

(ii) In both fiction and non-fiction texts, they should be taught to use information or contextual clues to infer authorial points of view that are not explicitly stated. Non-literary texts used should include persuasive writing, eg advertisements, leader columns from newspapers, campaign literature from pressure groups, and reference books, eg where the subject matter has a logical structure rather than following a chronological order.

(iii) They should be taught how to skim-read so that they are able to discover the structure and gist of a text quickly. They should be shown how to put together material from a number of different sources and to make a synthesis.

(iv) Teachers should discuss a variety of works so as to bring out the range and effects of different types of sound patterning, eg alliteration, assonance, rhymes, onomatopoeia, and of figures of speech, eg similes, metaphors, personification.

16.41 Pupils working towards levels 8 to 10 should be reading from a wide range of literature written for adults.

16.42 (i) Pupils working towards level 8 should be taught how to scrutinise a text for details of characterisation, settings and attitudes, and how to quote appropriately from a text to support their opinions. They should be shown that many texts make assumptions about knowledge shared by the author and reader. They should be taught how to recognise authorial viewpoint and - where relevant - persuasive or rhetorical techniques in a range of texts, and how to use evidence when explaining their conclusions.

(ii) They should be shown how to locate material from a range of sources, eg subject-specific reference books, adult encyclopaedias and databases, how to select material by deploying the appropriate reading strategy, how to evaluate it and how to draw it together into a coherent package.

(iii) From their reading of pre-20th century literature, pupils should be encouraged to identify some of the major changes in English grammar over the centuries, eg the loss - except in some dialects and in religious uses - of thee and thou; the simplification of the verb system eg from have, hast, hath, to have and has; the change in the structure of negatives eg from I know not to I don't know.

16.43 (i) Pupils working towards level 9 should be taught that the texts they study can be read at a number of levels, and how to compare the surface meaning with an implied sub-text. They should be shown how to interpret and evaluate characterisation, ideas and themes across the range of texts, how to cross-refer between texts, and how to make comparisons.

(ii) Pupils should be taught to show flexibility in reading - eg skimming, reading closely or backtracking as necessary. The texts used should include information texts of different kinds, articles on the same subject from different newspapers, short stories and poems.

(iii) They should be taught how to analyse transactional documents critically. Teachers should discuss the cogency and clarity of such documents and should encourage pupils to improve them. Pupils need to be made aware of the subtler uses of language, and of the appropriate use of figures of speech.

(iv) Discussion should focus on the effects, in context, of different types of vocabulary, eg archaic, literary, figurative, emotive, dialectal, colloquial, scientific etc; of grammatical features such as structural repetition, eg in scripted speeches, advertisements, literary prose, poems etc; of lexical and grammatical ambiguity; of the use of grammatical deviance for special effect, eg in advertisements, slogans, poems etc. Teaching should also bring out the structural characteristics of different types of verse and poetry, eg nursery rhymes, concrete poetry, haiku, limericks, ballads, sonnets etc.

16.44 (i) Pupils working towards level 10 should discuss the possibility of multiple meanings in the texts studied and be taught how to recognise and describe some of them.

(ii) They should be taught, over a wide range of texts, how to analyse with some sophistication the differences between attitudes or assumptions displayed by a character and those of the author. They should be encouraged to select appropriate reading strategies for various types of task.

(iii) Pupils should consider not only the extent to which English has changed since Shakespeare's day but also some of the ways in which it is changing now. From this, they should come to recognise that judgements about what is appropriate or correct cannot be immutable. They should learn to recognise when people's attitudes to language use, eg as expressed in letters to newspapers, reveal misunderstandings about the nature of language change.


[page 31]

ASSESSMENT

General

16.45 As indicated in chapter 14, we recommend that assessment be both internal and external, with suitable moderation arrangements. Internal assessment should be continuous, conducted through a variety of methods and contexts, and based on structured observation by the teacher. External assessment, in the form of SATs, should generally be conducted by the pupils' own teachers; observe the principle of fitness for purpose; be intrinsically rewarding and enjoyable for pupils and accord with good classroom practice.

Assessment in primary school

16.46 For internal assessment, a common national format for record-keeping should be devised and employed. We recommend that SEAC, in consultation with NCC and CCW, develop an assessment format and handbook and that the approach exemplified by the "Primary Language Record" (1988: Centre for Language in Primary Education) be adopted as a starting point. We urge that what is devised should not make excessive demands upon time or resources. We also suggest that the continuous assessment element should commence when the child starts school, and continue throughout the primary phase.

16.47 Within this continuous assessment, the teacher's structured observation should have regard to all the strands in the attainment target and should look for children's growing confidence and independence as readers; the ways they read aloud; the reading and information-retrieval strategies they employ; their responses to reading; and the range and difficulty of the texts they are able to handle and comprehend. It could include the use of miscue analysis based on a passage of narrative, drawn from a selection of varying levels of difficulty. Miscue analysis entails a systematic record and evaluation of children's "errors" when reading aloud from texts which are not well known to them and which are not at their reading frustration level. A four-fold procedure could be used: first, the text should be read silently; second, it should be re-told or described by the child to the teacher; next the text should be read aloud, with the teacher marking miscues on a duplicate copy; finally the text should be discussed in more detail with the teacher. Miscues should be marked and evaluated, with "positive" errors distinguished from "negative" ones. Suitable evaluation techniques may need to be specially devised.

16.48 The record of the continuous assessment should cover what the child has read; the child's reading strategies and approaches when handling a familiar text, levels of comprehension; retrieval of information; and the child's reading tastes and preferences.

16.49 External assessment through the SAT should cover reading comprehension. There are many types of reading test currently used in primary schools; most of them, however, are norm-referenced rather than criterion-referenced, and so do not relate directly to the levels of attainment described above. In addition, many existing tests use decontextualised approaches which do not adequately assess children's understanding of meaning. We believe it will be necessary to develop new methods of testing reading comprehension which build on the experience of the best of the existing tests and of the APU's work, but which should also meet the following criteria.

16.50 First, they should be designed to arise naturally out of good primary practice. The choice of texts should draw on reading material of the kind children will encounter in school through the programmes of study we have recommended. If extracts rather than complete texts are used, they should be free-standing and coherent in structure and content. The test questions should be what experienced teachers would be likely to ask, taking account of the character of the reading material, its context and the purposes for which it would normally be encountered. The tests should be practicable to administer in the classroom context, and to mark and moderate. The marking should give credit for children's grasp of meaning and allow "positive" errors to be distinguished from "negative". The results should be capable of being used formatively and to indicate any particular need for support for the child, or for more specific diagnostic assessment. For more able readers, the test results may point to the need for further enrichment.

16.51 At age 7, the pupil's response to the SAT might be mainly but not exclusively oral. At age 11, the SAT should be of greater length and complexity, and the pupil's response might be mainly but not exclusively written.


[page 32]

Assessment in secondary school

16.52 Internal assessment of pupils in key stages 3 and 4 should be continuous and record their progress across all aspects of the attainment target. The record should build upon those which have been maintained for pupils in key stages 1 and 2. The principles we advocate in paragraphs 16.46 to 16.48 for record-keeping at the primary phase are also applicable for the record for pupils in key stages 3 and 4. We recommend that SEAC be invited to design and pilot national guidelines and a format for assessing and recording pupils' reading attainments, which can be readily administered and maintained by teachers.

16.53 For external assessment, we recommend that the SAT or SATs at key stages 3 and 4 should sample all the strands. They should cover in particular the pupils' response to literature, and their competence in using information and reference materials, and should meet the general criteria described above. At the end of key stage 3 the pupils' response should be mainly in written form but may include some oral work. At the end of key stage 4 the response should be in written form only. As with external assessment in the primary phase, we believe that new methods of testing pupils' reading skills may need to be devised, building on the best of GCSE practice.





[page 33]

17 Writing

"The evidence gathered from successive surveys of pupils' attitudes to reading and writing suggests that the language experience of many pupils is concentrated in a relatively narrow range of types of writing." (1)

Introduction

17.1 The term "writing" is ambiguous: in the first place, it can refer either to the process of writing or to the written product. The term is also ambiguous between the composing aspects of writing and the secretarial aspects, such as good handwriting and spelling. For example, it is possible now for word processors with spelling checkers to take over some of the proof-reading aspects of writing and to produce impeccable print-out.

17.2 Attainment targets and programmes of study must therefore cover both these aspects of writing, here called for convenience "composing" and "secretarial". The main principle is that the secretarial aspect should not be allowed to predominate in the assessment while the more complex aspects of composition are ignored. It is evident that a child may be a poor speller, but write well-structured and interesting stories, or be a good speller, but write badly structured and boring stories.

Functions of written language

17.3 Written language serves many purposes both for individuals and for society as a whole, and is not limited to the communication of information.

17.4 For the individual author, writing can have cognitive functions in clarifying and supporting thought. (Spoken language also allows thoughts to be formulated in one's own words, but written language has the added advantage of making a detached reflection on them possible.) Such writing is essentially private. At the level of whole societies, written language serves the functions of record keeping and of storing both information and literary works. It therefore supports and transmits the culture. Such writing is essentially public and intended for an audience.

17.5 These points are relevant both to programmes of study and to assessment, since they show that linguistic forms cannot be corrected or assessed independently of their purpose. The nature of the assessment should be geared to the purpose of the writing. For example, it is perfectly appropriate to demand neatness, correct spelling, and features of Standard English in work which has a public purpose. But this may be less appropriate for work with essentially private purposes. The different functions of written language are an important topic for knowledge about language and part of an understanding of how society works.

The relations between spoken and written language

17.6 There is no simple transition from spoken to written language. In the development of their writing, children have to move from casual to formal language, from spontaneous to planned language; and from a known to an unknown audience. Further, some children have to add the forms of Standard English to their own non-standard forms, and others have to move from their mother tongue to English. In each case, the language competence acquired is additive: it does not replace earlier competences. Children also have to acquire forms of written language which are rarely or never used in spoken English, since written language is not just spoken language written down.

17.7 Children cannot be expected to learn everything at once. A measure of tolerance of errors in different language tasks is essential. For example, children will characteristically have better control over features of written language such as spelling when the task is easier to perform (as defined in paragraph 17.24 below).

17.8 Spoken and written language are closely related both developmentally and theoretically. Spoken language tends to be informal, spontaneous and interactive with the speakers face-to-face, whereas written language tends to be formal, edited and non-interactive, with writer and reader separated. But these are only the most typical configurations. All combinations are possible. For example, a letter

(1) Pupils' Attitudes to Writing. APU 1987.


[page 34]

to a friend may be informal; a telephone conversation is not face-to-face; interactive written communication is possible via computer terminals; a speech may be a carefully edited and rehearsed monologue; etc.

17.9 Even so, the various features characteristically associated with casual conversation and with formal writing provide a way of organising programmes of study. The basic principle is so to organise teaching that children have experience of producing written language across these various forms. Language experiences which will ensure this are set out in the programmes of study.

Assumptions

17.10 When children first come to school they have a large body of language experience to draw on. This will differ according to the richness of the environment provided by the home and the wider community, but all children live and grow up in a print-rich world full of writing and people who write.

17.11 Just as many young children come to school believing that they can read, so they will come willing to try to be writers. The very youngest children, given the opportunity to use what they know, are able to demonstrate considerable knowledge of the forms and purposes of writing. This may at first be simple "draw writing" but as they develop and learn more about how written language works, their writing comes increasingly close to standard adult systems. It is normal for their early attempts to consist of strings of letters, with words represented by the initial letter or by clusters of consonants. Children's early invented spellings often demonstrate logical consistency; this grasp of regularity should be recognised as an initial achievement and children should be helped to be confident in attempting to spell words for themselves without undue dependence on the teacher.

17.12 In early writing we see errors of letter formation, spelling and composition occurring as children make hypotheses about the rules that govern the writing system. Teachers provide the greatest encouragement for children to communicate in writing when they respond more to the content of what is written than to such errors, and when they share a child's writing with other children.

17.13 Through increasing encounters with a range of examples children make sense of literary experiences and it is the responsibility of the teacher to provide and foster that range in the classroom. Teachers will have diverse roles to play in the development of young writers: they will be observers, facilitators, modellers, readers and supporters. Through these roles the teacher intervenes in the child's learning, most often by a careful structuring of the contexts for writing. (See programmes of study.)

17.14 During the early years of the secondary school, and as they grow into adolescence, pupils will increasingly be able to take a more objective view and develop greater understanding of the writing process. In so doing they will be building on their earlier writing experiences which should have given them a positive view of themselves as writers who are capable of making and receiving meanings using a variety of forms depending on audience and purpose.

17.15 The programmes of study should, above all, enable pupils to exercise more conscious and critical control over the writing process. It is possible to identify a number of strands which should feature in their development as writers during these years; these are to do with an increasing ability to:

  • write in different forms for different purposes and audiences;
  • write coherently about a wide range of topics, issues, ideas, incidents, etc; organising different kinds of text in ways which help the reader;
  • craft writing which is significantly different from speech, showing a developing control of grammatical structure and of a differentiated vocabulary; and write in a style which is appropriate for the purpose, audience and subject matter;
  • know when and how to plan, draft, redraft, revise and proof-read their work;
  • understand the nature and functions of written language.
17.16 It is important that teachers should help pupils in this process by recognising the interrelatedness of writing, reading and speaking and listening. We stressed the need in paragraph 17.13 for younger pupils to have increasing encounters with a range of examples through which they make sense of literary experiences and this should continue into the secondary stages. By careful planning of schemes of work to integrate programmes of study for speaking and


[page 35]

listening, reading and writing, teachers should be able to foster the writing development of their pupils, helping them to develop an ear for language through reading or listening to works in a wide variety of styles written by really fine authors. Both literary and non-literary writing will often develop from the interaction between the pupils' own insights and what they have read (or heard read) in the classroom.

17.17 An essential aspect of development in the secondary stages is that pupils should increasingly make their own decisions about their writing - what it is about, what form it should take and to whom it is addressed. It is a fact that the written essay - usually of 400 to 500 words long - has dominated the English language and literature curriculum for many years because it has been seen as the main vehicle for the transmission of knowledge in written examinations. The advent of GCSE and the more widespread development of continuous assessment of coursework in all English examination syllabuses have provided opportunities for pupils in secondary schools to use writing for a much wider range of purposes and audiences. We believe this is a development to be welcomed and encouraged.

17.18 All pupils should be expected to keep a file containing work in progress, as well as completed pieces, which may need to be selected and filed separately for the purposes of moderation and final assessment. It is most important that teacher assessment should take account of the way pupils tackle writing tasks - that is, it should be sensitive to the writing process as well as to the finished product. Consequently, pupils should keep in their files the necessary range and variety of types of writing, including where appropriate any rough notes, plans or early drafts. They should play an active part in assessing their own progress through discussion with those who read their writing - their peers, teachers or other adults.

17.19 Much writing in English will be attempts by pupils to record their thoughts on topics of personal or public importance. Through discussion or role-play, teachers should seek to provide frequent opportunities for this type of writing to occur, and should respond to the meanings that their pupils strive to convey.

17.20 Pupils should know that their writing need not always be formal or follow literary models; it can also effectively capture and record first thoughts and immediate responses and be used for note-making, collecting and shaping information etc. Equally, however, it should be recognised that some writing is about communicating with the outside world and having a say in that world.

"People need expertise in language to be able to participate effectively in a democracy. There is no point in having access to information that you cannot understand, or having the opportunity to propose policies which you cannot formulate. People receive information and misinformation in varying proportions from, among others, family and friends, work mates, advertisers, journalists, priests, politicians and pressure groups. A democratic society needs people who have the linguistic abilities which will enable them to discuss, evaluate and make sense of what they are told, as well as to take effective action on the basis of their understanding. The working of a democracy depends on the discriminating use of language on the part of all its people. Otherwise there can be no genuine participation, but only the imposition of the ideas of those who are linguistically capable. As individuals, as well as members of constituencies, people need the resources of language both to defend their rights and to fulfil their obligations." (2)

17.21 Teachers should both create and respond to opportunities to focus on aspects of knowledge about written language and about some of the differences between speech and writing.

17.22 The full development of both reading and writing in the secondary years requires a broad definition of text to encompass both literary and non literary forms. Pupils should continue to develop in their dual roles as makers of meanings in their own texts and as receivers and makers of meaning in the texts of others.

Attainment targets and strands within levels of attainment

17.23 We propose the following attainment targets.

Attainment target 3: A growing ability to construct and convey meaning in written language matching style to audience and purpose.

Attainment target 4: Spelling (levels 1 to 4 only).

(2) Kingman Report, chapter 2, paragraph 2.


[page 36]

Attainment target 5: Handwriting (levels 1 to 4 only).

Attainment target 4/5: Presentation (levels 5 to 7).

17.24 If proposals for assessment are to have coherence, they must be based on a theory of difficulty. Bearing in mind some caveats below, it is possible to predict the relative difficulty of a writing task (and of a language task more generally). Other things being equal, a writing task is easier if the organisation is chronological; if the subject matter is drawn from personal experience; if the subject matter is concrete rather than abstract; and if the audience is known to the writer. The first distinction is usually clear-cut: the organisation is either chronological or not. (Texts which are typically chronological are narratives and reports; texts which are typically non-chronological are descriptions and arguments for a point of view.) The other distinctions are relative rather than absolute; for example, the subject matter may be more or less abstract, the audience may be very well known or less well known.

17.25 As we point out in paragraph 14.5 children do not learn particular features of written language once and for all at a particular stage. Development is recursive. This means that writing development must be defined in broad terms and cannot be measured solely by one-off tests at particular ages. As paragraph 14.12 acknowledges, language competence is dependent on the task: children will show different ability on tasks of different kinds. Therefore only a relatively broad range of tasks can hope to assess children's performance. The general line of development extends from emergent writing, through the early stages of composition towards growing fluency and control and finally to full independence. We share the view of the National Writing Project that "To try to put ages against these expectations produces great problems". However, bearing these caveats in mind, it is still reasonable to expect children to have made demonstrable progress along the developmental path when they reach key stages in the education system.

17.26 The attainment targets proposed in this chapter fall into two main categories. One covers the composing aspects and concerns language meaning, use and structure: the organisation, form and patterns of writing. The other is secretarial, as defined above and concerns the pupil's competence in spelling and handwriting. The reason for separating these two aspects in the attainment targets is that they are independent abilities: people with good spelling and neat handwriting are not necessarily good writers, and vice versa. Attainment targets form the basis of assessment. For assessment purposes it is clearly important that independent abilities should not be grouped under the same target. For example, if both composing and secretarial abilities were included in one global writing attainment target, a pupil who had achieved level 6 in the composing aspect but only level 3 in the secretarial aspect would have to be recorded as being at level 3 in writing. Establishing separate attainment targets, however, makes it possible to record separately a pupil's performance in different aspects of the writing task. This separation should not be interpreted as giving special standing to the secretarial aspect. The composing aspect is obviously by far the more important and this is reflected in the weighting that we recommend.

17.27 In the primary school, children have a great deal to learn about both spelling and handwriting. Some will be noticeably better at the one than the other. For this reason, we recommend that there should be two separate targets, one for spelling and the other for handwriting, covering ages 5 to 11 (levels 1 to 4). By the time they reach the secondary school, the majority of children will have developed their own style of handwriting. To extend statements of attainment for handwriting beyond level 4 would entail entering the field of calligraphy. Therefore, we do not recommend that there should be a handwriting attainment target after level 4. Nevertheless, fluent and legible handwriting continues to be important, so the one secretarial attainment target that we propose from level 5 onwards is called presentation and includes both spelling and handwriting.

17.28 One aspect of development as a writer is the growing ability to handle successfully different forms such as stories, poems, accounts, reports, instructions, essays, etc. In order to learn the conventional ways in which subject matter is organised and presented in these different forms, it is necessary for children to have plenty of opportunities to read or hear read good examples of a range of different types of texts. Young children hear stories either told or read from a very early age and, as soon as they have the skill, they read them themselves. In this way, they internalise the elements of story structure - the opening, setting, characters, events and


[page 37]

resolution. Similarly, they come to realise that, in satisfying, well-structured stories, things that are lost will be found, problems will be solved, mysteries will be explained, and so on. It is partly because of this early extensive experience of stories that so much writing in primary schools is in story form. In responding to children's writing, teachers are well able to distinguish between an embryonic attempt at a story and a more developed example; indeed, there is substantial research available on the stages of story-writing through which young writers progress. So, because children know and use the story form and because it is possible to discern a sequence of development, we have specified various aspects of story structure in the statements of attainment from level 2 to 4. From the beginning, though, children should be learning to write in other forms and for other purposes. In the early stages we distinguish between "other chronological writing" and "non-chronological writing", for the reasons given in 17.24. We have not continued the story strand in the statements of attainment beyond level 4, although many pupils will continue to write stories of increasing complexity throughout the secondary school, because by then it will be just one of the many types of writing that pupils might undertake.

17.29 We believe that, throughout the school years, all children should have ample opportunities to write poetry, either singly or in groups; this is made explicit in the programmes of study. However, we have not included a poetry strand in the statements of attainment because we do not feel that any pupil should be required to write a poem in order to achieve a particular level of attainment.

17.30 An important part of the composing process is the choice of appropriate and lively vocabulary. Nevertheless, we have not included vocabulary in our statements of attainment until level 7. This is partly because vocabulary is the most individualistic part of a person's knowledge of language, and continues to develop throughout life, although its growth is clearly fastest in the early years. It is also because the choice of vocabulary is determined by the subject matter. It can be assessed only by its appropriateness, but this depends entirely on what the pupil is writing about and for what purpose (and so has a cross-curricular dimension). The main line of development is that vocabulary becomes increasingly differentiated according to the purpose of the writing (eg whether it is everyday or technical) and to its style (eg formal or informal). There is also growing differentiation between colloquial and literary vocabulary. This aspect of writing development is one in which it is relatively easy to specify the direction of development, and achievements at higher levels, but where the precise specification of intermediate levels is much more difficult. It makes little sense, for example, to require that children have a command of formal vocabulary before they are competent in technical vocabulary or vice versa.

17.31 The best writing is vigorous, committed, honest and interesting. We have not included these qualities in our statements of attainment because they cannot be mapped on to levels. Even so, all good classroom practice will be geared to encouraging and fostering these vital qualities.

17.32 Development in attainment target 3 is marked by: increasing control over the structure and organisation of different types of text; a growing ability to handle complex or demanding subject matter; a widening range of syntactic structures and an expanding vocabulary as the pupil begins to use language that is characteristic of writing rather than speech and to strive for a style that is appropriate to the subject matter and the readership; a growing capacity to write independently and at length; an increasing proficiency in re-reading and revising or redrafting the text, taking into account the needs of the audience; a developing ability to reflect on and talk about the writing process. Punctuation is included in this attainment target because it helps the reader to identify the units of structure and meaning that the writer has constructed.

17.33 With regard to spelling, the aim should be that by the end of compulsory schooling pupils should be able to spell confidently most of the words that they are likely to need to use frequently in their writing; to recognise those aspects of English spelling that are systematic; to make a sensible attempt to spell words that they have not seen before; to check their work for misspellings and to use a dictionary appropriately. The aim cannot be the correct unaided spelling of any English word - there are too many words in English that can catch out even the best speller. For this reason, the Presentation attainment target stops at level 7 (the level that should be achieved by the average 16 year old) because there is no way of extending it to level 10, other than by specifying lists of increasingly irregular and unusual words - which would be absurd.


[page 38]

ATTAINMENT TARGET 3: WRITING (3)

17.34 A growing ability to construct and convey meaning in written language matching style to audience and purpose.

Pupils should be able to:

LEVELDESCRIPTION
1i Use pictures, symbols or isolated letters, words or phrases to communicate meaning.
2
i Produce, independently, pieces of writing using complete sentences, some of them demarcated with capital letters and full stops or question marks.
ii Structure sequences of real or imagined events coherently in chronological accounts.
iii Write stories showing an understanding of the rudiments of story structure by establishing an opening, characters, and one or more events.
iv Produce simple, coherent non-chronological writing.
3
i Produce, independently, pieces of writing using complete sentences, mainly demarcated with capital letters and full stops or question marks.
ii Shape chronological writing beginning to use a wider range of sentence connectives than "and" and "then".
iii Write more complex stories with detail beyond simple events and with a defined ending.
iv Produce a range of types of non-chronological writing.
v Begin to revise and redraft in discussion with the teacher, other adults, or other children in the class, paying attention to meaning and clarity as well as checking for matters such as correct and consistent use of tenses and pronouns.

(3) The statements of attainment at levels 1 to 3 are as specified by Order and published in the statutory Document entitled English in the National Curriculum on 31 May 1989.


[page 39]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
4i Produce pieces of writing in which there is a rudimentary attempt to present simple subject matter in a structured way, eg by means of a title and paragraphs or verses; in which sentence punctuation (capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks) is generally accurately used; and in which there is some evidence of an ability to set out and punctuate any direct speech in a way that makes meaning clear to the reader.
ii Write stories which have an opening, a setting, characters, a series of events and a resolution; produce other kinds of chronologically organised writing, such as instructions and accounts.
iii Organise non-chronological writing in orderly ways.
iv Show some competence in the structures of written Standard English and begin to use some sentence structures different from those which are characteristic of speech, eg a wider range of subordinate clauses, expanded noun phrases etc.
v Attempt independent redrafting and revision of their own writing and talk about changes they have made.
5
i Write in a variety of forms, eg notes, letters, instructions, stories, poems, for a range of purposes, eg to plan, to inform, to explain, to entertain, to express attitudes or emotions.
ii Produce pieces of writing in which there is a more successful attempt to present simple subject matter in a structured way, eg by layout, headings, paragraphing, verse structure; in which sentence punctuation is almost always accurately used; in which any direct speech is clearly set out and punctuated; and in which simple uses of the comma, eg in lists, after long adverbials, are handled successfully.
iii Write in Standard English (except in contexts where non-standard forms are needed for literary purposes, eg in dialogue, in a story or playscript), and show an increasing differentiation between speech and writing, eg by using constructions which reduce repetition.
iv Assemble ideas, eg for a story, poem or description, on paper, or on a computer screen, or in a discussion with others, and show some ability to produce a draft from them and then to redraft and revise as necessary.
v Talk about variations in vocabulary according to purpose, topic and audience and according to whether language is spoken or written, eg slang, formal vocabulary, technical vocabulary.


[page 40]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
6i Write in a variety of forms for a range of purposes, showing some ability to present subject matter differently for different specified known audiences.
ii Produce pieces of writing in which simple subject matter is organised and set out clearly and appropriately; in which sentences and any direct speech are helpfully punctuated; in which a wider range of uses of the comma, eg around appositional or parenthetic constructions, is evident; and in which brackets or pairs of dashes are used where necessary.
iii Make some use of literary stylistic features, such as alteration of word order for emphasis or the deliberate repetition of words or sentence patterns, and of those features that characterise an impersonal style when required, using Standard English (except in contexts where non-standard forms are needed for literary purposes, eg in dialogue, in a story or playscript).
iv Show some ability to recognise when planning, drafting, redrafting and revising are appropriate and to carry out these processes either on paper or on a computer screen.
v Demonstrate some knowledge of straightforward grammatical differences between spoken and written English.
7
i Write in a wider variety of forms, eg notes, personal letters, formal letters, instructions, essays, newspaper articles, reviews, biographies, stories, poems, playscripts, radio and TV scripts, for a wider range of purposes, eg to plan, to formulate hypotheses, to inform, to explain, to compare and contrast, to persuade, to entertain, to express attitudes or emotions, to shape experience imaginatively, and for a range of audiences.
ii Produce well-structured pieces of writing, some of which handle more demanding subject matter, eg going beyond their own firsthand experience. Punctuate their writing so that meaning and structure are clear to the reader.
iii Make a more assured and selective use of a wider range of grammatical and lexical features, characteristic of different styles, that are appropriate for topic, purpose and audience, eg in impersonal writing choosing vocabulary that does not betray attitudes or feelings; in poetic writing choosing vocabulary that conveys attitudes, responses or emotions. Use Standard English (except in contexts where nonstandard forms are needed for literary purposes, eg in dialogue, in a story or playscript).
iv Show an increased awareness that a first draft is malleable, eg by changing the form in which the material is cast, eg from a story to a playscript, or by moving text around (either on paper or on a computer screen), or by altering sentence structure or choice of vocabulary.
v Comment on examples of appropriate and inappropriate use of language in written texts with respect to, for example, purpose, topic and audience.


[page 41]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
8i Write in a wide variety of forms with a more assured sense of purpose, organising and presenting subject matter appropriately for specified audiences, both known and unknown. Present subject matter from a point of view other than their own. Produce a sustained piece of writing when the task demands it.
ii Produce well-structured pieces of writing. Provide some evidence that the function of paragraphing (ie to separate distinct ideas, events, etc and to unify related ones) has been grasped. Punctuate their writing so that meaning and structure are clear to the reader.
iii Make a more assured and selective use of a wide range of grammatical constructions that are appropriate for topic, purpose and audience, eg alterations of word order, lexical or structural repetition, passive constructions, adverbial connectives; and of a varied and appropriate vocabulary, eg colloquial, formal, technical, poetic or figurative. Use Standard English (except in contexts where non-standard forms are needed for literary purposes, eg in dialogue, in a story or playscript).
iv Demonstrate some knowledge of organisational differences between spoken and written English.
9
i Write in a wide variety of forms with an assured sense of purpose and audience. Show some ability to judge the appropriate length for a given task.
ii Show some ability to organise and present complex subject matter, eg putting forward a number of conflicting points of view, or weaving two strands into a story. Link sentences within a paragraph coherently. Punctuate their writing so that meaning and structure are clear to the reader.
iii Make an assured and selective use of a wide range of grammatical constructions that are appropriate for topic, purpose and audience, and that enable the writer to vary sentence beginnings, achieve the desired emphasis etc, eg alterations of word order, lexical or structural repetition, passive constructions, adverbial connectives, elliptical constructions, non-finite subordinate clauses, and of a varied and appropriate vocabulary, eg colloquial, formal, technical, poetic or figurative. Sustain the chosen style consistently. Use Standard English (except in contexts where nonstandard forms are needed for literary purposes, eg in dialogue, in a story or playscript).
iv Demonstrate some knowledge of ways in which language varies between different types of written text, eg personal letter, formal letter, printed instructions, newspaper report, playscript.
10
i Write, at an appropriate length, in a wide variety of forms with an assured sense of purpose and audience.
ii Organise complex or demanding or extended subject matter clearly and effectively. Produce well-structured pieces of writing in which the relationships between successive paragraphs are helpfully signalled by appropriate connective words or phrases. Punctuate their writing so that meaning and structure are clear to the reader.
iii Make an assured, selective and appropriate use of a wide range of grammatical constructions and of an extensive vocabulary, producing a suitable variety of, eg sentence length, sentence structure, sentence openings. Sustain the chosen style consistently. Achieve felicitous or striking effects, eg by the choice of unusual, apt and vivid vocabulary, showing some evidence of a personal style. Use Standard English (except in contexts where non-standard forms are needed for literary purposes, eg in dialogue, in a story or playscript).
iv Demonstrate some knowledge of criteria by which different types of written language can be judged, eg clarity, coherence, accuracy, appropriateness, effectiveness, vigour, etc.


[page 42]

ATTAINMENT TARGET 4: SPELLING (4)

17.35 Pupils should be able to:

LEVELDESCRIPTION
1i Begin to show an understanding of the difference between drawing and writing, and between numbers and letters.
ii Write some letter shapes in response to speech sounds and letter names.
iii Use at least single letters or groups of letters to represent whole words or parts of words.
2
i Produce recognisable (though not necessarily always correct) spelling of a range of common words.
ii Spell correctly, in the course of their own writing, simple monosyllabic words they use regularly which observe common patterns.
iii Recognise that spelling has patterns, and begin to apply their knowledge of those patterns in their attempts to spell a wider range of words.
iv Show knowledge of the names and order of the letters of the alphabet.
3
i Spell correctly, in the course of their own writing, simple polysyllabic words they use regularly which observe common patterns.
ii Recognise and use correctly regular patterns for vowel sounds and common letter strings.
iii Show a growing awareness of word families and their relationships.
iv In revising and redrafting their writing, begin to check the accuracy of their spelling.
4
i Spell correctly, in the course of their own writing, words which display other main patterns in English spelling, including the main prefixes and suffixes.

(4) The statements of attainment at levels 1 to 3 in spelling and handwriting are as specified by Order and published in the statutory Document entitled English in the National Curriculum on 31 May 1989.


[page 43]

ATTAINMENT TARGET 5: HANDWRITING

17.36 Pupils should be able to:

LEVELDESCRIPTION
1i Begin to form letters with some control over the size, shape and orientation of letters or lines of writing.
2
i Produce legible upper and lower case letters in one style and use them consistently (not randomly mixed within words).
ii Produce letters that are recognisably formed and properly oriented and that have clear ascenders and descenders where necessary.
3
i Begin to produce clear and legible joined-up writing.
4
i Produce more fluent joined-up writing in independent work.

ATTAINMENT TARGET 4/5: PRESENTATION

17.37 Pupils should be able to:

LEVELDESCRIPTION
5i Spell correctly, in the course of their own writing, words of increasing complexity, including words with inflectional suffixes, eg -ed, -ing, where consonant doubling, eg running, or -e deletion are required, eg coming.
ii Check final drafts of writing for misspellings, using a dictionary when appropriate.
iii Produce clear and legible handwriting in both printed and cursive styles.
6
i Recognise that words with related meanings may have related spellings, even though they sound different, eg sign, signature; medical, medicine; muscle, muscular; recognise that the spelling of unstressed syllables can often be deduced from the spelling of a stressed syllable in a related word, eg history, historical; grammar, grammatical; manager, managerial.
ii Check final drafts of writing for misspellings, using a dictionary or computer spelling checker when appropriate.
iii Write fluently and legibly.
iv Show some ability to use any available presentational devices that are appropriate to the task, eg handwriting, typewriting, computer printout, artwork, computer graphics, desk-top publishing, so that their finished work is presented clearly and attractively.


[page 44]

LEVELDESCRIPTION
7i Spell (and understand the meaning of) common roots that have been borrowed from other languages and that play an important role in word-building, eg micro-, psych-, tele-, therm-. Recognise that where words have been borrowed in the last 400 years, there are some characteristic sound-symbol relationships that reflect the word's origin, eg ch- in French words like champagne, chauffeur, charade, and ch- in Creek words like chaos, chiropody, chorus, compared with ch- in long-established English words like chaff, cheese, chin.
ii Check final drafts of writing for misspellings, using a dictionary or computer spelling checker when appropriate.
iii Write fluently and legibly.
iv Show an increased ability to present their finished work appropriately, clearly and attractively.


PROGRAMMES OF STUDY FOR WRITING

Programme of study for key stage 1 (ages 5 to 7) (5)

General provisions

17.38 (i) Pupils should have frequent opportunities to write in different contexts and for a variety of purposes and audiences, including for themselves.

(ii) Pupils should write in a wide range of activities. Early "play" writing, eg in a play house, class shop, office, hospital, should be encouraged and respected.

(iii) Pupils will have seen different kinds of writing in the home - their names on birthday cards or letters, forms, shopping lists and so on. Those whose parents are literate in a language other than English may have observed writing in their own first language, for which there may be a different writing system. Such awareness of writing in any form can help pupils to understand some of the functions of written language and should be used to promote their understanding of the functions of the English writing system.

(iv) Pupils should see adults writing. Teachers should write alongside pupils, sharing and talking about their writing, eg in journals, notes and diagrams, so that the range of uses of writing is brought out. Pupils should be made aware of how pieces of work they have produced relate to adult uses of writing.

Detailed provisions

17.39 (i) Pupils should be taught the conventional ways of forming letter shapes, lower case and capitals, through purposeful guided practice in order to foster a comfortable and legible handwriting style.

(ii) Pupils should be enabled to compose at greater length than they can manage to write down by themselves, by:

  • dictating to their teacher or another adult, or into a tape recorder; or
  • working with other children; or
  • using a word processor. Pupils should be able to produce copies of work drafted on a computer, and encouraged to incorporate the print-out in other work, including displays.
(iii) As they become familiar with the conventions of writing, pupils should be introduced to the most common spelling patterns of consonant and short vowel sounds. Pupils should be taught how to spell words which occur frequently in their writing, or which are important to them, and those which exemplify regular spelling patterns. They should be encouraged to spell words for themselves, and to remember the correct spelling, eg by compiling their own list of words they have used. They should be taught the names and order of the letters of the alphabet.

(5) The programme of study for key stage 1, including references to levels 1 to 3, appears as specified by Order and published on 31 May 1989 in the statutory Document entitled English in the National Curriculum.


[page 45]

(iv) Pupils should:

  • undertake a range of chronological writing including some at least of diaries, stories, letters, accounts of tasks they have done and of personal experiences, records of observations they have made, eg in a science or design activity, and instructions, eg recipes;
  • undertake a range of non-chronological writing which includes, for pupils working towards level 2, some at least of lists, captions, labels, invitations, greetings cards, notices, posters and, for pupils working towards level 3, plans and diagrams, descriptions, eg of a person or place, and notes for an activity, eg in science or designing and making;
  • play with language, for example by making up jingles, poems, word games, riddles, and games which involve word and spelling patterns. (v) Pupils should write individually and in groups, sharing their writing with others and discussing what they have written, and should produce finished pieces of work for wider audiences, eg stories, newspapers, magazines, books, games and guides for other children.

    (vi) Pupils should be asked to write in response to a range of well chosen stories, poems, plays or television programmes.

    (vii) Pupils should discuss their writing frequently, talking about the varied types and purposes of writing, eg list, poem, story, recipe. Teachers should talk about correct spelling and its patterns, about punctuation, and should introduce pupils to terms such as punctuation, letter, capital letter, full stop, question mark.

    (viii) Pupils should be taught to help the reader by leaving a space between words and by ending sentences with a full stop or question mark and by beginning them with a capital letter.

    17.40 (i) Pupils working towards level 3 should be taught to recognise that writing involves:

    • decision making - when the context (the specific situation, precise purpose and intended audience) is established;
    • planning - when initial thoughts and the framework are recorded and ordered;
    • drafting - when initial thoughts are developed, evaluated and reshaped by expansion, addition or amendment to the text.
    They should be taught to look for instances where:
    • ideas should be differently ordered or more fully expressed in order to convey their meaning;
    • tenses or pronouns have been used incorrectly or inconsistently;
    • meaning is unclear because of insufficient punctuation or omitted words;
    • meaning would be improved by a richer or more precise choice of vocabulary.
    (ii) They should be taught, in the context of discussion about their own writing, grammatical terms such as sentence, verb, tense, noun, pronoun.

    Programme of study for key stage 2 (ages 7 to 11)

    General provisions

    17.41 (i) Pupils should continue to have varied and frequent opportunities to write. They should know who their writing is for, eg themselves (to help in their thinking, understanding or planning of an activity), their classmates, their teacher, younger children in the school, their parents or other trusted adults. In writing for others they will learn that writing for a public audience requires more care to be taken with the finished product than writing for oneself as an aid to memory.

    (ii) By this stage, pupils will be using writing to learn and to record their experiences in a wide range of classroom activities. They should undertake chronological writing: eg reports of work carried out in science and mathematics, instructions for carrying out a task, and accounts of personal experiences, as well as imaginative stories.

    (iii) They should learn that, whereas chronological writing has a straightforward pattern of organisation, non-chronological types of writing can be organised in a variety of ways and so, generally, require more planning. By reading good examples of descriptions, explanations, opinions, etc and by being given purposeful opportunities to write their own, they should be helped to plan and produce these more demanding types of writing.

    (iv) They should have opportunities to write personal letters to real, known recipients and should be shown how to set them out. Through their wide experience of the stories they have read and heard, they should be helped to increase their control of story form, recognising, for example, that events take place in a setting, which needs to be described, and that the outcome has to be made explicit for the reader.

    (v) They should have plenty of opportunities to write poetry (whether individually, or in small groups or as a class) and to experiment with


    [page 46]

    different layouts, rhymes, rhythms, verse structures, and with all kinds of sound effects and verbal play.

    (vi) They should have opportunities to create, polish and produce (individually or collaboratively, by hand or on a word processor) extended written texts, appropriately laid out and illustrated, such as class newspapers, anthologies of stories or poems, guidebooks, etc.

    (vii) Pupils will write in response to a wide range of stimuli, including stories, plays and poems they have read and heard, television programmes they have seen, their own interests and experiences, and the unfolding activities of the classroom.

    (viii) They should be encouraged to be adventurous with vocabulary choices and should be taught how to use a children's thesaurus. As children become more fluent and confident as writers, there should be increased attention to the punctuation that demarcates sentences (capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks) and to the conventions of spelling. These orthographic conventions should be taught in the context of the children's own writing and should always be related to their function of making the writer's meaning clear to the reader. Once pupils can produce a printed style of handwriting fluently and confidently, they should begin to develop a comfortable joined-up style.

    Detailed provisions

    17.42 For pupils working towards levels 2 and 3, see level-related and other relevant material in detailed provisions for key stage 1.

    17.43 (i) Pupils working towards level 4 should be introduced to the idea of the paragraph and encouraged to notice paragraph divisions in their reading. They should be shown how to set out and punctuate direct speech, using inverted commas and commas. They should begin to learn explicitly about the uses of the apostrophe and the exclamation mark.

    (ii) Teachers should explain how Standard English has come to have a wide social and geographical currency and to be the form of English most frequently used on formal, public occasions and in writing. They should help the children to make an account of any differences in grammar or vocabulary between the local dialect of English and Standard English, recognising that local speech forms play an important part in establishing a sense of group identity. They should then provide some simple writing tasks which have formal or public purposes so that there are valid reasons for encouraging the pupils to use the forms of Standard English in their writing.

    (iii) Pupils should learn about the history of writing and consider some of the ways in which writing contributes to the organisation of society, the transmission of knowledge, the sharing of experiences and the capturing of imagination.

    (iv) In the context of their own writing and reading, pupils should learn the meaning (or grammatical function) and the spelling of some common prefixes and suffixes, eg un-, in- (and im-, il-, ir-), -able, -ness, -ful, etc.

    (v) In redrafting their writing, pupils should be encouraged to think about ways of making their meaning clear to their intended reader. In revising and proof-reading they should be shown how to check the spelling of difficult words in a dictionary.

    (vi) Pupils should have opportunities to develop a comfortable, flowing and legible joined-up style of handwriting.

    17.44 (i) Pupils working towards level 5 should consider features of layout, eg headings, side-headings, the use of columns or indentation, in the materials they read, so that they can use some of these features to clarify structures and meaning in their own writing. They should improve their use of inverted commas and apostrophes and should learn some of the simple uses of the comma, eg in lists, after long adverbials.

    (ii) They should have continuing opportunities to write for formal or public purposes so that they increase their command of the structures of written Standard English. In the context of their own writing they should be encouraged to find ways to reduce repetition, eg by replacing a noun phrase by a pronoun, or a verb phrase by ... did too.

    (iii) In the context of their own writing and reading pupils should be introduced to the complex regularity that underlies the spelling of words with inflectional endings, eg bead-ing, bead-ed, bed-d-ing, bed-d-ed.

    (iv) Teaching should encourage discussion of the range of vocabulary, eg from informal to formal, everyday to specialist, its use in different settings and for different purposes and the effect of particular choices of words, eg the kinds of topics slang is used for; the situations in which slang is used; the need for specialist terms and the effects of their use outside the specialist group. Discussion should bring out contrasts in how vocabulary is used in speech and writing.


    [page 47]

    Programmes of study for key stages 3 and 4 (ages 11/12 to 16)

    General provisions

    17.45 During the next two key stages, pupils' development as writers should be marked by:

    • increasingly conscious control over the structure and organisation of different types of text;
    • the matching of form to subject matter and readership and a growing capacity to write independently and at length;
    • a widening range of stylistic features more characteristic of writing than speech;
    • an increasing proficiency in re-reading and revising or redrafting the text;
    • an ability to reflect on and talk about the writing process.
    17.46 By building on the experiences of earlier key stages pupils should be made aware of the following range of functions of writing:

    (a) - primarily to communicate meaning to others:
    reporting, narrating, persuading, arguing, describing, instructing, explaining;

    (b) - for thinking and learning: recollecting, organising thoughts, reconstructing, reviewing, hypothesising;

    (c) - using language in aesthetic and imaginative ways.

    Clearly (a), (b) and (c) are not always watertight categories and there will sometimes be natural overlap according to the task in hand.

    17.47 The programmes of study for knowledge about language in writing should focus on:

    • some of the main differences between speech and writing;
    • the range of purposes that written language serves.
    General provisions for key stage 3 (ages 11/12 to 14)

    17.48 (i) Pupils should have opportunities to write in a range of forms including a number of the following: notes, diaries, personal Ietters, chronological accounts, pamphlets, book reviews, advertisements, comic strips, poems, stories, playscripts.

    (ii) Building on experiences of a range of different stories that they have read and heard, and/or through discussion of their work with the teacher or their peers, pupils should learn to handle the following elements of story structure with increasing effectiveness: an opening, setting, characters, events and a resolution.

    (iii) Building on their experience of reading and hearing a wide range of poetry, they should have opportunities, both individually and in groups, to use poetic features such as rhythm, rhyme and alliteration in verse forms such as jingles, limericks, ballads, haiku, etc.

    (iv) Pupils should have opportunities to write for a range of communicative or informative purposes including describing, explaining, giving instructions, reporting, expressing a point of view. They should learn to use writing to facilitate their own thinking and learning, recognising that not all written work will lead to a polished, final product. They should be able to record their first thoughts, capture immediate responses and collect and organise ideas so that they are available for reflection. They should also have opportunities to write in aesthetic and imaginative ways.

    (v) Pupils should learn how to organise and express their meaning appropriately for different specified audiences, eg their peers, their teacher, known adults, younger children, unknown but designated adults, eg a planning officer, a road safety officer, a novelist or poet.

    (vi) In the context of their own writing, pupils should learn to organise subject matter into paragraphs, recognising that these enable readers to identify relationships between ideas, events, etc and to follow the structure of a story, account or argument, etc.

    (vii) Through reading, listening to and talking about a wide range of texts, pupils should gradually be enabled to use, in their own writing, those grammatical structures that are characteristic of written language and an increasingly varied and differentiated vocabulary.

    (viii) Pupils should begin to learn explicitly the different stages in the writing process, ie drafting (getting ideas on to paper or computer screen, regardless of form, organisation or expression); redrafting (shaping and structuring the raw material - either on paper or screen - to take account of purpose, audience and form); rereading and revising (making alterations that will help the reader, eg getting rid of ambiguity, vagueness, incoherence, or irrelevance); proofreading (checking for errors, eg omitted or repeated words, mistakes in spelling or punctuation).


    [page 48]

    Detailed provisions for key stage 3

    17.49 For pupils working towards level 3, teachers should refer to level-related and other relevant material in the detailed provisions for key stage 1.

    17.50 For pupils working towards levels 4 and 5, see level-related material in detailed provisions for key stage 2.

    17.51 (i) Pupils working towards level 6 should learn that it is easier for the reader to recognise the relationship between essential and subsidiary information if parenthetical constructions are separated by brackets or pairs of commas or dashes. They should learn other uses of the comma, eg around appositional constructions.

    (ii) By reading and discussing good examples, pupils should come to understand the functions of the impersonal style of writing used in much academic - and particularly scientific - writing and to recognise the linguistic features, eg the passive, subordination, that characterise it.

    (iii) In the context of their own writing and reading, pupils should be helped to recognise that words with related meanings may have related spellings and that this can sometimes be an aid in the spelling of words where the sound alone does not provide sufficient information.

    (iv) In proof-reading any work produced on a word processor, pupils may have access to a computer spelling checker.

    (v) Pupils should be encouraged to use whatever presentational devices are appropriate for a given piece of work - particularly work that is to be displayed or made public.

    (vi) Teaching should bring out the fact that as speech typically takes place in a situation where both speaker and listener are present, it can be accompanied by gestures, and words like this, that, here, now, you etc, whereas writing generally requires greater verbal explicitness. Pupils should come to understand that because writers are not able to use the voice to emphasise key points in a sentence, they have to use a wide range of grammatical structures (such as the passive, or other alterations of word order) to bring about the desired emphasis. They should also recognise that writing is often more formal and more impersonal than speech: lexical and grammatical features of language both reflect and create these contrasts.

    17.52 (i) Pupils working towards level 7 should develop a sensitivity to the different styles of vocabulary that are used in different types of writing.

    (ii) In redrafting their work they should be encouraged to think of the first draft as tentative so that they are prepared to rethink their whole approach in the light of their own critical appraisal or of their discussions with their peers or teacher.

    (iii) In the context of their own writing and reading, they should learn about some of the frequently occurring words and roots that have been absorbed into English from other languages, so that they become familiar with the common word-building processes and spelling patterns that derive from them.

    (iv) If they use a computer spelling checker, they should learn about its limitations, for example in not distinguishing homophones, eg fair, fare, or different parts of speech, eg their, there.

    (v) Pupils should be taught about the different functions of written language: that writing can be for the writer alone; it can be addressed to a known reader; or it can be written for a large and unknown audience. They should be shown how it may primarily be either an artefact in its own right or a means of conveying information; how it functions as a tool of thought and as a creator of human relationships; how it can be stored and readily transmitted across time and distance. They should learn to think of appropriateness in written language in terms of these functions and of the range of audiences that writers address, considering the effects, for example, of inappropriately formal vocabulary in personal letters or of colloquial expressions in impersonal writing.

    17.53 (i) Pupils working towards level 8 should consider explicitly the functions and possible structures of paragraphs. They should learn when to use semi-colons and colons.

    (ii) Pupils should come to understand that at its most characteristic, speech is interactive, spontaneous and informal which means that topics of conversation emerge in an unplanned and unstructured way; in contrast, writing typically needs a more tightly planned overall structure signalled both by the organisation of topics into paragraphs and by words and phrases such as meanwhile, in the same way, on the other hand. They should learn about the patterns of organisation of formal expository writing: eg the introduction, development and conclusion of the academic essay; the use of illustrations and examples in persuasive writing and of comparison and contrast in argument.


    [page 49]

    General provisions for key stage 4 (ages 14 to 16)

    17.54 (i) Pupils should have opportunities to write in a wider range of forms, including a number of the following: notes, diaries, personal letters, formal letters, chronological accounts, reports, pamphlets, reviews (of books, television programmes, films or plays), essays, advertisements, newspaper articles, biography, autobiography, poems, stories, playscripts.

    (ii) Through experience of a wider range of literature they should learn to produce stories which are more consciously crafted, for example, using some detail in the portrayal of characters or settings or with some attempt to introduce elements of suspense or surprise with a skilfully managed resolution.

    (iii) Through experience of a wider range of poetry, they should have the opportunity to select verse forms appropriate for their own choice of subject matter and purposes.

    (iv) Pupils should have opportunities to write for a wider range of communicative or informative purposes, including: describing, explaining, giving instructions, reporting, expressing a point of view, persuading, comparing and contrasting ideas, arguing for different points of view. They should have increasing opportunities to use writing for private purposes, such as reviewing their own experiences, reflecting on their own ideas and formulating hypotheses. They should have continuing opportunities to write in aesthetic and imaginative ways.

    (v) Pupils should learn how to organise and express their meaning appropriately not only for different specified audiences (as for key stage 3) but also for generalised unknown audiences, eg in producing instructions for a game, letters to a newspaper, publicity campaigns, etc.

    (vi) In the context of their own writing, pupils should learn to construct different types of paragraph, eg a general statement followed by examples, illustrations followed by a conclusion, cause followed by effect, etc.

    (vii) Pupils should learn, eg by presenting the same material for different purposes or audiences, or in different forms, how they can achieve different stylistic effects in their writing by a conscious control of grammatical structures and lexical choices.

    (viii) Pupils should extend and refine their competence in drafting, redrafting, rereading and revising, and proof-reading and should learn to judge the extent to which they need to use any or all of these processes in specific pieces of work.

    Detailed provisions for key stage 4

    17.55 For pupils working towards level 3, teachers should refer to level-related and other relevant material in the detailed provisions for key stage 1.

    17.56 For pupils working towards levels 4 and 5, see level- related material in detailed provisions for key stage 2.

    17.57 For pupils working towards levels 6 to 8, see level-related material in detailed provisions for key stage 3.

    17.58 (i) Pupils working towards level 9 should be encouraged to make their own decisions about the appropriate length for a piece of work and to recognise that there can be merit in brevity.

    (ii) They should be given opportunities to write on topics that are intrinsically demanding in terms of their subject matter.

    (iii) They should be encouraged to craft their writing so that they achieve a readable, pleasing style.

    (iv) Pupils should learn how to recognise and describe some of the lexical, grammatical and organisational characteristics of different types of written texts, eg letters, tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, teenage magazines, specialist hobby periodicals, holiday brochures, travel books, instructions, playscripts. They should learn about the nature and purpose of impersonal styles of writing, and the vocabulary and grammar characteristic of those styles, eg the use of the passive voice and of other ways of depersonalising text - such as not using pronouns.

    17.59 (i) Pupils working towards level 10 should learn about the uses (and misuses) of inverted commas for purposes other than direct speech, eg enclosing slang or technical terms, or conveying an idea of falseness.

    (ii) In the context of their own writing and that of a range of published writers, pupils should learn that, in evaluating the success of a piece of writing, different criteria need to be applied to different types; for example, a personal letter may be valued for its warmth and humour, a report for the clarity of its organisation, and so on.

    ASSESSMENT

    General

    17.60 The attainment targets suggested above should be assessed through a variety of writing using a combination of internal and external assessment.


    [page 50]

    17.61 Those aspects of the targets which relate to the writing process, as distinct from the product, should be covered by mainly internal assessment - for example, probing pupils' ability to reflect upon and discuss the organisation of their own writing. For these purposes teachers will need to keep samples of children's writing in order to monitor its range and development over the course of a key stage; and they will need systematic means of recording and appraising the ways in which pupils approach writing tasks, including talking about what they are doing and why. As part of the internal assessment process, some self-assessment should be involved, through children's discussing a piece of writing with the teacher or with their peers, and then redrafting it. The children could use a standard pro forma to assess their own performance against the relevant parts of the attainment targets. We therefore recommend the development by SEAC of a national format and guidelines for internal assessment of these aspects of writing, to parallel our similar recommendation in the case of reading.

    17.62 Extended tasks in external assessment SATs may also however be capable of monitoring aspects of the writing process, as well as the product of composition and its physical presentation: we recommend that SEAC should commission development work with this in mind.

    Assessment in primary school

    17.63 Assessment in the primary school should incorporate internal assessment as above from the outset. In addition, chapter 14 suggests an extended task for the SAT at age 7, sampling each of the individual attainment targets. Within this task, we suggest that pupils should be asked for three contrasting pieces of writing, for example a short narrative based on a personal experience, a poem, a list of some kind (eg for a recipe), or a factual account based on observation. All of the writing attainment targets should be assessed in the context of those pieces of work; we do not believe that spelling or handwriting should be assessed through decontextualised tests or exercises.

    17.64 At age 11, the same requirements should apply, but with the addition of two short timed tasks, one perhaps consisting of a factual account or description and the other of a short imaginative piece of prose.

    Assessment in secondary school

    17.65 Internal assessment and recording in the secondary school should build on that of the primary school. More particularly, pupils should compile a folder of coursework containing writing of a range of types on a variety of topics for different and clearly specified audiences. In both key stages 3 and 4 they should have the opportunity to present an extended piece of work that has been planned, drafted, revised and polished over a period of time.

    17.66 The SATs at ages 14 and 16 should provide pupils with a wide choice, but should require them to produce a number of contrasting pieces of writing within both long and short timed tasks and spanning the range from imaginative literary uses of language to the clear and orderly presentation of information and argument. As in the earlier key stages, we recommend that where the "secretarial" aspects (presentation, spelling, handwriting) apply, they should not be assessed in isolation but through purposeful writing activities.

    Marking policy

    17.67 We have referred in paragraphs 17.60, 17.61 and 17.65 to the process of continuous assessment, and to the function of the samples of children's work in providing a basis for further development. In this context we feel it may be helpful to include a section here on the teacher's response to children's written work, and in particular to the marking policy adopted.

    17.68 As James Britton and his colleagues put it: "very close reading of children's writing is essential, because that is the best means we have of understanding their writing processes. Children value perceptive comments, responses and questions on their writing, but they quickly see through perfunctory approval and generalised faint praise. And it's worth remembering that for very many children, for many years, their teachers are the only readers of the bulk of their work." (6)

    17.69 It is axiomatic that the context of children's learning is significant. The teacher's ability to react sympathetically, to welcome a pupil's contribution, written or spoken, in a supportive manner, is especially important. Such a response

    (6) The Development of Writing Abilities, 11 to 18, James Britton et al. Macmillan 1975.


    [page 51]

    nurtures trust in the relationship. "The encouraging comment, sincerely meant, however brief, is the English teacher's most powerful weapon. It is utterly at variance with this to adopt what Andrew Wilkinson has nicely described as the role of 'the teacher as self-appointed proof-reader ... GRowling and SPitting and hiSSing from the margin'." (7) Negative methods of responding in marking are likely to produce sterile, cumulative consequences in a child's writing: pupils quickly discern what is acceptable to the teacher and merely aim to fulfil those expectations.

    17.70 The teacher's response to written work should aim to foster a child's confidence in the exploration of ideas and the manner of their presentation. Pupils benefit from the opportunity to shape and reformulate their thinking in a helpful, non-threatening atmosphere, where experiments in language are not only acceptable, but encouraged. The marking response can play a vital part in promoting this linguistic growth through establishing a dialogue, and not merely concerning itself with surface features of the writing, or the routine correction of technical errors. "Assessment is not in question; it is when it becomes an automatic and unvaried process that it loses its value for both teacher and pupil." (8) The process should encourage the pupils to play an active role in learning.

    17.71 Schools should formulate marking guidelines, as one feature of a cross-curricular language policy. These might establish:

    • the purpose, style and tone of written comments;
    • the basis for pointing out technical errors, and the manner of their correction;
    • the techniques to encourage successful examples of language use;
    • the part played by discussion with individual pupils in marking their work;
    • the way marking will be used in connection with further learning, and hence as a crucial link in a coherent programme of study;
    • the contribution of the assessment to a pupil's record of achievement.
    Such guidelines can help to clarify aims and objectives in setting, and responding to, written work, for the benefit of pupils, staff and parents. Pupils, especially, might increase their understanding of how they learn. In addition, the clarification of such issues could well provide the initial stimulus for a whole school language policy.



    (7) Every English Teacher, Anthony Adams and John Pearce. Oxford University Press 1974.

    (8) Bullock Report, paragraph 11.10.


    [page 52]

    Introduction

    Our task

    1.1 The National Curriculum English Working Group was set up on 29 April 1988 by the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales to advise on attainment targets, programmes of study, and associated assessment arrangements for English in the National Curriculum for the period of compulsory schooling. English was defined as including both language and literature and we were to take into account relevant aspects of drama, media studies, information technology and information handling. The framework for the National Curriculum is set out in the Education Reform Act 1988 (the 1988 Act).

    1.2 Our terms of reference define attainment targets as: "clear objectives for the knowledge, skills, understanding and aptitudes which pupils of different abilities and maturity should be expected to have acquired at or near certain ages"

    and programmes of study as:

    "describing the essential content which needs to be covered to enable pupils to reach or surpass the attainment targets".

    Our full terms of reference and supplementary guidance given to us by the Secretary of State for Education and Science are contained in appendices 2 and 3.

    1.3 This is our second Report. Our first Report, submitted to the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales on 30 September 1988, made recommendations for attainment targets and programmes of study for English for the primary stages, and also contained a number of chapters relevant to the whole of the compulsory school age range. In order to make available a single comprehensive Report covering the English curriculum for the whole period of compulsory schooling, we have included in this Report material from our first Report - revised and extended to reflect the needs of the secondary curriculum or to present our arguments more clearly.

    Sources of information and advice

    1.4 In preparing our Reports, we have taken account of the recommendations of the Kingman Committee (1) and of the large amount of written evidence from many sources. We are grateful to all those who submitted evidence; they are listed in appendix 5. Members of the Working Group visited "Lessons in English Teaching and Learning", the special conference of the National Association for the Teaching of English, and "Making Changes", the celebration of the work of the National Writing Project. Visits were also made to Canada, to see how the implementation of a national curriculum there was affecting work in English, and to Denmark and France, to look at the teaching of Danish and French respectively, and at those countries' arrangements for bilingual children. We are very grateful to the British Council for arranging these visits, and to all those who so willingly gave of their time to talk to and to entertain us. We have also drawn on members' experience of a range of schools, on the Bullock (2) and Swann (3) Reports and on the work of the Assessment of Performance Unit (APU).

    Assessment framework

    1.5 In formulating attainment targets we have followed the recommendations of the TGAT Reports (4) as endorsed by the Government and now in the process of development by the School Examinations and Assessment Council (SEAC). The Government's response to the TGAT recommendations, given in the Parliamentary statement by the Secretary of State for Education and Science on 7 June 1988, is set out in appendix 4.

    1.6 The assessment framework adopted by the Government requires that:

    (a) attainment targets are set for the knowledge, skills, and understanding normally expected at the ages of 7, 11, 14 and 16;

    (1) Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Teaching of English Language. Chairman: Sir John Kingman, FRS. HMSO 1988.

    (2) A Language for Life. Report of the Committee of Inquiry. Chairman: Sir Alan Bullock, FBA. HMSO 1975.

    (3) Education for All. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Education of Children from Ethnic Minority Groups. Chairman: Lord Swann, FRSE. HMSO 1985.

    (4) National Curriculum Task Group on Assessment and Testing. A Report. Also three supplementary reports. DES and Welsh Office, 1987 and 1988.


    [page 53]

    (b) pupils' performance in relation to attainment targets should be assessed and reported on at ages 7, 11, 14 and 16. Attainment targets should be grouped for this purpose into profile components to make assessment and reporting manageable;

    (c) ten different levels of attainment should be identified within each target covering all the years of compulsory schooling. Pupils' progress should be registered against these levels: level 2 should be assumed to represent the performance of the median 7 year old; level 4 that of the median 11 year old; the boundary between levels 5 and 6 that of the median 14 year old; and the boundary between levels 6 and 7 that of the median 16 year old;

    (d) assessment should be by a combination of national externally set Standard Assessment Tasks (SATs) and assessment by teachers. In order to safeguard standards, the latter should be compared with the results of the SATs and with the judgement of other teachers. At age 16 the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) should be the main form of assessment, especially in the core subjects;

    (e) the results of assessment should be used both formatively to help better teaching and to inform decisions about next steps for a pupil, and summatively at ages 7, 11, 14 and 16 to inform parents in simple and clear terms about their child's progress. Aggregated results should be published to enable informed judgements about attainment in a school or local education authority (LEA) to be made.

    The TGAT Reports made a number of detailed recommendations about matters to be considered by individual subject working groups. These have informed our thinking throughout this Report. Chapter 14 addresses some specific issues on assessment in primary and secondary schools, including SATs and GCSE. That chapter also makes a brief reference to the desirability of further work towards a double GCSE award in English. In chapters 15 to 17 we apply to the individual profile components the principles set out in chapter 14. In formulating our recommendations we have taken heed of the point that development in the four language modes is complex and non-linear.

    Profile components, attainment targets and programmes of study

    1.7 TGAT recommended that the attainment targets should be grouped in a small number of profile components in order to make the reporting of results comprehensible and manageable. Although other schemes are possible, we concluded that a grouping based on the language modes - speaking, listening, reading and writing - would be most appropriate and practicable.

    1.8 The three profile components we recommend are as follows:

    • speaking and listening - with one attainment target: the development of pupils' understanding of the spoken word and the capacity to express themselves effectively in a variety of speaking and listening activities, matching style and response to audience and purpose.
    • reading - with one attainment target: the development of the ability to read, understand and respond to all types of writing, as well as the development of information-retrieval strategies for the purposes of study.
    • writing - with three attainment targets in the primary stages: a growing ability to construct and convey meaning in written language, matching style to audience and purpose; spelling; and handwriting; but two in the secondary stages, with spelling and handwriting merged into an attainment target called presentation.
    We allocated speaking and listening to one profile component since they are essentially reciprocal, interacting activities and, as such, best taken together. We believe that all three profile components are equally important and should therefore receive equal attention in the classroom. For the purpose of reporting assessment, we also believe that the profile components should have equal weighting at key stages 1 to 3, but that in key stage 4 heavier weighting should be given to reading and writing - in the ratio of approximately 40:40:20 for Reading, Writing, Speaking and listening respectively (see chapter 14).

    1.9 We deal with attainment targets and programmes of study for each profile component in turn in chapters 15 to 17. For each attainment target we have recommended statements of attainment and programmes of study at up to 10 levels. Those for levels 1 to 3 are the same as those specified by Order for key stage 1, which will have been published in statutory Documents by the time this report is made public. For levels 4 and 5, our recommendations are based on those in the report of the National Curriculum Council (NCC) following the consultations on the Secretaries of State's proposals for English 5 to 11.


    [page 54]

    In some cases we have amended the NCC versions to improve continuity between levels 1 to 3 as they appear in the statutory Documents and our newly formulated statements of attainment and programmes of study for levels 6 to 10.

    1.10 The profile components are interrelated. For example, group discussion may precede and follow individual writing; writing may be collaborative; and listening to stories is often a preparation for reading. In constructing our programmes of study we have tried to avoid overlap and to make clear what we consider to be associated with which attainment targets, but some points will inevitably appear more than once. Because of the interrelationships between the language modes, in good classroom practice the programmes of study will necessarily and rightly be integrated.

    1.11 Knowledge about language and the cross-curricular themes specifically referred to us are incorporated in those attainment targets and programmes of study where they fit most naturally. We describe in detail our proposals for knowledge about language in the secondary curriculum in chapter 6.

    1.12 We recommend attainment targets for those areas of English which we consider essential for every pupil. They are intended to provide an opportunity for pupils of all abilities to show what they can do in realistic activities that themselves contribute to learning. They cannot, however, describe all the accomplishments in English that may be interesting or worthwhile. We have striven to avoid statements of attainment that require assessment which might have undesirable effects in the classroom, for example the use of language exercises out of context or other activities of an arid kind.

    1.13 Our fundamental assumption is that all pupils are entitled to an education that will provide the opportunity for them to develop to the best of their abilities a competence in and appreciation of English. We have therefore developed our recommended attainment targets and programmes of study from our view of the knowledge, skills and understanding within English that are necessary to meet young people's personal and social needs. These aims and objectives are set out in chapters 2 and 3.

    1.14 The programmes of study delineate the ground which must be covered if pupils are to achieve their best in relation to the attainment targets. Pupils may achieve other worthwhile things as well as those specified in the targets, and we would not wish teachers to feel limited by them.

    Across the curriculum

    1.15 We were pleased to find references to the importance of English and to the need for cooperation across disciplines in the Reports of the National Curriculum Working Groups on Science and on Mathematics and in the interim report of the National Curriculum Design and Technology Working Group. In England, English is the language in which other subjects (apart from foreign languages) are usually taught and learned. Every teacher who seeks to raise pupils' levels of attainment in another subject makes a valuable contribution to the teaching of English. There is much in the structured thinking, the imagination and the symbolism in mathematics and science and in other subjects that can extend the pupil's capability in English.

    1.16 Much has been written on "English across the curriculum", a phrase which, for some, conjures up an unacceptable vision of English reduced to a service subject, and for others an equally unacceptable vision of subject specialists burdened with responsibilities that should rightly be carried by teachers of English. The Reports of the various Working Groups, taken together, should allay these misgivings and reveal possibilities for collaboration across disciplines in ways that have not yet been widely recognised, with each making its distinctive contribution.

    Issues in the teaching of English

    1.17 Throughout our work we were acutely aware of the differing opinions that are held on a number of issues that lie at the heart of the English curriculum and its teaching. Our Report would not be credible if it did not acknowledge these differences and explain our response to them. They are considered in chapters 2 to 7 and elsewhere.

    The Kingman Report

    1.18 We were asked in paragraph 3 of our terms of reference to take the Kingman Report into consideration. The Report itself and the debate that followed its publication have helped us


    [page 55]

    considerably. We agree with the underlying assumptions of the Kingman Report and, in essentials, with its conclusions. We draw attention in the appropriate chapters to a few differences between our analysis and recommendations and those of the Kingman Committee. We deal with grammar and Standard English in chapter 4, linguistic terminology in chapter 5, and with knowledge about language in chapter 6.

    1.19 The Kingman Committee's remit was confined to knowledge about language. Our remit is much wider, covering all the elements of the English curriculum, so we deal with, for example, literature in chapter 7, drama in chapter 8, and media education and information technology in chapter 9. But we deal at somewhat greater length with the language aspects of the English curriculum than with those concerned with literature, because language, including such matters as Standard English, the use of linguistic terminology, the teaching of grammar and knowledge about language, has recently been a more contentious subject than the teaching of literature.

    1.20 The terms of reference of the Kingman Committee required it:

    "1. To recommend a model of the English language, whether spoken or written, which would: (i) serve as the basis of how teachers are trained to understand how the English language works; (ii) inform professional discussion of all aspects of English teaching.

    2. To recommend the principles which should guide teachers on how far and in what ways the model should be made explicit to pupils, to make them conscious of how language is used in a range of contexts.

    3. To recommend what, in general terms, pupils need to know about how the English language works and in consequence what they should have been taught, and be expected to understand, on this score, at ages 7, 11 and 16."

    The Kingman Committee had to pay considerable attention to what both teachers and pupils need to know. The model of language set out in its Report is constructed with that in mind. It has provided a valuable structure for our thinking and discussions, but, because we have had to focus less on teachers and more on pupils, we have not found it appropriate to map programmes of study directly on to the model. In any case, as the Kingman Report made abundantly clear, no one model could encompass all aspects of the English language.

    Literature

    1.21 In chapter 7 we rework and develop our rationale on the place of literature in the English curriculum 5 to 16. It subsumes many of our recommendations for literature in our first Report, but does not repeat the list of authors given there nor attempt an equivalent for pupils aged 5 to 16. Despite our firm statements to the effect that the list was purely illustrative and that there were no doubt omissions, media attention centred on this list to the detriment of the other, more important recommendations in the Report. Furthermore, such a list would be impracticable, given the wide range of books written for adults which are suitable for older and more able pupils. We do, however, state our criteria for the selection of books, and we refer to some book guides which teachers may find helpful.

    Pupils whose first language is not English

    1.22 We have paid particular attention to the needs of those children whose first language is not English: these are discussed in paragraphs 2.7 to 2.12 and in chapter 10.

    Equal opportunities

    1.23 In our first Report we made only brief comments on equal opportunities. In this Report we draw these comments together, and expand on them in chapter 11.

    Pupils with special educational needs

    1.24 Some pupils have a statement of special educational needs, made under the Education Act 1981. These statements specify the educational and other provisions that are necessary to meet the pupil's particular needs. Under the 1988 Act, such a statement may disapply or modify the application of any or all of the provisions of the National Curriculum for the pupils for whom the statement is made. Other pupils with special educational needs will not have statements. The National Curriculum will apply to such children unless some or all of its requirements are temporarily disapplied by


    [page 56]

    the headteacher in accordance with regulations made under Section 19 of the 1988 Act, or unless the pupils fall within any of the cases or circumstances entailing modified requirements which may be specified in Orders dealing with individual foundation subjects. In chapter 12 we discuss these points further. Our guiding principle is that pupils with special educational needs should, as far as possible, have the opportunity to experience the full range of the English curriculum, but we make some broad recommendations for modifications to attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements which we feel may nevertheless be necessary.

    The need for examples and revision

    1.25 In our first Report, we included an appendix with samples of pupils' work which illustrated some early stages in the development of writing. As we said then, these were indicative in character and not comprehensive as to the levels or to the range of performance which might emerge at any one level or from a particular child. We have not attempted a similar exercise for this Report: we felt that such samples needed very careful selection which would take time we could not afford, and that, unless the samples were numerous and lengthy, they would inevitably illustrate only a few aspects. We do however, consider illustration to be essential, and recommend that the National Curriculum Council (NCC) in conjunction with the Curriculum Council for Wales (CCW) and, as appropriate, with SEAC, commission the compilation of an extensive collection of pupils' work in relation to the statements of attainment we have recommended.

    1.26 The 1988 Act requires the Secretaries of State to revise the curriculum from time to time; we assume that NCC and CCW, among others, will advise them on this, and that such revision will include attainment targets, the allocation of statements of attainment to levels, programmes of study and methods of assessment. Because the recommendations in our Report have been prepared in a relatively short time, some changes will almost certainly prove necessary in the light of experience. We therefore attach great importance to flexibility in arrangements for revision.





    [page 57]

    2 English in the National Curriculum

    "... the content of education, which is subject to great historical variation, ... expresses, ... both consciously and unconsciously, certain basic elements in the culture, what is thought of as "an education" being in fact a particular selection, a particular set of emphases and omissions." (1)

    Introduction

    2.1 Our task was to identify broad areas within the subject "English" which would stand as profile components, and then to specify further within each area the knowledge, skills and understanding which children could be expected to develop or acquire as they move through the school system. In order to do this, we needed first to be clear about the nature and purposes of English as a school subject. This chapter presents a brief outline of our thinking on this question. It would have been possible simply to assume that the aims of English teaching could be inferred from the rest of the report. However, we believe that it is worth making our thinking explicit for a number of reasons.

    2.2 First, any examination of a range of statements about English teaching makes clear how broad the subject is. It includes, for example, language use; language study; literature; drama; and media education; it ranges from the teaching of a skill like handwriting, through the development of the imagination and of competence in reading, writing, speaking and listening, to the academic study of the greatest literature in English. Such broadness poses problems, both for the identity of English as a distinctive school subject, and for its relations with other subjects on the school curriculum. It is necessary, therefore, to have a rationale for the subject which will provide a framework within which the different aspects can be coherently related to each other. This is provided in this chapter and the next.

    2.3 Another consideration is the fact that English can seem at first glance rather different in primary and in secondary schools. Primary teachers normally teach English as part of an integrated curriculum whereas in secondary schools it is more usually taught in time tabled slots by subject specialists. This makes it doubly important to identify clear aims in order to secure continuity and progression within the English curriculum from 5 to 16.

    2.4 A further reason for making our thinking explicit is that it is not possible, or even desirable, to specify fully all aspects of the programmes of study. In a number of places in this Report we say that teachers, schools and LEAs need to work our for themselves policies which are sensitive to local circumstances. We believe that it will be easier for them to undertake this task if they can start from a set of explicit principles and aims. This is not to say that we believe we can formulate definitive and unchanging truths about what English teaching involves: views about English teaching have developed and changed over the past 20 years and will continue to do so. It is rather that no position is neutral. Any specification of the curriculum will inevitably contain many assumptions and it would be helpful to make some of them explicit, so that they can be more easily examined and reflected upon by teachers, parents and others concerned with the education of our children.

    2.5 It is important that our specification of the assumptions, principles and aims that underlie our approach to the English curriculum should be seen as enabling rather than restricting. They should serve as a starting point for teachers, not as a straitjacket. We are conscious that many English teachers are non-specialists: the Kingman Report points out that 28% of teachers of English in secondary schools have no formal qualification in English beyond O-Ievel and that they are responsible for 15% of English teaching. (2) (The Bullock Report cited similar figures in 1975. (3)) Many primary teachers too are not English specialists. We hope that such teachers in particular will find a statement of aims and assumptions useful.

    2.6 Another reason for including this chapter is that an unfortunate feature of much discussion of English teaching has been the false and unhelpful polarisation of views. For example, people set in opposition individual and social aims, or utilitarian and imaginative aims, or language and literature, or reading for meaning and decoding, or craft and creativity in writing, and so on.

    While we believe firmly that the best practice

    (1) The Long Revolution, Raymond Williams, Penguin, 1965.

    (2) Kingman Report, chapter 6, paragraph 4.

    (3) Bullock Report, paragraph 1.11.


    [page 58]

    reflects a consensus rather than extreme positions, it is important that this is not seen as some timid compromise but rather as an attempt to show the relation between these different views within a larger framework. In this chapter we consider briefly the relation between English and other languages (see also chapter 10), and then we outline our views about the aims of English teaching in the National Curriculum.

    English and other languages

    2.7 A statement of the aims of English teaching also makes it easier to relate the use of English and knowledge about it to the wider area of language in general. It is not within our brief to make recommendations about the teaching of other languages. However, as the Bullock Report clearly stated in 1975: "No child should be expected to cast off the language and culture of the home as he [or she] crosses the school threshold ... The curriculum should reflect many elements of that part of his [or her] life which a child lives outside school." (4)

    2.8 A major assumption which we make is that the curriculum for all pupils should include informed discussion of the multi-cultural nature of British society, whether or not the individual school is culturally mixed. It is essential that the development of competence in spoken and written Standard English is sensitive to the knowledge of other languages which many children have. As well as the many different mother tongues that are present in our multi-cultural, multilingual society, there are also the foreign languages that are taught in schools. A rich source of insight into the nature of language is lost if English is treated in complete isolation.

    2.9 The Kingman Report recommends that both primary and secondary schools should develop co-ordinated policies for language work. (5) Furthermore, our supplementary guidance from the Secretary of State requires us to take account of ways in which the curriculum can contribute to children's sense of social responsibility and to their ability to work harmoniously with others; continuity and progression throughout schooling and beyond; and the ethnic diversity of the school population and of society at large.

    2.10 The resolution of difficult issues of language in an increasingly multi-cultural society requires informed citizens. This may be the strongest rationale for knowledge about language in schools.

    2.11 The presence of large numbers of bilingual and biliterate children in the community should be seen as an enormous resource which ought to become more, not less, important to the British economy in the next few years. The curriculum should also have in mind education in a European context, with reference both to the position of English as an international language, and to increasing labour mobility and inter-cultural contact within the European community, especially after 1992. It is not possible to predict exactly what new language demands will arise. But, whatever form they may take, language demands will almost certainly be greater than in the past; more pupils will be studying foreign languages for longer periods of time, and children's perceptions of foreign languages are likely to change. This will affect English teaching, since English will exist in a still richer linguistic and cultural context. All this is likely to have implications for children's knowledge about language.

    2.12 Teachers should accordingly be encouraged to develop whole school policies on language, which are sensitive to their local circumstances, and which bear in mind principles such as the following:

    when children leave school they should have acquired as far as possible:

    • a firmly based, but flexible and developing, linguistic and cultural identity;
    • an awareness of some of the basic properties of human languages and their role in societies;
    • a respect for other languages and cultures; and an understanding of the increasing interaction of cultures in society; and
    • a willingness and capability to overcome communication barriers.
    These are not attainment targets in the sense in which this term is used in this Report. They are broader aims of education to which English contributes along with other subjects, but which will also, if achieved, contribute to knowledge of and competence in using English.

    The aims of the English curriculum

    2.13 The overriding aim of the English curriculum is to enable all pupils to develop to the full their ability to use and understand English. Since

    (4) Bullock Report, paragraph 20.5.

    (5) Kingman Report, chapter 4, paragraphs 51 to 52.


    [page 59]

    language can be both spoken and written, this means the fullest possible development of capabilities in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

    2.14 There are two different but complementary purposes behind this global aim and they run through the whole of our Report. First, English contributes to the personal development of the individual child because of the cognitive functions of both spoken and written language in exploratory learning and in organising and making sense of experiences. Both the Bullock (6) and the Kingman (7) Reports deal in detail with the way language plays a part in intellectual, emotional and aesthetic development. Secondly, English contributes to preparation for the adult world: people need to be able to communicate effectively and appropriately in all the widely differing social situations in which they find themselves.

    2.15 In pursuit of these two complementary purposes, teachers should aim to extend the range of varieties of English in which children are competent. From a developmental point of view this will mean adding to the local varieties used within the family and peer group those varieties used for wider communication (in school and higher education, in adult work and society); it means adding written language to spoken language, Standard English to non-Standard English, literary language to non-literary language and, for children who have a different mother tongue, it means adding English to their first language. It is clear that these extensions enable children to do more with their language. For example, they can do more when they can produce written language because they can write to people who are far away, or to institutions, government departments, newspapers etc; they can keep written records; they can write down ideas in order to reflect on them and reformulate them; they can elaborate complex arguments which require written support; they can create and keep artistic artefacts - poems, plays, stories; and so on. They can do more when they have a mastery of Standard English because they can communicate in a wider circle both socially and geographically.

    2.16 A closely related objective is to develop children's understanding of the different ways in which meanings are conveyed. A traditional concern of the English teacher has always been to develop the ways in which children interpret texts, spoken or written, literary or non-literary, and to increase children's understanding of how texts convey multiple layers of meaning and meanings expressed from different points of view. How texts achieve their effects has been of particular significance in the teaching of literature, including drama.

    2.17 Children should be able to make sense of how messages are conveyed in a variety of forms and contexts: in the heritage of literature written in English, but also in the mass media, in film and television, and in the newer technologies. Children should be enabled to understand the codes and conventions by which meanings are represented in documentary and fictional accounts, narrative and argumentative texts, and so on. The Kingman Report emphasised the need for such abilities when it stated:

    "A democratic society needs people who have the linguistic abilities which will enable them to discuss, evaluate and make sense of what they are told, as well as to take effective action on the basis of their understanding ... Otherwise there can be no genuine participation, but only the imposition of the ideas of those who are linguistically capable." (8)

    The understanding of the different ways in which meanings are conveyed is one area in which a vocabulary for the description and analysis of language is essential. This is discussed in more detail in chapter 5.

    2.18 Our attainment targets and programmes of study reflect our conviction that the personal and social development of the child are inextricably linked. Interactive spoken language is Widely recognised as a powerful means of learning; it is also obviously essential in the world outside school. Reading has essentially personal value as a source of enjoyment, as a stimulus to the imagination, as a means of gaining vicarious experience; and as an agent in language development, but it also allows warnings, instructions, information and so on to be absorbed. Writing serves cognitive functions in enabling the child to redraft and refine thoughts and ideas but it also serves social functions in transmitting messages in the wider world.

    2.19 Both aspects of language development, the personal and the social, contribute to giving pupils power over their own lives. For instance, people who can speak appropriately in both

    (6) Bullock Report, chapter 4.

    (7) Kingman Report, chapter 2, paragraph 10.

    (8) Kingman Report, chapter 2, paragraph 2.


    [page 60]

    casual and formal situations, who can recognise when language is being used manipulatively, and who have sufficient confidence to allow their own personal "voice" to imbue their writing, are freer and more independent than those whose linguistic inadequacy restricts their behaviour, their responses and their opportunities.

    The role of English in the curriculum

    2.20 It is possible to identify within the English teaching profession a number of different views of the subject. We list them here, though we stress that they are not the only possible views, they are not sharply distinguishable, and they are certainly not mutually exclusive.

    2.21 A "personal growth" view focuses on the child: it emphasises the relationship between language and learning in the individual child, and the role of literature in developing children's imaginative and aesthetic lives.

    2.22 A "cross-curricular" view focuses on the school: it emphasises that all teachers (of English and of other subjects) have a responsibility to help children with the language demands of different subjects on the school curriculum: otherwise areas of the curriculum may be closed to them. In England, English is different from other school subjects, in that it is both a subject and a medium of instruction for other subjects.

    2.23 An "adult needs" view focuses on communication outside the school: it emphasises the responsibility of English teachers to prepare children for the language demands of adult life, including the workplace, in a fast-changing world. Children need to learn to deal with the day-to-day demands of spoken language and of print; they also need to be able to write clearly, appropriately and effectively.

    2.24 A "cultural heritage" view emphasises the responsibility of schools to lead children to an appreciation of those works of literature that have been widely regarded as amongst the finest in the language.

    2.25 A "cultural analysis" view emphasises the role of English in helping children towards a critical understanding of the world and cultural environment in which they live. Children should know about the processes by which meanings are conveyed, and about the ways in which print and other media carry values.

    2.26 Some of these views look inwards: either in the sense of developing the individual child or in the sense of developing English as a separate school subject. Other views look outwards: they are concerned with helping the child with the needs of language elsewhere in the curriculum, or in the outside world of work. Alternatively, they are concerned with passing on the culture from one generation to the next, and with critically understanding what that culture consists of. Another distinction is that some of the approaches concern essentially the child's developing use of language, whereas others concern the knowledge about language and literature required of an informed and educated citizen in a democratic society.

    2.27 Teachers of English will differ in the weight they give to each of these views of the subject. Indeed, some differentiation will derive directly from the stage children have reached at school: for example, the "adult needs" view is more relevant to the later years of compulsory schooling than to the primary years. Some aspects of "cultural analysis" are also more relevant to older children. However, aspects of media education are also important for children in the primary phase, because they can be influenced by the conventions and assumptions of mass media, and should learn to recognise this.



    [page 61]

    3 English in primary and secondary schools

    "At the heart of the educational process lies the child. No advances in policy, no acquisitions of new equipment have their desired effect unless they are in harmony with the nature of the child ..." (1)

    3.1 In our first Report we included a statement from a recent publication of the National Association of Advisers in English (2), describing the characteristics of successful teaching and learning in language. We believe that these characteristics are applicable to good practice in primary and secondary schools and we therefore repeat them below:

    • a very high expectation of success for the learner;
    • an "apprenticeship" approach to acquiring written and oral language, in which the adult represents the "success" the child seeks and yet offers endless help;
    • maximum encouragement and support whilst errors are mastered;
    • motivation for the learner to make sense of and acquire control over language and the power which it can have;
    • a constant respect for the child's language.
    The document continues by defining the needs of learner and teacher:

    "... the learner needs expectation of success,
    the confidence to take risks and make mistakes,
    a willingness to share and to engage,
    the confidence to ask for help,
    an acceptance of the need to readjust,

    and the teacher needs

    respect for and interest in the learner's language culture, thought and intentions, the ability to, recognise growth points, strengths and potential,
    the appreciation that mistakes are necessary to learning,
    the confidence to maintain breadth, richness and variety, and to match these to the learner's interests and direction (ie to stimulate and challenge),
    a sensitive awareness of when to intervene and when to leave alone."

    3.2 The attainment targets and programmes of study for English will provide a firmer basis than ever before for liaison between schools. Within the framework provided by our report teachers will be able to ensure for their pupils a curriculum which has shape and sequence and which is mutually understood, thereby providing a sense of continuity and progression as pupils move from one phase of schooling to another.

    3.3 We believe that our Report reflects the growing consensus nationally about what constitutes good practice in the teaching of English. Recent initiatives such as the National Writing Project and the National Oracy Project have done much to foster developments and to disseminate good practice. At the same time the emergence of GCSE English has come to mean more than mere changes of emphasis at the upper end of secondary schools. Increasingly we are seeing the influence of the positive developments and changes brought about by GCSE on work done in the earlier secondary years.

    3.4 We believe it is possible to identify the main features of current best practice in English by describing classrooms where, individually and collaboratively, pupils are seen:

    • using language to make, receive and communicate meaning, in purposeful contexts;
    • employing a variety of forms with a clear awareness of audience;
    • working on tasks which they have chosen and which they direct for themselves;
    • working with teachers who are themselves involved in the processes - albeit with special expertise - as talkers, listeners, readers and writers;
    • reading literature for enjoyment, responding to it critically and using that reading for learning.
    3.5 We now turn to instances of good classroom practice related to our three profile components.

    Speaking and listening

    3.6 In order to make sense of the world, children receive and develop ideas and explore their understanding initially through the spoken word.

    (1) Children and their Primary Schools - the Report of the Central Advisory Council for England, volume I, chapter 2(9); 1967.

    (2) English, Whose English?, David Allen. National Association of Advisers in English 1988.


    [page 62]

    Teachers of children in the early years devote considerable attention to talk, fostering confidence and fluency. Primary schools must respect children's talk, as children put into words their thoughts and feelings, explore new ideas and deepen understanding. Teachers act as enablers by the use of skilled and open-ended questioning in order to lead the child to clarity of thought and expression.

    3.7 This process continues in secondary schools, where oral communication continues to form an essential part of the learning process across the whole curriculum and contributes to the development of pupils' interpersonal skills. Teachers encourage regular and active participation in class and group discussion, planning and presentations as well as occasional individual performance. Liaison within the individual school is vitally important both within the English department and also across departments, so that the whole school shares a common approach to the development of language skills.

    3.8 In the early stages, children need to explore their ideas through structured play or drama and by drawing on their own experiences. In secondary schools, drama forms an important part of the English curriculum. It may be used, for example, as a way of heightening sensitivity to different uses of language, as a means of stimulating a poetic response, or through improvisation as a way into a literary text. These and other approaches provide the basis upon which some elements of drama will become an integral part of the English curriculum as recommended in chapter 8.

    Reading

    3.9 Good schools foster positive attitudes towards books and literature, encouraging pupils to become attentive listeners and reflective readers, library members both in and out of school, and book owners.

    3.10 From the earliest stages children derive great pleasure from sharing books and listening to stories. Primary schools must have a clear policy and whole school approach to the teaching of reading which builds success for all children so that they clearly identify themselves as young readers who find pleasure in books. Schools must provide a dynamic reading environment where children are motivated to take their place as readers, encouraged and supported by structured and sensitive teaching.

    3.11 The foundations which developed a love of reading in the best primary schools provide an ideal basis in secondary schools for growing awareness, appreciation and enjoyment of literature. Literature helps secondary pupils to explore and express their own thoughts and feelings and moral and social values and provides a stimulus for discussion with their peers and adults. Through a study of literature secondary school pupils develop and deepen their understanding of characterisation, themes, plots, literary styles and forms.

    3.12 In many secondary schools some elements of media education are taught within the English curriculum. We believe this practice should be the entitlement of all pupils and have therefore included some statements relating to non-literary and media texts in our reading profile component. We also discuss media education in more detail in chapter 9.

    Writing

    3.13 Structured and sensitive teaching is also essential if children's development as writers is to thrive. Many children entering school for the first time are very keen to try to write because they have seen adults using writing for all kinds of purposes. Others will need more encouragement, but they too will be capable of developing confidence in themselves as writers. Good primary teachers pay attention to the process of writing, developed from knowledge and understanding of the practice of experienced writers (including themselves); they are then able to provide classroom practices which allow children to behave like real writers.

    3.14 As pupils become more confident and practised in expressing their thoughts in writing, the task of the teacher is to help pupils produce clear and accurate written work which is suited to audience and purpose. Teachers have found that pupils' understanding and use of style, form, presentation, vocabulary, punctuation and spelling are best developed through discussion of the pupils' own written work.

    Conclusion

    3.15 In the following chapters we examine in detail our assumptions about Standard English, knowledge about language, literature, drama, media education and information technology.


    [page 63]

    4 Teaching Standard English

    "I can spell all the words that I use, and my grammar's as good as my neighbours'" (1)

    4.1 Three chapters of this Report are concerned with language: this chapter with language use in the education system and in society at large, and chapters 5 (Linguistic terminology) and 6 (Knowledge about language) with language study as part of the content of the English curriculum.

    4.2 The reason for this extended discussion is that the issues are difficult and need careful explanation. Other areas (such as literature teaching) are more familiar to most English teachers. But the place of Standard English and grammar teaching in schools has been so widely and intensely debated that we feel it necessary to set out our views explicitly in order to encourage informed discussion of the teaching of the various aspects of English language.

    4.3 This chapter is intended to illuminate the references to grammar and to Standard English in the programmes of study in chapters 15 to 17. It has five main topics:

    • pupils' entitlement to Standard English;
    • the definition of Standard English, and its relation to non-standard varieties;
    • misunderstandings about Standard English and grammar;
    • grammar teaching in schools;
    • teaching Standard English.
    Our rationale

    4.4 In this chapter we argue two main points:

    • all pupils should learn, and if necessary be explicitly taught, Standard English;
    • schools have the responsibility to develop their own policies on the detail of how this should be done.
    4.5 We wish to emphasise the first of these points as firmly as possible. Standard English is an international language used throughout the world and essential for many purposes. If pupils do not have access to Standard English, then many important opportunities are closed to them, in cultural activities, in further and higher education, and in industry, commerce and the professions.

    4.6 The reason for the second requirement is that, across England and Wales, schools differ greatly in their linguistic profiles. In some schools, most pupils use spoken Standard English as their native dialect; in others, most have to acquire it as an additional dialect; in yet others, most have to learn it as an additional language. Therefore we cannot prescribe a single policy which would suit all circumstances. We do, however, attempt to outline the principles which should inform school policies on the teaching of Standard English.

    Pupils' entitlement to Standard English

    4.7 The English curriculum must respond to the entitlement of all pupils to learn, and if necessary to be taught, the functions and forms of Standard English.

    4.8 The Kingman Report discussed Standard English at some length (2), and the first attainment target at 16 proposed by the Report was that pupils should be able to "speak in Standard English, using their own accents (provided that those accents do not impair comprehension by other speakers of English)". (3) This usefully distinguishes between accent and dialect; but it leaves unresolved the relation between spoken and written Standard English.

    The definition of Standard English

    4.9 Linguists generally define Standard English as a dialect which has historical, geographical and social origins although, with some variations, it now has worldwide uses. We and the Kingman Committee both take dialect to refer to grammar and vocabulary, but not to accent. It is also important, in considering Standard English, to bear in mind the particular functions that it serves: for example, in the education system and in professional life, in public and formal uses,

    (1) Iolanthe, W S Gilbert.

    (2) Kingman Report, chapter 2, paragraphs 31 to 35.

    (3) Kingman Report, chapter 5, page 52.


    [page 64]

    and in writing and particularly in print. It is precisely because Standard English serves as a language of wider communication for such an extensive and important range of purposes that children must learn to use it competently.

    4.10 Standard English should not be regarded as fixed. It changes over time, just as any language does: no one nowadays speaks in the same way as the contemporaries of Chaucer or Shakespeare or even Dickens. Moreover, it varies according to style, purpose and audience: no one speaks or writes in the same way on all occasions. Nor should Standard English - a technical term to refer to a dialect which has particular uses - be confused with "good" English. Speakers of Standard English can use English just as "badly" as anyone else: they can write unclear prose, use words ambiguously, and so on. A more formal definition of Standard English is provided in chapter 5, where it is used as an example of the need for linguistic terminology.

    Standard English as social dialect

    4.11 Although Standard English can be analysed as a dialect, this does not mean that it should be regarded as just one among many. Standard English is a dialect of a special kind. It is no longer a geographical or regional dialect. For example, there are only very few grammatical differences between the forms of Standard English used in London, New York and Sydney. It is, however, a social dialect, that is, the native language of certain social groups.

    4.12 The nature of Standard English is, in part, defined by the uses to which it is put. It is conventionally used for a wide range of public purposes, unlike regional dialects. There is a particular relation between Standard English and written forms. This is in turn related to the smaller amount of regional variation in Standard English compared with non-standard dialects.

    Standard and non-standard dialects

    4.13 Standard English and non-standard dialects have much in common. However, people are very conscious of a small number of non-standard features which mark social group membership, eg we was; he ain't done it; she come here yesterday; they never saw nobody; he writes really quick; theirselves; etc.

    4.14 Many people are highly critical of such forms, and they are undoubtedly a social irritant. Henry Higgins' comment in G B Shaw's "Pygmalion" still has an element of truth in it: "Every time an Englishman opens his mouth, he makes some other Englishman despise him." However, such forms do not cause real communication problems because it is unlikely that they would ever be misunderstood. There are dialect forms which do cause misunderstanding, but because they are not so widespread they do not attract the opprobrium of the examples above. All these forms are grammatical and rule-governed in non-standard dialects, but the rules are different from those of Standard English. For example, Standard English does not distinguish between do as a main verb and as an auxiliary verb: He did it, did he? Many non-standard dialects do make this distinction, which is not available in Standard English: He done it, did he? The non-standard dialect is not a haphazard variant, since no speakers of non-standard dialects would say He done it, done he? or He did it, done he?

    Creole varieties

    4.15 Much more difficult problems of definition arise with creole varieties of English, including creoles of Caribbean origin. These language varieties are known by various names, such as West Indian Creole, Black British English and Patois. (See Edwards 1979, Sutcliffe 1982.) The main points are:

    • such language varieties are not random and simplified deviations from Standard English: they are highly complex and rule-governed varieties of English;
    • their linguistic variation is typically greater than with other dialects of English. Speakers' use of creole varieties lies along a continuum, from varieties of creole which may well be incomprehensible to a speaker of Standard English, to varieties much closer to Standard English;
    • the term "dialects of English" which we have just used is itself problematic. Whether creole varieties are termed "dialects of" English or are regarded as languages in their own right is a political and ideological question, which

    [page 65]

      concerns the social identity of groups of speakers. It is not a matter which has a simple linguistic definition.
    4.16 Given this variation in language forms and use, the danger may be that teachers do not realise the extent of the variation, or that they regard the creole language forms as haphazard. They may therefore not realise those cases where there is genuine dialect interference between the pupil's home language and the language expected in the school.

    Prescriptive and descriptive views of language

    4.17 Some of the confusion about Standard English arises from different senses of the term "grammar". In everyday usage, "grammar" is associated with the "correct use of the standard language". But linguists use the term very differently. They use it, first, to refer to ways in which words are combined to make sentences (in any dialect), and second, to label the body of statements they write about the language as they attempt to make explicit the implicit knowledge possessed by all native speakers of English. At the end of this chapter there are examples of explicit descriptions of this kind.

    4.18 Linguists distinguish between prescriptive and descriptive views of language. Prescriptivism is, in essence, the view that it is possible to lay down rules for the correct use of language. There are two problems with the way this view can be implemented. The first is that sometimes the rules do not relate to the actual language use of native speakers. (An example is the suggestion that "It is I" is the only correct form whereas, in fact, most educated speakers of English generally say "It's me".) The second is that the rules may be those that apply to formal, written language but they may then be prescribed for all circumstances.

    4.19 Descriptivism is the name given to the view that the way people actually use language should be accurately described, without prescription of how they ought to use it. Careful descriptions of speech are necessary because people's beliefs about their actual linguistic behaviour are often very inaccurate; many people think they speak in the same way as they write but, in fact, no-one does.

    4.20 Both views are sometimes parodied. Prescriptivists are seen as blind adherents to outdated norms of formal usage. Descriptivists are seen as advocating an "anything goes" position and as condemning all forms of linguistic correction. Such parodies are inaccurate and unhelpful. It is necessary, rather, to recognise that we need both accurate descriptions of language that are related to situation, purpose and mode (ie whether the language is spoken or written), and prescriptions that take account of context, appropriateness and the expression of meaning.

    Grammar and logic

    4.21 There is also confusion between the concepts of grammar, dialect, correctness and logic. The following statement, taken from a newspaper article, (4) provides an example:

    "I thought it was correct to write we were and incorrect to write we was. I did not realise it was just a question of dialect; I thought it was a question of grammar or, if you do not like that word, of logic. You cannot use a singular form of the verb with a plural pronoun."
    The appeal to logic is mistaken: you were is both singular and plural in Standard English. Moreover, other verbs in Standard English use the same form with both singular and plural pronouns: eg I go, we go; I wanted, we wanted; I might, we might. The verb to be is highly irregular in Standard English and much more regular in many non-standard dialects. Logic, however, is a feature not of the grammar of a language or dialect, but of arguments in sentences and in texts. It is people in their use of language who are logical or illogical, not languages or dialects themselves.

    4.22 Similarly, references to accuracy, precision, clarity or lack of ambiguity cannot be conflated with grammar. There is no ambiguity about the meaning of we was. There are, however, other features of grammar (ways of relating clauses in complex sentences, for example) which pupils do have difficulty with and which affect the logic and clarity of written and spoken language. Accuracy, clarity and precision are obviously important, and it is important to identify correctly those parts of the grammar of English which are relevant to constructing accurate, clear and precise arguments.

    (4) The Standard, 17 November 1988.


    [page 66]

    The teaching of grammar

    4.23 We have said that the term "grammar" has a number of different meanings. Secondary school pupils might appropriately begin to discuss explicitly different senses of the term.

    4.24 Over the last 20 years or so grammatical drills and sentence parsing have come to be recognised as being mostly mechanical and uninteresting. They were based on poor models of linguistic structure, which had been long abandoned by linguists, and they were often based on methods of analysing written texts in classical languages, so they ignored variable features of spoken language in use. This is why the Kingman Report argued that there should be no return to old-fashioned grammar teaching: "We have been impressed by the evidence we have received that this gave an inadequate account of the English language by treating it virtually as a branch of Latin, and constructing a rigid prescriptive code rather than a dynamic description of language in use. It was also ineffective as a means of developing a command of English in all its manifestations." (5)

    4.25 However, many people feel that with the rejection of grammar teaching much of value was lost. We would agree that a certain analytic competence has been lost, and with it the valuable ability to talk and write explicitly about linguistic patterns, relations and organisation. We recognise also the fear among some teachers that teaching grammar, under whatever name, will mean abandoning the study of real language in use and a neglect of the subjective, creative, personal and expressive. We firmly believe that the teaching of English should cover all these aspects of the use of language. There are, however, more useful ways of teaching grammar than those which have been the cause of so much misunderstanding and criticism.

    4.26 The anxieties are understandable, given the history of attempts to teach about language in schools, but they are nevertheless based on a criticism of poor practice in the past, and not on the potential of good practice in the future. Teaching grammar does not mean mechanical parsing drills. However, some form of analysis (which may be more or less explicit) is necessarily a part of the interpretation of texts and of the production of accurate writing.

    4.27 The kind of exploratory, data-based teaching about the forms and functions of language which is proposed in this Report requires teachers who are confident in their ability to handle the material and apply it to well-chosen and stimulating examples. Our proposals therefore have serious implications for teacher training programmes and for those who develop teaching materials as well as for the teachers themselves.

    4.28 For grammar to be of relevance to English teaching, it should be:

    • a form of grammar which can describe language in use;
    • relevant to all levels from the syntax of sentences through to the organisation of substantial texts;
    • able to describe the considerable differences between written and spoken English;
    • part of a wider syllabus of language study, as outlined in chapter 6.
    4.29 Knowledge about sentence syntax is necessary as part of a larger description which includes the structural organisation of whole texts, such as stories, and arguments. In paragraph 4.53 we give, as an example, a brief description of some connectives which provide one means by which discourses can be organised.

    4.30 The ways in which meaning is expressed must always be central to any language study: how language uses grammatical patterns to create both predictable and new meanings.

    4.31 Everyone has an implicit knowledge of the grammar of his or her native language(s). The issue which is debated at such length is whether and how it should be made explicit to pupils.

    Standard English and approaches to English teaching

    4.32 A coherent school policy on Standard English can be based on the different views of the main aims of English teaching that are discussed in chapter 2:

    • a personal growth view;
    • a cross curricular view;
    • an adult needs view;
    • a cultural heritage view;
    • a cultural analysis view.
    (5) Kingman Report, chapter 1, paragraph 11.


    [page 67]

    The first view is related to the view that the pupil's own native language or dialect must be respected: Standard English has to be treated very sensitively in schools, since dialect is so closely related to pupils' individual identity. The second and third views emphasise the importance of using Standard English for wider communication, inside and outside school. The fourth and fifth views relate to the fact that Standard English is a topic which pupils should reflect on, understand and analyse. A coherent school policy on Standard English is possible if it is recognised that all these views are legitimate. English as a curriculum subject has aims both within education and also outside education.

    4.33 On arrival at school, some pupils already speak Standard English: it is already their native dialect. Other pupils have to learn it, partly at school. A child's native language (including his or her native dialect) is an intimate part of individual and social identity. Adding a new dialect to the repertoire therefore has implications which go far beyond teaching pupils to spell or to structure their written work in clear ways.

    4.34 The development of pupils' ability to understand written and spoken Standard English and to produce written Standard English is unquestionably a responsibility of the English curriculum. Standard English is the variety used in the vast majority of printed and published English texts, though non-standard English is, of course, used in some imaginative literature. But aspects of written language are much more amenable to conscious control than aspects of spoken language. The main difference of opinion is likely to concern spoken production.

    School policies on teaching Standard English

    4.35 Standard English is the language of wider, non-regional, public communication, and should therefore be taught explicitly in relation to its uses in formal, public, and especially written language. Children should be able to make use of all the lines of communication which are important to them: within the family and the local community, but also in the wider community and in public life.

    4.36 A policy is required which recognises the educational and social importance of Standard English, but also respects the language background of the pupils. Schools should therefore develop the teaching of Standard English based on the following principles:

    • schools have the clear responsibility to ensure that all pupils become competent in Standard English, given its role as an international language used throughout the world and essential for many purposes. If they do not have this competence, then many areas of importance are closed to them, in cultural activities, in further and higher education, and in industry, commerce and the professions;
    • to be effective in their teaching of Standard English, schools should teach it in ways which do not denigrate the non-standard dialects spoken by many pupils. It should not be introduced at too early a stage; teaching pupils a new dialect may be confusing when they are learning many other aspects of language use. The profound implications for pupils' relationships with their families and communities should be recognised.
    4.37 There is considerable debate over when to expect pupils to use Standard English in writing: whether, for example, teaching the forms of Standard English in preparation for public examinations at age 16 is early enough. In our statements of attainment for written language, we advocate a gradual policy on the use of standard forms. When pupils are learning to write, they have many different things to attend to: physical aspects of handwriting, spelling, layout, sentence construction, etc. If, in addition, they are expected to use a new dialect, this may prove simply confusing.

    4.38 Schools should develop their own coherent policies, which are sensitive to their local circumstances, on exactly how and when Standard English should be taught. In general terms, we advocate that there should be explicit teaching about the nature and functions of Standard English in the top years of the primary school; that there should be the beginnings of the expectation of Standard English in written work when appropriate by the age of 11; that there should be the provision of opportunities for oral work where spoken Standard English would be a realistic expectation in the secondary school; and that all pupils should be in a position to choose to use Standard English in speech when appropriate by the age of 16.


    [page 68]

    Teaching Standard English

    4.39 The teaching of Standard English should be related to the teaching of public, formal, written varieties of English. A main focus should be on the differences between written and spoken English. For example, written language typically has to express things more explicitly, because it has to stand on its own. If the teaching concentrates on the relationship between language forms and use, then it need not reject the language of the home. These written forms must, in any case, be taught even to those children whose native dialect is Standard English, since spoken and written Standard English differ considerably in some respects. No one uses written Standard English as his or her native dialect.

    4.40 This is consistent with a general policy of widening the linguistic repertoire of pupils. It does assume, however, that teachers themselves have an accurate understanding of the differences between written Standard English, spoken Standard English and spoken local varieties of English.

    4.41 The uses of Standard English should be discussed explicitly with pupils. This has considerable implications for knowledge about language. Pupils need to be able to discuss the contexts in which Standard English is obligatory and those where its use is preferable for social reasons. By and large, the pressures in favour of Standard English will be greater when the language is written, formal and public. Non-standard forms may be much more widely tolerated - and, in some cases, preferred - when the language is spoken, informal and private.

    4.42 Standard English should form an important part of the teaching of knowledge about language: its historical, geographical and social distribution and the uses to which it is put (in different countries, in different areas of society, in print and in the mass media, etc). Teachers should encourage an interest in both rural (traditional) and urban dialects of English, by contrasting local non-standard dialects with Standard English, often using pupils as the linguistic experts on the former. The grammar of both should be discussed arid contrasted. Non-standard usages should be treated as objects of interest and value, and not ridiculed. Sometimes, with older pupils, it will be possible to discover the antecedents of a regional form in historical usage.

    4.43 For pupils who do not have Standard English as their native dialect, teaching Standard English should draw on their knowledge of other dialects or languages. The aim is to add Standard English to the repertoire, not to replace other dialects or languages. It should also be recognised that non-standard forms are systematic and not haphazard.

    4.44 The case of American English illustrates the principles set out in the previous paragraph. If British people go to live in the USA, it is questionable both whether they would want to alter their language to sound more American, rather than maintaining their own linguistic and cultural identity by marking this in their language, and whether they could be entirely successful in acquiring American dialect. Probably everyone living in the USA for more than a few weeks finds themselves using American words and expressions. But the question of grammar is much more difficult.

    4.45 An example is the case of got and gotten in American English. These sentences are grammatical:

    I've gotten a new car recently.
    We've gotten off at the wrong stop.
    They've gotten into trouble.
    while these are not:
    She gotten very wet last night.
    He's gotten blue eyes.
    The (grammatical) rules are that gotten is used only after the auxiliary verb have and it cannot be used in the sense of "possess", as in the last example above. Such rules may not be easily learnt by speakers of British English. This is exactly the situation which speakers of non-standard dialects are in, when they want to learn Standard English, except that the new grammatical forms to be learnt are more numerous.

    4.46 Teachers should differentiate clearly between different kinds of correction, and avoid indiscriminate correction. It can only be confusing to a pupil if features of dialect are "corrected" at the same time and in the same way as, for example, spelling errors. The latter may be due to carelessness, or to a principle which has not been grasped. But dialect features are not errors in this sense at all, but are characteristics of a pupil's native language. It is advisable to concentrate on (a) frequently-occurring non-


    [page 69]

    standard forms and (b) highly stigmatised forms. These will include forms of the verb to be, past tenses of a few highly frequent irregular verbs (eg do, see), personal pronouns and negatives.

    4.47 Teachers need to remember that:

    • all languages and dialects change over time;
    • spoken and written language differ significantly;
    • Standard English varies stylistically according to audience, purpose and situation;
    • some people have theories of correctness which often do not correspond with the facts of their own usage: their perceptions of language in use are often inaccurate.
    4.48 The aim is the competent use of Standard English. This aim is best attained by helping pupils to understand fully the linguistic and social nature of Standard English.

    Spoken Standard English

    4.49 Pupils need to be able to produce spoken Standard English if they are to have access to many public areas of life. However, although correcting written English is relatively unproblematic, the alteration of spoken English is more difficult. Several of the principles which apply to written Standard English, for example, the clear expression of meaning, apply equally to spoken English. But the main problem is that it is far more difficult to teach a new spoken dialect because so many aspects of spoken production are automatic and below the level of conscious control.

    4.50 It is therefore important for us to set out some principles for the learning process:

    • there is little point in correcting the spoken language of pupils in any general way and as part of their routine language use because it is unlikely to have a beneficial effect: against the pressures of home and the peer group, teachers can have little hope of changing how pupils speak. Moreover, criticism of pupils' spoken language will be interpreted as criticism of their families and friends;
    • if teachers concentrate on pupils' competence in written Standard English, pupils will gain sufficient knowledge of Standard English to be able to convert this into competence in spoken Standard English when appropriate. Research (6) shows that secondary pupils do use fewer non-standard forms in talk with the teacher than they do in the playground;
    • it is helpful to set up situations in which it is natural to use Standard English. Role-play may often be appropriate: in drama, or in media work (for example in producing news programmes), but also in class panel discussions, debates, etc. Standard English is the language of wider communication. It is therefore desirable to enable pupils to widen the circle of their audience: small groups within the classroom, larger groups in the class or in the school, and, for more public presentation of ideas, with pupils from other schools or with adult strangers. Pupils should be able to take the roles in which spoken Standard English is conventional: radio presenter, interviewer, expert in front of lay audience, etc;
    • if people need to learn a language for some real purpose, then they learn it. Furthermore, the desire to join a group is often very strong indeed. If pupils are motivated to learn to use spoken Standard English, because they wish to adopt a social role, then they will learn it if they are given the appropriate educational experiences and opportunities.
    4.51 In order to be able to talk to their pupils about grammar in ways which we feel can be enlightening and purposeful, teachers will need an account of English grammar which enables them to identify and describe grammatical differences between written and spoken English and between standard and non-standard varieties; to recognise that certain grammatical constructions can be chosen to ensure the intended meaning is expressed with precision and clarity; and to understand some of the ways in which sentences are built up into texts. Here, the kinds of concepts that are important are the ways sentences can be linked together; ways new ideas can be introduced and given due prominence; ways that references to a number of different people (or objects or ideas) can be kept clear throughout a complicated passage; ways that unnecessary repetition can be avoided, and so on.

    4.52 It is not possible within the scope of this Report for us to provide a grammatical description of English of the kind that we think teachers will

    (6) Cheshire, J. (1982) Dialect features and linguistic conflict in schools. Educational Review 34, 53 to 67.


    [page 70]

    want if they are to show how meaning is constructed in different kinds of language, both spoken and written. But in order to show how some of the ideas in 4.51 might be fleshed out we give here two very brief examples of grammatical description. We hope they serve to show what we mean by grammar, and that an analysis of form is not an end in itself but needs to be related to meaning and use.

    Two examples of grammatical description

    4.53 (i) Connectives

    In spontaneous speech and personal writing, clauses are frequently connected by the words and, then and but. Then usually links actions or events in a chronological sequence, while but signals a contrast between two clauses, eg

    They played well but they lost.
    Sometimes, as in this example, the contrast is obvious in the language itself (play well v lose); on other occasions, the contrast may be only in the speaker's mind, eg
    Their house is small but it's very clean.
    Here the use of but suggests that the speaker thinks small houses are likely to be dirty. So looking at clauses joined by but is one way of revealing a speaker's or writer's underlying unstated assumptions.

    By far the commonest of these three connectives is and. It is popular with both children and adults because it has a range of different meanings. Therefore, it provides a multi-purpose connective which is particularly useful when we are producing speech without pause for planning or time for selecting a precise alternative. The following edited transcript of spontaneous speech by an 8 year old boy shows and being used extensively to hold the narrative together:

    "there was this witch doctor and Scooby Doo was - he was standing by the witch doctor and the witch doctor went in and he went - he went chasing him Scooby Doo went in the cupboard with Shaggy and got some clothes on and they were acting on and then the witch doctor pressed the button and they turned on again then and then Scooby was acting and then they just take him and he keeped on switching it until they all came round and the all clothes fell off him.'' (7)

    And frequently signals a chronologically ordered sequence, eg

    Scooby Doo went in the cupboard with Shaggy and got some clothes on.
    Another kind of ordering is where and suggests a cause and effect relationship, eg
    the witch doctor pressed the button and they turned on again.
    In these ordered relationships it is not possible to alter the order of the clauses. When and links two simultaneous actions there is no intrinsic ordering, eg
    Roger mowed the lawn and Linda weeded the flower beds.
    It is also possible for two actions to be conjoined in a simple additive way without any suggestion of temporal or causal relationship, eg
    On holiday last year I lost my purse and Di lost her passport.
    Since and expresses so many connective meanings and as it is so frequent in speech it is not surprising that young children sometimes overuse it in their writing, as in this piece by an 8 year old boy:
    "When I played with the Lego I built a bridge. It was a long bridge. And it had slats on it. And it had a slope for the cars to go up. And we made two cars one big and one small. And I made a garage. With a fence all the way round the garage. And we made a road. It wasn't a long road. And I like Lego because you can make things with it." [spellings corrected]
    One important function of and in a piece of writing like this is to signal to the reader that the sentences are meant to be read together as an integrated whole. Older and more skilful writers do not merely signal that succeeding ideas are linked; they use a number of different connectives, not only to introduce variety but also in order to make the meaning relationship as precise as possible. The common connectives and, then, and but will sometimes be exactly right. But with time for planning and reflection, writers can choose from a wider range. So chronological sequence may be marked by next, after that, subsequently etc; cause and effect relationships can be expressed by so, therefore, accordingly, consequently etc; simultaneous actions can be joined by while or as; additive relationships can be indicated by also, in addition, furthermore, moreover etc.; and contrastive relationships can be expressed by although, however, nevertheless, even so, and so on. Some of these connectives would seem stilted and inappropriately formal in conversation or personal writing such as a

    (7) R Fawcett & M Perkins (1980) Child Language Transcripts, volume II, page 22.


    [page 71]

    friendly letter but they occur frequently in formal expository writing. The reason for their use is that they make the task of interpretation easier for the reader. Particularly when the subject matter is demanding or unfamiliar (as in much academic writing), it is important that the relationship between ideas is signalled as clearly as possible. So the use of varied connectives is not just a matter of stylistic preference; it is also a mark of consideration for the reader.

    Schoolchildren are often told, 'Never begin a sentence with and'. It is important to recognise that this should not be an absolute proscription: some fine writers of English use and at the beginning of a sentence when it suits their purposes, eg

    And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 3. Authorised Version).
    (Lest it be thought that that example does not count because it is 17th century English, it is worth noting that modern translations retain the and at the beginning of that verse.) However, an overuse of and is both irritating and unhelpful. Pupils need to learn by reading a wide variety of well-written texts some of the other ways in which sentences and clauses can be joined. They will need to take account of meaning, of appropriateness to audience and purpose, and of structure - since, unlike and, some of the alternative connectives are not tied to the beginning of the sentence, eg
    He said, moreover, that he was not prepared to tolerate further delay.
    4.54 (ii) Passive sentences

    In an active sentence the subject of the sentence generally performs the action of the verb, eg

    The policeman arrested the burglar.
    Here, the subject, the policeman, is doing the arresting and the burglar (the grammatical object) is affected by this action. In a passive sentence the person or thing affected by the action of the verb occurs as subject of the sentence:
    The burglar was arrested by the policeman.
    Now the former active subject (the policeman) occurs after the verb. It is not only the order of words that has changed, however, but also the form of the verb itself since the active verb arrested becomes was arrested in the passive.

    As both the active and the passive sentence mean the same thing, it is reasonable to ask why we need both. In fact, the passive has two particular advantages and these provide the reasons for its most characteristic uses.

    First, it enables us to omit the word (or phrase) that is the subject in the active sentence. This is important because - apart from commands and elliptical colloquial exchanges - it is not possible to omit the subject in English, even when the meaning is completely obvious; for example, we have to say, It is raining, not Is raining. By turning an active sentence into the passive we get a new subject and are able to omit the old one, eg

    The burglar was arrested.
    There are a number of reasons why we might want to omit the subject. It may be uninteresting, or even unknown, eg
    The kitchen window has been broken.
    The active version of this would have to be something like:
    Someone (or something) has broken the kitchen window.
    On the other hand, we may know the subject but not want to reveal it to our listener, eg
    I have been told that your work is unsatisfactory.
    Here the passive enables the speaker to conceal the identity of the informant. In academic writing (particularly in science), the convention has grown up that the writer or experimenter does not feature in the text: it is the passive that makes this possible, eg
    In the course of the survey, 50 old-age pensioners were interviewed and their housing preferences noted.
    An active sentence would have to refer to the interviewer(s). Another reason why the passive is used in writing is that it can reduce repetition. If several actions have been performed by the same people then, if the sentences describing the events are active, the same subject will have to be repeated, eg
    Members of the community association worked very hard preparing for the annual village show. They redecorated the village hall. They sanded and polished the floor. They replaced the lights and they mended all the broken furniture.
    The passive version can get rid of all the theys and introduce more variety in subject position:
    ... The village hall was redecorated. The floor was sanded and polished. The lights were replaced and all the broken furniture was mended.
    The second advantage of passive sentences is that they have a different word order from active sentences. Both speakers and writers find this useful when they are referring to two things, one animate, one inanimate. That is because there is a stylistic preference in English


    [page 72]

    for putting animates before inanimates. For example, the passive sentence:

    The cyclist was knocked down by a van.
    is more likely than its active counterpart,
    A van knocked down the cyclist.
    The fact that the passive brings about alterations of word order gives it a special function in writing, because it provides one means by which a writer can link sentences smoothly together and achieve the desired emphasis. There is a preference in written English for sentences within one paragraph to begin with an idea that has already been mentioned. (When a sentence begins with something completely new this usually signals the beginning of a new paragraph.) The corollary of this is that new information tends to occur towards the end of the sentence. Accordingly, a typical sequence of sentences in writing is:
    Yesterday at the Royal Albert Hall there was music-making on a grand scale by young people from all over the United Kingdom, with a prize for the best overall performance. It was won by the Cheshire Youth Orchestra, who were in jubilant mood as they left for the journey home.
    Here, a prize is mentioned in the first sentence. The use of the passive It was won allows the prize to reappear at the beginning of the second sentence, and delays the introduction of the new information about the winners. A speaker might well use an active sentence and say, "The Cheshire Youth Orchestra won it" but this would seem rather awkward and disjointed in writing.

    Although there are several reasons why passive sentences can be useful for the writer then, it is worth noticing that if passives are overused they can produce writing that is unappealingly arid.

    References

    4.55 Some teachers may not be aware of the many detailed discussions available on dialects of English, Caribbean Creoles, and English usage. We therefore list some below:

    On standard and non-standard dialects of English:

    Milroy, L & Milroy, J (1985), Authority in Language. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Stubbs, M (1986), What is Standard English? In M Stubbs Educational Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Trudgill, P (1975), Accent, Dialect and the School. London: Edward Arnold.

    On Caribbean Creoles:

    Edwards, V K (1979), The West Indian Language Issue in British Schools. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Sutcliffe, D (1982), British Black English. Oxford: Blackwell.

    On usage:

    Crystal, D (1985), Who Cares about English Usage? Harmondsworth: Penguin.

    Nash, W (1986), English Usage. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    On correcting pupils' work:

    Gannon, P (1985), Assessing Written Language. London: Arnold.

    Richmond, J (1982), The Resources of Classroom Language. London: Arnold.




    [page 73]

    5 Linguistic terminology

    "The cultivation of reflectiveness, or whatever you choose to call it, is one of the great problems one faces in devising curriculum." (1)

    5.1 Our Terms of Reference require us to build on the recommendations of the Kingman Report with respect to children's knowledge of "the grammatical structure of the English language", and more generally with respect to "children's explicit and implicit knowledge about language". The relation between implicit and explicit knowledge about language, and the terminology required to discuss language, are topics which cause much debate. We have therefore decided to devote a separate chapter to a relatively substantial statement about some of the issues involved, and then to pick up the details at appropriate places under discussion of programmes of study and attainment targets. The discussion here is relevant to the curriculum at both primary and secondary levels.

    5.2 This chapter of the Report is about terminology. It does not make proposals about programmes of study. It discusses only by implication what children should know about language. Knowing terminology is emphatically not all there is to knowing about language, and we outline in chapter 6 those aspects of knowledge about language that we believe should form an essential part of the secondary curriculum in English.

    5.3 Knowledge about language, including the use of terminology, is an important part of children's work in English. Teachers constantly use technical terms to talk about language with their pupils. (A quite false picture of teachers' practice in this respect has been drawn by much discussion in the mass media.) The main function of such terminology, however, is to consolidate what is already known intuitively. What is already known can be extended and made more explicit and conscious by terminology.

    Linguistic terminology - examples of classroom practice

    5.4 We start with a brief example of what should be typical of normal practice, and we then provide a detailed account of a teacher and pupils using linguistic terminology to discuss language together.

    5.5 At a primary school visited by members of the Working Group a class of 5 and 6 year olds were making entries in a folder entitled "My Own Sentences". The teacher had discussed a topic with the children, and then encouraged them to write down sentences constructed from words used in their own speech. The teacher had helped them with the capital letter to begin the sentence and the full stop at the end. She had not made them learn a definition of a sentence, which would be entirely inappropriate for this age group, nor did she ask them to complete meaningless exercises. The children were being encouraged to learn about sentences by using them in a real context.

    5.6 The next, more extended, example shows that discussions of language and the use of linguistic terms in the classroom do not entail children having to spend time on exercises labelling parts of speech.

    5.7 The following extracts are from transcripts of an audio-recorded classroom discussion with five first-year juniors, in a north London primary school. K is the teacher; L is another teacher, but not the regular class-teacher; A, B, H, N and P are the children. The comments after each extract are the teacher's own. The extracts illustrate several things:

    • children's natural instinct to play with language and their metalinguistic awareness;
    • the teacher's role in developing such awareness;
    • the large number of terms which can arise in such discussion: palindrome, word, spell, sentence, name, alphabetical order, story, rule, vowel, letter, rhyme, dot/full stop.
    Extract 1

    N: Palindromes are a word where you can spell them the other way like dad ... and toot.
    P: And you can do it in numbers.
    A: And it goes back the same way.
    5L: And toot?
    A: And Panama.
    N: Yeh 'cos you just turn it round and it goes toot.
    L: Like this? (writes the word toot) then if I
    10 turn it around ...

    (1) The Relevance of Education, J S Bruner, Penguin, 1974.


    [page 75]

    N: It's just the same.
    H: It's exactly the same. A: Toot!
    N: Yeh and if you do another one underneath
    15it'd just be the same.
    L: What's another one?
    A: Backwards, backwards it's just the same. H: (as she re-writes toot): T..O..O..T
    A: Like Panama.
    20K: Panama isn't a sentence on its own. What's the whole sentence?
    H: Was it a cat I saw. That's another one.
    K: Was it a cat I saw?! Can you write that one down?
    25(Hedda writes the sentence.) N: Was it a ... elephant I saw?
    K: That wouldn't work would it? H: ... cat ... I ... saw ...

    Teacher's comments

    I had recently talked about palindromes and palindromic numbers with the class. This had caused great excitement, and many of the children attempted to make up their own.

    Whenever I talk about language with a group of children, be it this style of informal discussion or a more structured shared writing session, I always have a large sheet of paper handy so that ideas can be shared by all. The children feel free to take hold of the pen and write (see lines 18, 25).

    Here is an instance where I am able to extend the discussion:

    Extract 2

    H: My name backwards is in alphabetical order.
    L: Is it?
    A: Is it? .. Hedda? .. Yes it is.
    5All: A...D...D...E...H.
    K: Gosh that's wonderful. And Paul, yours is LUAP. Yours is NEB.
    B: Neb.
    P: Hello Neb. I'm Luap.
    10K: What's her name backwards?
    A: Mine's Noraa, isn't it?

    Teacher's comments

    Hedda is a fluent reader and was well aware of alphabetical order at the start of her top infant year. Her reference here is totally spontaneous but may have been influenced by some of the class activities. We had spent time earlier this year working on alphabetical order and had had fun re-writing various words alphabetically. Similarly, we had a register of names backwards (in addition to one in alphabetical order, one in descending age and one by surname). Her comment stimulates an examination of everyone's name.

    Extract 3

    K: Do you think there might be something ... But do you think that when the person who invented words invented palindromes, they did it specially ...
    5A: But there's no-one who invented words.
    N: Captain Caveman did.
    K: Who did?
    N: Captain Caveman.
    K: Invented words?
    10N: CAPTAIN CAVEMAN!
    K: Aaron, how do you know ... How do you know no one invented them?
    A: Well because it's not really possible that one person found out all these words like ...
    15dinosaur ... tyrannosaurus rex ...
    P: Dinosaur ... um ... isn't English.
    K: Isn't it? Where's that from?
    P: Um ... it's ... I'm not sure what country.
    A: Probably and as well.
    20 P: No, it means ... um ... "big lizard" K: That makes sense, doesn't it. It fits in.

    Teacher's comments

    1. This extract begins with an outrageous statement by me!! Luckily, Aaron jumps on this and challenges me.

    6. Captain Caveman is a cartoon character.

    16. Paul volunteers some information which is then accepted and built on. The children's expertise and knowledge is valued.

    19. Aaron's brief interjection could become the basis for a further discussion. In this instance however, I was more concerned to draw Paul into the discussion.

    20. Paul concludes his contribution with a definition that is accurate and presumably drawn from his personal interest in prehistoric life.

    Extract 4

    K: Have you invented any words in your time?
    A: Yes, in my stories I just make them up. I just do any words ...
    5K: What rules then do you make to make them up?
    A: I just come up with the words.
    K: What, you must have some -
    P: What, like rzthzn?


    [page 75]

    10K: Aaron, you wouldn't make this a word, would you? (As she writes zyghpzgh. They all try to read it.)
    Why couldn't that be a word?
    A: 'Cos I don't just write it down. What I do is
    15to find out the word and then I just write it down.
    K: But you must have something -
    N: I know ... ain't got no ... wait ... what's it called? ... vowels. Ain't got any vowels!
    20K: Very good Niki! He's right you know, and you missed that one Aaron. It couldn't possibly be a word, could it? Actually, unfortunately Niki, why is sometimes y a sort of a -
    25H: Because i and y are sort of the same letters together.

    Teacher's comments

    3. Aaron is a talented and prolific story writer. His writing is very strongly influenced by that of C S Lewis and his stories are full of imaginary characters with fantasy names.

    5. Rules is a word that the children are used to. When we talk about spelling they are made aware that there are conventions of written language. However, we also kept a note of "silly spellings", ie those that broke the rules eg ocean, and instances where words that looked the same sounded different eg tough, cough, bough. They quickly realised that simply learning sound! symbol rules was not enough.

    11. I deliberately chose a nonsense word that excluded vowels.

    18. It is Niki who sees the "deliberate mistake"! I was thrilled at this because he is unable to read as yet and I wrongly assumed that he therefore had little metalinguistic awareness.

    25. Vowels was a term that the class met last year in top infants. I mentioned y at the time, but I would imagine that this is something Hedda has realised for herself. However, I am able to give her the cue to articulate this knowledge.

    Extract 5

    L: Could you just make up a word Paul?
    A: It just comes up.
    H: I couldn't.
    N: Henya.
    5K: You could be sneaky -
    L: What was your word Niki?
    N: Kinder!
    K: Kinder's the chocolate eggs though.
    N: No, 'cos it's a German word ... children ...
    10K: That's right.
    N: I was tryin' to get away with it.
    K: Niki, henya, how do you think you spell henya?
    B: Henya, hey that's odd! My mum wasn't ...
    15my mum wasn't born in henya, but she was born in Kenya!
    K: Kenya. That rhymes with henya. So let's think, if you know how to spell Kenya, we can probably guess how to spell henya.
    20A: That's really funny -
    H: The c, the c ... the c is not a c it's an h ...
    K: How do you spell Kenya?
    B: I don't know.
    A: K...E...N...
    25K: You should know 'cos Hettie lives there.
    A: ...Y...A

    Teacher's comments

    7. When I ask Niki to repeat his word, he actually changes it.

    8. Kinder eggs are the small chocolate eggs that contain simple toy construction kits.

    9. Niki is quite right! Presumably this is something he has learnt as a result of liking these eggs! This is another instance where the children's own knowledge is built on.

    12. I wanted to draw the discussion back to Niki's original word.

    14. Ben's interjection illustrates how young children's minds are able to work. Word play and nonsense rhymes are a significant way in to developing a metalinguistic awareness.

    17. I then crystallise and extend Ben's contribution.

    21. Hedda is busy trying to work out the spelling; she is using her knowledge of initial sounds.

    Extract 6

    K: The dots aren't just something that we think Hah! let's make their life miserable. There's a very good reason why we put dots, isn't there?
    5H: Yeah, so you know ...
    A: So you know
    B: It's 'cos you need full stops, 'cos if you didn't have full stops in books, books would be enormous, they would reach Pluto!
    10K: No, they'd just be one sentence long, wouldn't they?
    (indecipherable chatter).
    A: No, because you'd have the "there-he-is-the-thief-and-the-bone ..." You wouldn't
    15know what's happening.
    H: You wouldn't have a rest, you wouldn't have the time for a rest.
    A: You wouldn't know what's happening.


    [page 76]

    L: So ... what do full stops do?
    20H: They give you a rest, they kind of breathe.
    L: Here's a tricky question for you then. Do you think people use full stops when they talk?
    A: No, of course they don't.
    25H: Yes, yes they do [if] they breathe in the middle of it somehow.
    N: When they ... Hello, then they have a little blow.
    A: You have a little rest.

    Teacher's comments

    1. I introduced the discussion about full stops after one of the children made a reference to finding it hard to remember about them.

    7. Although I used the word dot, the children quickly switch to full stop.

    7 to 19. The children have a brief discussion about the function of full stops. Interestingly, it is the three fluent readers who contribute. They all use full stops accurately in their writing but seem unable to give a precise definition. Does this conversation reflect explicit knowledge about "sentence boundaries"? (Kingman attainment target at 7 - no. 3).

    25. Hedda's definition of sentence boundaries is linked to reading aloud. I would argue that this is a crucial part of developing awareness of sentence structure.

    27. Niki quietly interjects one of his rhymes, which in this instance makes good sense!

    29. Aaron corrects Niki's meaning.

    Rationale

    5.8 Many English teachers worry, quite rightly, about linguistic terminology because of the danger that it might be taught as an end in itself: for example, in the past, children have had to learn the names of parts of speech, without their purpose being evident.

    5.9 Furthermore, many English teachers feel guilty about teaching terminology at all, probably because of criticism of bad practice in the past. There is no reason why they should: teachers of all subjects require technical terms for important concepts. English teachers require technical terms to be able to make conceptual distinctions which are important to their subject. It would be inefficient and uneconomical to avoid such terminology when it can be used to crystallise a concept. The Kingman Report recommends ways of facilitating informed reflection and comment on aspects of language. Words are aids to thinking, tools for learning: they can consolidate implicit awareness. (See also the Kingman Report, chapter 2, paragraph 30.) This is a cognitive rationale for using linguistic terms.

    5.10 In addition, our use of our mother tongue is often so automatic and habitual, and so much a part of our individual and social identity, that help is needed to stand back and reflect on aspects of language with some degree of objectivity. It also points to a social rationale: this reflective stance, helped by the use of appropriate terms, can encourage a tolerance of linguistic diversity through the recognition that all languages are rule-governed and systematic. (See also the Kingman Report, chapter 4, paragraph 33.)

    5.11 Linguistic terms are required in order to allow teachers and pupils to discuss children's own written and spoken work (see also the Kingman Report, chapter 2, paragraph 29, and paragraph 5.25 below); language diversity; and aspects of literature. Many terms have traditionally been used in literary criticism.

    Linguistic terminology and discovery learning

    5.12 Questions of pedagogy are crucial in discussions of linguistic terminology. It is often assumed that to argue for the value of linguistic terminology is also to argue for the learning and testing of such terms in exercises and drills. But these things by no means necessarily go together.

    5.13 In an article on discovery learning, Bruner discusses the learning of grammar. He starts from the process of leading children to discover what is in their own heads, and describes a lesson on sentence structure. This involved writing a sentence on the board, and getting the children to form similar sentences:

    Themanatehislunch.
    Aboystoleabike.
    Thedogchasedmycat.
    Myfatherskiddedthecar.
    Awindblewhishat.

    5.14 Usually, he says, they use their intuitive knowledge of the language to form sentences with the same structure. It is then possible to ask


    [page 77]

    how different combinations of the words are possible, such as:

    Amanstolemycat.
    Myfatherchasedhishat.

    5.15 Other questions can also be introduced: how is it possible to go on forming such sentences for ever? What columns are emerging in the sentences? Can other columns be added? Bruner writes:

    "[The children] talked about the family of words which would fit [in the various columns] ... Only then did we introduce some terminology. We talked about type and order ... We were soon building up the idea of productivity ... Once the children break into an idea in language, once they get a sense of a distinction, they quickly "turn around" on their own usage and make remarkable strides towards linguistic understanding. The only point I would make is that you must wait until they are willing reflectively to turn around before you start operating with the abstractions." (2)

    5.16 Terms are needed to allow teachers and pupils to discuss many aspects of language. But it is important that the terms are introduced as they are needed, in order to focus attention on important distinctions or similarities. Their meaning will be apparent because they relate to an immediate context. They should be introduced to initiate linguistic understanding, serving as a focus for wider discussion, when the teacher judges that an intervention to make something explicit will help the pupil. (See also the Kingman Report, chapter 1, paragraph 12 and chapter 2, paragraphs 28 to 29.) Indeed they must be introduced on occasions, if discussion is not to remain unformed, vague and inexplicit. However, terms should not be introduced through drills.

    5.17 In a typical situation, a teacher might introduce terms such as paragraph, sentence, topic sentence, phrase, cohesion or reference, if a pupil is having difficulty with some aspect of the textual organisation of his or her writing. (See the Kingman Report, chapter 4, paragraph 3 onwards.) Terms such as accent, Received Pronunciation, dialect, slang or style might be introduced to make more precise distinctions which are required for an understanding of linguistic diversity.

    Linguistic terminology and children's writing development

    5.18 An erroneous assumption is the belief that the sole or primary use of linguistic terminology is to help children's writing development. This is certainly important, but it is not the only purpose, and perhaps not even the main one.

    5.19 There is a view that teaching children explicitly about language is retrogressive. This is often based on the argument that grammatical drills and exercises (usually called clause analysis or parsing) have been shown by research not to help, and sometimes actually to hinder, children's writing. There is indeed quite a lot of research, mainly done between the 1920s and the 1950s, which shows a lack of correlation between teaching children about one form of grammar and their ability to write well. The claim is that such exercises do not help understanding (since the view of grammar on which they are based is limited and inaccurate), and that they do not help control over composition.

    5.20 However, the research is of only limited relevance, since it is mainly evidence against only one particular form of knowledge about language, and questions of pedagogy are generally ignored:

    • the research usually assumes a particular form of grammar teaching, usually referred to, not entirely accurately, as "traditional", "Latinate" parsing or clause analysis. It has not been shown that other forms of teaching about the structure of sentences would not help children's writing;
    • the research generally refers to teaching about sentence structure: grammar in the narrow sense. It did not investigate the possible advantages of teaching about textual structure or language variation more generally. However, it is very plausible that children's writing will be improved if they know more about language in general: how it varies to suit different purposes and different audiences; how effects are achieved in literary and non-literary texts; why some structures are ambiguous and likely to lead to misunderstanding; and so on. It is difficult to believe that such knowledge does not help children's writing development. This is an area where (as the Kingman Report puts it), there is no positive advantage in ignorance. (3)
    (2) Some elements of discovery, J S Bruner, 1965. From The Relevance of Education, Penguin 1974.

    (3) Kingman Report, chapter 1, paragraph 12.


    [page 78]

    5.21 Performance does seem to be helped by the systematic discussion of language in use: eg the match between language, situation and purpose; and elements larger than individual sentences. These aspects of language performance are more under conscious control than are aspects of sentence structure and morphology. The same arguments apply to children's spoken language. Again, it seems to help performance to reflect consciously about the higher levels of linguistic organisation - how spoken language can be organised to suit audience, topic and purpose.

    5.22 In addition, quite apart from the debate over the relation between grammar teaching and writing development, there are several other valid justifications for teaching explicitly about language. The simplest one is that the world would be a better place if people were better able to talk coherently about the many language problems which arise in contemporary society. Language is an essential part of our cultural environment, and the diffusion of coherent knowledge about language is an important aim of the English curriculum.

    Curriculum content and teaching sequence

    5.23 The Kingman Report (chapter 3 and appendix 8) presents a model of language in four parts:

    • forms;
    • communication; comprehension;
    • acquisition;
    • variation.
    5.24 These are logical components of the model. There is no priority amongst them: all four parts are necessary. And there is no implication that children start by learning about language forms, and then eventually progress to learning about, say, dialects. Nevertheless, these implications have been taken by many readers.

    5.25 For the purpose of formulating a curriculum, it is more helpful to present things in the following order:

    • starting from statements about what it is important for children to know about language: eg its uses in literature, language variation, bilingualism, language change, ambiguities and problems in communication, the writing system, etc.
    • then showing that some terminology is required to discuss such things: terms are taught in context, for a purpose.
    5.26 Two problems are thus solved at once: it becomes clear that terminology does not refer only to grammar; and the reasons for the terminology come before the terminology itself. Terms are used as a way of encouraging active thinking about language and its uses.

    Terminology about forms, functions, varieties

    5.27 When talking about grammar, many people tend to limit discussion to parts of speech and to simple structures at sentence level. When talking about terminology there is a tendency to focus on terms such as noun, verb, etc, and on isolated features of surface structure (punctuation, the apostrophe, spellings of individual words, etc).

    Language forms

    5.28 Terms for grammatical surface structure are certainly necessary. However, as the Kingman Report makes clear, the structure of language means not only grammar (in the sense of sentence syntax) but also phonology, graphology, vocabulary, and discourse organisation, and terms are needed for:

    • the sounds of English (pronunciation or accent);
    • the spelling and writing system of English;
    • the grammar of English (ie sentence syntax);
    • the semantic relations between words in English vocabulary as a whole and in texts;
    • the textual or discourse structure of English.
    5.29 The above points refer to English; but the grammar of different languages requires different terms. This is precisely why a Latinate grammar cannot simply be transferred to English. This is not necessarily a central problem, but the Kingman Report does recommend that pupils should understand something of the systematic nature of languages other than English. (4) It is essential to avoid

    (4) Kingman Report, chapter 5, attainment target 13 for age 16.


    [page 79]

    discussing one language variety in terms appropriate only to another. It is, however, unfortunately very common for people to discuss spoken language as though it was a deviation from written English, and to discuss non-standard varieties of English as deviations from Standard English.

    5.30 We do not propose to specify lists of terms and concepts which should be taught. This could have a very restricting effect on teaching and assessment. (See also the Kingman Report, chapter 4, paragraph 16.) It is the responsibility of teachers themselves to decide on and introduce terms as they become necessary at different stages in teaching. (See also the Kingman Report, chapter 3, paragraph 2; chapter 4, paragraph 15.) However, we wish to stress the principle that the set of terms should not be restricted to those for parts of speech. Terms should be introduced, as appropriate, to allow teachers and pupils to discuss the topics set out in the sections which follow. In each case some examples are given of the kinds of terms which are likely to be necessary. Some will be needed from the early years of the primary school (eg letter, full stop, sentence, etc); others are not likely to be introduced before the secondary school (eg presupposition, genre, creole, etc).

    • the sounds of English: pronunciation, accent, consonant, vowel, syllable, elision, assimilation, intonation, stress, rhythm, etc
    • the spelling and writing system of English: letter, capital letter, alphabet, punctuation.Tull stop, question mark, exclamation mark, quotation (speech) marks, apostrophe, etc
    • words: loan word, prefix, word ending, word structure, Latinate word, pun, lexical and grammatical words, etc
    • the sentence grammar of English: adjective, adverb, noun, proper noun, verb, main verb, auxiliary verb, preposition, conjunction, etc singular, plural, possessive, tense, etc
      negative, comparative, superlative, etc
      subject, object, etc
    • the semantic relations in the vocabulary of English: ambiguity, appropriateness, collocation, synonymy, antonymy, paraphrase, dictionary, thesaurus, etc
    • the structure of (written) texts: paragraph, sentence, phrase, topic sentence, cohesion, reference, heading, sub-heading, etc.
    Language functions

    5.31 A range of terms is also likely to be needed to help teachers and pupils to discuss aspects of spoken and written language, in which pupils are required to do a range of things with their language: engage in small group collaborative discussions, present mini-lectures, explain and persuade, write narratives, descriptions and arguments, etc.

    5.32 Terms of the following kinds are likely to be needed:

    • for speech acts:
      eg describe, report, summarise, explain, request, instruct, argue, etc.
      (there may be a difference between such terms in everyday and descriptive use: to argue for a point of view is not at all the same as having an argument, though this is a common confusion.)
    • for different speech events:
      eg conversation, lecture, discussion, narrative, report, etc.
    Communication and comprehension

    5.33 One fear of many English teachers is that a terminology for language forms takes attention away from the meaning of language. This is not necessarily true at all. On the contrary, it is essential sometimes to focus on language forms, in order to discuss cases where there is a difference between form and meaning, between what is said and what is meant.

    5.34 Terms of the following kinds are likely to be needed:

    • for different kinds of meaning, direct or indirect:
      inference, presupposition, connotation, referential vs emotive meaning, irony, etc.
    Language acquisition

    5.35 Knowledge about the way children acquire language is obviously important to teachers. It can also be very interesting to pupils, and important, for example, in preparation for parenthood. For these reasons, it is a common topic on many language awareness courses. It may not, however, require any particular terminology that is not dealt with elsewhere.


    [page 80]

    Language varieties

    5.36 Variety in language arises because language changes according to topic, addressee, the formality of the setting, the nature of the task. It also changes over historical time, in different geographical regions, and in different social groups, defined by ethnicity, class, gender, occupation and so on. The main concept, which goes against much traditional thinking about language, is that such change is a natural and inevitable process.

    5.37 One of the most important topics for pupils to be able to discuss explicitly is the difference between spoken and written English. Terminology is required in particular here to allow distinctions to be made between prescriptive and descriptive approaches to language, and to show that the grammar of spoken English is different from that of written English, and not just a haphazard deviation from it.

    5.38 Terms of the following kinds are likely to be needed:

    • for aspects of language variation:
      eg formal language, casual or colloquial language, slang;
      first language, second language,foreign language; accent, dialect, creole, international language, lingua franca;
      historical, geographical and social dialects.

    Literary texts

    5.39 The terminology used in discussing literary texts has been left till last because it is the one which has traditionally been most familiar to English teachers. Many of the terms proposed above are relevant to discussing the features of poems and prose from a literary point of view, and English teachers have many other terms at their disposal for discussing genre, stylistic effects, etc.

    5.40 Terms of the following kinds are likely to be needed, but English teachers will be able to add many other examples:

    • for aspects of literary texts:
      genre, point of view, irony, metaphor, simile, etc plot, character, setting, denouement, etc alliteration, rhyme, stress, rhythm, metre, etc.

    The example of Standard English

    5.41 Chapter 4 discussed the place of Standard English in the curriculum. Competence in Standard English is clearly a central aim of the English curriculum. What is at issue at this point in our Report is the terminology required for adequate knowledge about Standard English. To understand what Standard English is, terms are required to discuss its forms and functions, and its historical, geographical and social distribution. To illustrate this we provide three brief paragraphs on Standard English: the technical terms which are necessary to write this are in italics.

    5.42 "Standard English is usually analysed by linguists as a dialect of English. On purely linguistic grounds, it is not inherently superior to other non-standard dialects of English, but it clearly has social prestige. This is partly because of the purposes which it now serves: it is the expected language in the education system and other social institutions (such as the courts and business), in almost all published writing, and it has also spread far beyond its historical base in Britain and is used as an international language in many parts of the world. Non-standard dialects of English are regional dialects: that is, they are relatively restricted in their geographical spread. Standard English used to be restricted in this way: if we look at Standard English as an historical dialect, then we find that 200 years ago it had a much smaller number of speakers in England, and had nothing like the geographical spread it has nowadays. Standard English is also a social dialect: its use is a marker of social group membership, and the relationship between standard and non-standard dialects and social class in Britain is particularly strong.

    5.43 "Although Standard English is not inherently superior to other dialects of English, it is nevertheless true that, because of its long use especially in writing for academic and administrative purposes, the vocabulary and to some extent the sentence syntax of Standard English have been greatly elaborated. Non-standard dialects have the potential to be so developed, but for social and historical reasons they have not been.

    5.44 "Standard English can be spoken with different regional accents, though one particular accent, Received Pronunciation, has special prestige in England. (The USA, Scotland and other parts of


    [page 81]

    the English-speaking world have other prestigious accents.) In general, speakers of Standard English in different parts of the British Isles and elsewhere in the world may use the same grammar and vocabulary, but different pronunciations. For example, many speakers from the USA, Scotland or south-west England pronounce the "r" sound after the vowel in words such as car and farm; most speakers in southeast England do not. Accent refers to pronunciation. Dialect refers to grammar and vocabulary. Standard English and non-standard dialects differ in grammar and vocabulary. Most people know some regional dialect words: eg bairn for child in Scottish English. And dialects differ in grammar: for example, Standard English has I was, you were, he was, we were, they were; many non-standard dialects have (more regularly, as it happens) I was, you was, he was, we was, they was. In the non-standard dialects, the same verb form is used in the past tense for first, second and third person, singular and plural, (as is the case in all verbs in Standard English apart from the highly irregular verb to be)."

    5.45 The paragraphs show that discussion about Standard English requires terms for sounds (accent, pronunciation); spellings; vocabulary; grammar; dialects (geographical, historical, social); and functions or purposes.

    5.46 Several of the terms in italics are also used in everyday English. However, they may have different or less precise meanings in everyday discussion. For example, as will be apparent from the foregoing discussion, the term dialect can lead to considerable misunderstanding. This may be a relatively trivial matter of terminology: eg linguists distinguish between accent and dialect, as above. Or it may be an important matter of attitude. For many people, dialects are regarded as inferior versions of Standard English, whereas for linguists, dialects have their own organisation: they are neither good nor bad in themselves, though some dialects are perceived as superior for social reasons. Similarly, non-standard is often interpreted in everyday English as a distortion or deviation away from the purity of Standard English: this is historically inaccurate and conceptually confused.

    5.47 The main points about the use of linguistic terminology in the classroom are:

    • terms are needed to talk precisely about important topics;
    • using such terms for a purpose is not the same as being able to explain or define them out of context.

    Standard terminology?

    5.48 Some readers may be expecting us to specify sets of standard terminology about language. We have the following comments on such expectations.

    • There is no problem with many traditional terms as such. There is no reason why any description of grammar should avoid terms such as: noun, verb, adjective; etc; word, sentence, paragraph, text etc. The problem comes in how these terms are defined: it is, for example, only at best very approximately true that nouns are "the names of persons, places or things", or that verbs are "doing words"; and in some instances it is not true at all. Although definitions cannot be complete, teachers will have to explain terms in language pupils can understand, just as they must explain any other unfamiliar words in books that pupils read. As pupils begin systematic work on explicit knowledge about language in the secondary school they will learn through experience that some simple working definitions have to be refined to take account of the complexity of language structure and use.
    • There are some terms where alternatives mean almost exactly the same. There is little reason therefore to prefer one to the others, eg: speech marks, quotation marks, inverted commas; borrowing, loan word. It is, however, desirable to choose a set of terms that are widely recognised, internally consistent and as simple as possible, not introducing complex concepts unnecessarily.
    • There are cases where technical terms are conventionally used, but add nothing to what could be said in simpler ways: eg etymology simply means "the history of a word", and morphology simply means "word structure".
    • More interestingly, there are terms which are used in everyday English, but which have more precise meanings or quite different connotations in technical discussion, eg: language, accent, dialect, pidgin, creole, non-standard. Muddles can easily arise in discussion of the relation between spoken and written English. For example, if distinctions are not clearly maintained between sounds (phonemes) and letters, it becomes impossible to say things such as:


    [page 82]

      "English has 5 vowel letters, but (depending on the accent) spoken British English has around 24 significant vowel sounds."
      "The word thin begins with a single consonant phoneme represented by two consonant letters. The word box ends with a single consonant letter which represents two consonant sounds /ks/. The word locks ends in three letters which represent the same two sounds."
    • There are terms which have no equivalent in everyday English, but without which certain generalisations about English just cannot be made. For example:
      "In English spelling, if a grammatical word and a lexical word sound the same, the grammatical word tends to have the shorter spelling: eg for, four; by, buy; in, inn; to, two; I, eye; etc." (See the Kingman Report, chapter 3, paragraph 7.)
    5.49 For us to propose a standard terminology would serve no useful purpose. Textbook writers and teachers might attempt to teach this terminology irrespective of its value to pupils' learning. In any case, such a standardisation exercise would be an enormous project and could not be imposed in practice, and many decisions would remain essentially arbitrary.

    5.50 However, as part of a whole school policy on language, teachers of English and of other languages (and possibly of other subjects) should meet and discuss what framework of description and which terms they propose to use in the school. (See also the Kingman Report, chapter 4, paragraph 51.) This might, for example, be in the context of a marking policy for children's writing. (See chapter 17 of this Report.) This could be organised by the language co-ordinator in the primary school, and by the head of English in the secondary school. The LEA English adviser should have a co-ordinating role to ensure liaison between feeder primary schools and their secondary schools.

    Assessment

    5.51 We have already expressed our view that terms should not be taught through drills, or out of context. It follows that terms should not be tested out of context. Appropriate use of terminology will be one aspect of language use which teachers will take into account when they are assessing children's spoken and written language. Learning linguistic terminology is enabling, because it forms one part of children's growing vocabulary and thinking. Use of technical terms is one aspect, for example, of how cogently pupils can talk or write about a topic, how explicitly they can express themselves, and how well they can suit their language to their audience and purpose. Linguistic terminology will therefore be implicitly assessed as part of how well children can use language. It should be assessed as part of the whole, not as something separate .

    5.52 Teachers themselves will need to know enough about language to use this knowledge confidently. This has implications for teacher training, which the Kingman Report spells out in detail. (See the Kingman Report, chapter 6.)




    [page 83]

    6 Knowledge about language

    "Grammar, perfectly understood, enables us, not only to express our meaning fully and clearly, but so to express it as to defy the ingenuity of man to give to our words any other meaning than that which we ourselves intend them to express." (1)

    6.1 Primary teachers and secondary English teachers regularly impart a great deal of knowledge about language to their pupils and encourage them to make explicit, and to share with others, the implicit knowledge they have already acquired as language users. For example, in many classrooms pupils can be found discussing the differences in vocabulary there would be between an on-the-spot oral account of a road accident and a newspaper report of it the following day; or considering the ways in which conventional spellings can be violated in advertisements and brand names; or listing some of the differences between their grandparents' use of language and their own; or talking about the way a poet's choice of metaphor yokes together two dissimilar things so that something familiar is suddenly perceived in a new way; and so on. Teaching about language is then, in broad terms, not a new departure for most English teachers. However, treating knowledge about language systematically and giving it explicit mention in the syllabus is not universal in English departments in England and Wales.

    6.2 We believe that knowledge about language should be an integral part of work in English, not a separate body of knowledge to be added on to the traditional English curriculum. Rather, as pupils extend their skills, abilities, understanding and responsiveness in speaking, listening, reading and writing, the teacher's role is to highlight those aspects that will lead to a greater awareness of the nature and functions of language. This awareness should, in turn, contribute to the pupils' own sensitivity as language users. For this reason, we are not proposing that knowledge about language should have its own profile component. To treat it separately would be to risk giving rise to the misconception that it should be separately timetabled, taught and assessed, rather than integrated in the speaking, listening, reading and writing activities of any English lesson. Accordingly, the content which we see as essential to knowledge about language is incorporated in the three profile components, Speaking and listening, Reading, and Writing, both in the statements of attainment and in the programmes of study.

    6.3 There are two further reasons for our recommendations taking this form. First, many teachers are worried about the curriculum being overloaded. There are constant pressures from relatively new areas of study, such as information technology, film and television and so on. If we had proposed a separate profile component for knowledge about language, it might have been seen as having a weight (in terms of content, teaching time and assessment) which was disproportionate in relation to the English curriculum as a whole. The other reason is the extent of teachers' own knowledge about language. As is argued at length in the Kingman Report, substantial programmes of teacher training are required if teachers are themselves to know enough to enable them to design with confidence programmes of study about language. Such training is now underway. It may be, when such training programmes have been followed for a few years, that it would be appropriate for knowledge about language to become a separate profile component. We recommend that HMI should advise on this, and that the NCC should periodically review the structure of the English curriculum with this in mind. In the meanwhile, we have not felt it right to make aspects of knowledge about language in the programmes of study (which will be legally obligatory for every pupil working at levels 5 to 10) too extensive or demanding. Even so, we know from our own visits to schools that, in some places, richer and broader work than we outline is already being done very successfully. For example, in some multi-lingual classrooms pupils carry out activities that make them aware of some of the similarities and differences among their languages; in other classrooms pupils write playscripts in regional dialect or study the language of Chaucer. There is no need for such work to be abandoned because it does not feature explicitly in our programmes of study - and, indeed, it would be the opposite of our intention if this were to happen.

    6.4 However, our approach of presenting the subject matter within three profile components has the disadvantages that knowledge about language can appear fragmented and that teachers and pupils might not see the possibilities for coherent and cumulative work. The general rationale is

    (1) A Grammar of the English Language, William Cobbett, 1818.


    [page 84]

    therefore set out in this chapter, and we also repeat the statements of attainment from the three profile components, bringing them together in order to show their coherence.

    Rationale for explicit knowledge about language in the English curriculum

    6.5 Despite its cogent arguments, the conclusions of the Kingman Inquiry in favour of the teaching of knowledge about language are still rejected by some. We ourselves therefore find it necessary to state a case for teaching pupils about language.

    6.6 Two justifications for teaching pupils explicitly about language are, first, the positive effect on aspects of their use of language and secondly, the general value of such knowledge as an important part of their understanding of their social and cultural environment, since language has vital functions in the life of the individual and of society.

    6.7 Language is central to individual human development; human society is inconceivable without it. Therefore it is intrinsically interesting and worthy of study in its own right. There are important social implications of such knowledge. Language is not merely a neutral medium for the conveying of information; it can trigger emotional responses which may spring from prejudice, stereotyping or misunderstanding. Such attitudes need to be laid open to examination and discussion. Moreover, people need an informed understanding if they are to evaluate claims about language use which are widely made (in correspondence columns of newspapers, for example).

    6.8 As far as the effect of knowledge about language on pupils' own language skill is concerned, it is true that it has been difficult or impossible to show any direct cause-and-effect relation between teaching formal grammar and improved writing performance. However, most of the research has relied upon a narrow and traditional form of grammar teaching. The broader approach that we advocate covers not only sentence structure but also larger patterns of organisation, not only the forms of written academic English but also a range of stylistic and dialectal varieties, not only language structure but also meaning and use. We believe that such an approach should help to improve pupils' sensitivity to their own use of language.

    6.9 It is also undoubtedly useful for teachers to be able to refer to features of pupils' work when they are correcting it or trying to help pupils in some way. For example, pupils who speak (and therefore possibly write) in a non-standard dialect of English may need help to see that their dialect is regular and patterned, and to recognise the systematic differences between it and formal, academic Standard English. Moreover, terminology is essential in understanding many standard reference books about language, such as dictionaries. (Such a terminology is also of use in foreign language teaching.) Technical terms are not ends in themselves, but because they facilitate discussion, they do need to be explicitly taught.

    Principles underlying programmes of study

    6.10 Teachers and textbook writers need a framework of understanding which ensures that they avoid underestimating the complex competence which all native speakers have in their mother tongue. Helpful distinctions can be made between different kinds of knowledge about language, eg

    • implicit and explicit knowledge;
    • monolingual and bilingual competence;
    • prescriptive and descriptive approaches;
    • knowledge appropriate to teachers or to pupils;
    • what all pupils need to know contrasted with what some choose to learn.
    Some of these distinctions can be discussed with pupils.

    6.11 Work should start from the pupils' own linguistic competence. Many pupils in schools are bilingual and sometimes biliterate, and quite literally know more about language than their teachers, at least in some respects. All pupils are able, to some extent, to change their style of language according to their audience. This competence is a huge resource which should not be ignored but made explicit. A problem in studying language is that it is often too close to individual speakers to be observed dispassionately: it is either taken for granted and not seen at all, or is too intimately involved in individual and social identity to be discussed objectively. But the fact that pupils already know a great deal about their native language(s) is a big


    [page 85]

    advantage: this implicit knowledge is there to be made explicit.

    6.12 Work on knowledge about language can be based on pupils' own fieldwork, collecting and classifying their own data, learning about the methodology of observation, classification, description, hypothesis making and explanation. The teacher's task will often be to help pupils to systematise knowledge which they already have or evidence which they collect, and to keep the focus clear.

    6.13 Courses should not be watered down linguistics. They should, however, be informed by principles and insights drawn from linguistics - for example, the idea that language in all its diversity can be approached in a non-prescriptive, non-judgmental way and that it is possible to treat systematically and objectively an aspect of human life which is often the focus of emotive and prejudiced reactions.

    6.14 Materials should bring out the social significance of knowledge about language. It should lead to more understanding of language diversity, including multilingualism, and be closely related to pupils' experience in their own communities, and therefore be treated with great sensitivity to pupils' home backgrounds.

    6.15 The preceding points imply certain desirable features in the programmes of study in knowledge about language. They should be based primarily on resource materials, which might include samples of language data (spoken, written, literary, non-literary, standard, non-standard, English and other languages) and facts and figures about languages in Britain and around the world, and associated activities which are essentially concrete and problem-based, so that the pupils can make their own enquiries, and so that the teacher can learn alongside the pupils. The data are all around, once teachers and pupils know what to look for. It is therefore possible for teachers to develop their own materials. Comparative study (of different languages, dialects, styles, etc) can make explicit what is usually taken for granted about language. We all tend to think that our own language somehow embodies the "natural" way of doing things.

    Knowledge about language in the school curriculum

    6.16 The steady and purposeful development of pupils' language and of their skill in its use should be a constant aim of education at all stages and levels. The form in which knowledge about language is communicated will vary with the age and ability of the pupil, from play activities in pre-school to explicit systematic knowledge in upper secondary education. Some play activities, suitable for primary age children, are illustrated in chapter 5; more explicit knowledge about language, appropriate to the secondary curriculum, is discussed here.

    6.17 Language topics can be studied from a number of points of view. A systematic approach to language study can be developed by considering any aspect of language in terms of its forms and meanings, its social uses and effects, and how it varies.

    6.18 Language is a system of sounds, meanings and structures with which we make sense of the world around us. It functions as a tool of thought; as a means of social organisation; as the repository and means of transmission of knowledge; as the raw material of literature, and as the creator and sustainer - or destroyer - of human relationships. It changes inevitably over time and, as change is not uniform, from place to place. Because language is a fundamental part of being human, it is an important aspect of a person's sense of self; because it is a fundamental feature of any community, it is an important aspect of a person's sense of social identity.

    6.19 To take account of the nature and functions of language outlined in 6.18, a syllabus for knowledge about language should cover the following material:

    1) Language variation according to situation, purpose, language mode, regional or social group, etc

    Nobody speaks - or writes - in the same way on all occasions. We alter our language according to who we are talking to, what we are writing about, whether it is for social, transactional or literary purposes, and so on. The most obvious variations are the contrasts between speech and writing and between the formal and informal in both modes. An understanding of such variation should help pupils to select the appropriate vocabulary and grammar for a given purpose and to recognise why communication sometimes breaks down when inappropriate choices are made.

    Even though no two people speak or write in just the same way, groups of people share sufficient


    [page 86]

    language characteristics (of accent, vocabulary and grammar) to bind them together and to distinguish them from other groups. So language alone often allows us to tell whether someone is from Liverpool or London, from England or Scotland, or from Britain, Australia or the United States. Moreover, the specialised language of certain occupational groups (for example, builders, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, and scientists) is often distinctive. A sensitivity to this type of variation should contribute towards pupils becoming more tolerant of linguistic diversity, more aware of the richness it can provide and more able to cope with problems of communication.

    Accordingly, in the Speaking and Listening profile component, the statements of attainment relate to children's growing ability to talk explicitly about:

    regional and social variations in English accents and dialects; and attitudes to such variations; the range of purposes which spoken language serves; and the forms and functions of spoken Standard English.
    In the Writing profile component, the statements of attainment relate to children's growing ability to talk and write explicitly about:
    some of the main differences between speech and writing; the range of purposes that written language serves.
    2) Language in literature

    Although there can be no clearcut division between the use of language in literature and in everyday life (and it would not be fruitful to attempt to make such a division), we can recognise that some of the most arresting, innovative and enriching uses of language come from the poets, novelists and dramatists who practise the craft of writing. Awareness of these uses should help pupils to respond to texts with greater understanding, to recognise when language is being used manipulatively, and to strive for a creative vigour of expression in their own writing.

    3) Language variation across time

    English is changing all the time. There have been considerable changes in vocabulary and slight changes in pronunciation over the last 50 years. Grammatical change is slower but readily discernible if we take a time span of 400 years. Knowledge about language change makes it possible for pupils to understand more fully the nature of Standard English and how it relates to other varieties.

    Accordingly in the Reading profile component, the statements of attainment relate to pupils' growing ability to talk and write explicitly about:

    some of the main characteristics of literary language; and how it conveys meanings;

    some of the ways in which English is constantly changing between generations and over the centuries; and people's attitudes to such change.

    6.20 All of these aspects of knowledge about language interlock - just as speaking, listening, reading and writing themselves are interrelated - and it is not possible or desirable to keep them apart. So the reading of a poem by Wordsworth, for example, could raise questions concerning the differences between poetic and everyday language, the nature of Cumbrian place names and topographical terms, the effect of word order alterations, changes in vocabulary during the past 150 years, and so on.

    6.21 Pupils' developing understanding is marked in several ways:

    It is usually easier to give examples from local varieties of English (in the family or local community), than to discuss a wider range of varieties, which are more distant, geographically, socially or historically.

    It is usually easier to talk about language, than to write about it.

    It is usually easier to give examples of individual words (which distinguish dialects, styles, etc), than to give examples of pronunciation, grammar and textual organisation.

    It is easier to give relevant, but isolated, examples than to give more systematic and sustained descriptions and analyses; and description is easier than discussing the principles underlying the examples.

    The ordering of the statements of attainment in knowledge about language takes account of this pattern of development.


    [page 87]

    Statements of attainment in knowledge about language

    6.22 In the SPEAKING AND LISTENING PROFILE COMPONENT pupils should be able to:

    LEVELDESCRIPTION
    5Talk about variations in vocabulary between different regional or social groups, eg dialect vocabulary, specialist terms.
    6
    Talk about some grammatical differences between spoken Standard English and a non-standard variety.
    7
    Talk about appropriateness in the use of spoken language, according to purpose, topic and audience, eg differences between language appropriate to a job interview and to a discussion with peers.
    8
    Talk about the contribution that facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice can make to a speaker's meaning, eg in ironic and sarcastic uses of language.
    9
    Talk about ways in which language varies between different types of spoken communication, eg joke, anecdote, conversation, commentary, lecture.
    10
    Talk about some of the factors that influence people's attitudes to the way other people speak.

    6.23 In the WRITING PROFILE COMPONENT pupils should be able to:

    LEVELDESCRIPTION
    5Talk about variations in vocabulary according to purpose, topic and audience and according to whether language is spoken or written, eg slang, formal vocabulary, technical vocabulary.
    6
    Demonstrate some knowledge of straightforward grammatical differences between spoken and written English.
    7
    Comment on examples of appropriate and inappropriate use of language in written texts, with respect to purpose, topic and audience.


    [page 88]

    LEVELDESCRIPTION
    8Demonstrate some knowledge of organisational differences between spoken and written English.
    9
    Demonstrate some knowledge of ways in which language varies between different types of written text, eg personal letter, formal letter, printed instructions, newspaper report, playscript.
    10
    Demonstrate some knowledge of criteria by which different types of written language can be judged, eg clarity, coherence, accuracy, appropriateness, effectiveness, vigour etc.

    6.24 In the READING PROFILE COMPONENT pupils should be able to:

    LEVELDESCRIPTION
    5Recognise and talk about the use of word play, eg puns, unconventional spellings etc, and some of the effects of the writer's choice of words in imaginative uses of English.
    6
    Talk about examples (from their own experience or from their reading) of changes in word use and meaning over time, and about some of the reasons for these changes, eg technological developments, euphemism, contact with other languages, fashion.
    7
    Talk about some of the effects of sound patterning, eg rhyme, alliteration, and figures of speech, eg similes, metaphors, personification, in imaginative uses of English.
    8
    Identify in their reading, and talk and write about some of the changes in the grammar of English over time, eg in pronouns (from thou and thee to you), in verb forms, in negatives, etc.
    9
    Demonstrate some understanding of the use of special lexical and grammatical effects in literary language, eg the repetition of words or structures, dialect forms, archaisms, grammatical deviance etc.
    10
    Demonstrate some understanding of attitudes in society towards language change and of ideas about appropriateness and correctness in language use.


    [page 89]

    Programmes of study

    6.25 The programmes of study reflect the fact that some topics will be introduced at a simple level with younger pupils and will then recur later on when they will be treated in a more analytic and reflective way. In many cases several examples are given. This is not meant to suggest that all pupils will cover all - or even most - of these topics but rather to give an indication of the range of material available for study.

    In the Speaking and listening profile component

    6.26 The teaching of knowledge about language through speaking and listening should focus on:

    • regional and social variations in English accents and dialects; and attitudes to such variations;
    • the range of purposes which spoken language serves;
    • the forms and functions of spoken Standard English.
    6.27 For pupils working towards level 5, teaching should encourage discussion of vocabulary that is specific to local communities - words for local places, buildings, institutions etc, and local usages such as bairn (cf child), baps (cf rolls), outwith (cf outside); or to particular age groups, eg frock (cf dress), wireless (cf radio); or to certain occupations eg the specialist terms and acronyms used by groups such as doctors, lawyers, builders, computer experts and mechanics.

    6.28 For pupils working towards level 6, teaching should draw attention to people's sensitivity to quite small features of pronunciation that differentiate the speech of one area from others; and to any grammatical differences between the speech of the area and spoken Standard English, eg in verb forms, pronoun use, prepositions.

    6.29 Pupils working towards level 7 should consider the notion of appropriateness to situation, topic, purpose and language mode and the fact that inappropriate language use can be a source of humour (either intentional or unintentional) or may give the impression that the speaker or writer is pompous or inept or impertinent or rude. Pupils should learn that Standard English is the language of wide social communication and is particularly likely to be required in public, formal settings. Teaching should cover discussion of the situations in which and purposes for which people might choose to use non-standard varieties rather than Standard English, eg in speech with friends, in a local team or group, in television advertising, folk songs, poetry, dialogue in novels or plays.

    6.30 Through careful observations of speakers, pupils working towards level 8 should learn that spoken language typically depends not just on the voice but also on body posture, gestures, facial expressions etc: meaning may reside less in what is said than in how it is said.

    6.31 For pupils working towards level 9, teaching should demonstrate how speech ranges from intimate or casual spontaneous conversation, eg jokes, anecdotes, banter, gossip, argument, through discussion, commentary and debate to more formal forms - lectures, sermons, and formulaic utterances such as toasts, oaths, and banns.

    6.32 Pupils working towards level 10 should learn that attitudes to Standard English and to non-standard varieties (eg as expressed in letters to newspapers) can be based on stereotypes and prescriptive judgement. Teaching should show how language can be a bond between members of a group, a symbol of national pride, a barrier and a source of misunderstandings; how it can be used to alienate, insult, wound, or offend, to be polite or rude. Pupils should be encouraged to respect their own language(s) or dialect(s) and those of others.

    In the Writing profile component

    6.33 The programmes of study in writing should focus on:

    • some of the main differences between speech and writing;
    • the range of purposes that written language serves.
    6.34 For pupils working towards level 5, teaching should encourage discussion of the range of vocabulary, eg from informal to formal, everyday to specialist, its use in different settings and for different purposes and the effect of particular choices of words, eg the kinds of topics slang is used for; the situations in which slang is used; the need for specialist terms and the effects of their use outside the specialist group.


    [page 90]

    Discussion should bring out contrasts in how vocabulary is used in speech and writing.

    6.35 For pupils working towards level 6, teaching should bring out the fact that as speech typically takes place in a situation where both speaker and listener are present, it can be accompanied by gestures, and words like this, that, here, now, you etc, whereas writing generally requires greater verbal explicitness. Pupils should come to understand that because writers are not able to use the voice to emphasise key points in a sentence, they have to use a wide range of grammatical structures (such as the passive, or other alterations of word order) to bring about the desired emphasis. They should also recognise that writing is often more formal and more impersonal than speech: lexical and grammatical features of language both reflect and create these contrasts.

    6.36 Pupils working towards level 7 should be taught about the different functions of written language: that writing can be for the writer alone; it can be addressed to a known reader; or it can be written for a large and unknown audience. They should be shown how it may primarily be either an artefact in its own right or a means of conveying information; how it functions as a tool of thought and as a creator of human relationships; how it can be stored and readily transmitted across time and distance. They should learn to think of appropriateness in written language in terms of these functions and of the range of audiences that writers address, considering the effects, for example, of inappropriately formal vocabulary in personal letters or of colloquial expressions in impersonal writing.

    6.37 Pupils working towards level 8 should come to understand that at its most characteristic, speech is interactive, spontaneous and informal which means that topics of conversation emerge in an unplanned and unstructured way; in contrast, writing typically needs a more tightly planned overall structure signalled both by the organisation of topics into paragraphs and by words and phrases such as meanwhile, in the same way, on the other hand. They should learn about the patterns of organisation of formal expository writing: eg the introduction, development and conclusion of the academic essay; the use of illustrations and examples in persuasive writing and of comparison and contrast in argument.

    6.38 Pupils working towards level 9 should learn how to recognise and describe some of the lexical, grammatical and organisational characteristics of different types of written texts, eg letters, tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, teenage magazines, specialist hobby periodicals, holiday brochures, travel books, instructions, playscripts. They should learn about the nature and purpose of impersonal styles of writing, and the vocabulary and grammar characteristic of those styles - eg the use of the passive voice and of other ways of depersonalising text, such as not using pronouns.

    6.39 In the context of their own writing and that of a range of published writers, pupils working towards level 10 should learn that, in evaluating the success of a piece of writing, different criteria need to be applied to different types; for example, a personal letter may be valued for its warmth and humour, a report for the clarity of its organisation, and so on.

    In the Reading profile component

    6.40 Teaching of knowledge about language through reading should focus on:

    • some of the main characteristics of literary language, and how it conveys meaning;
    • some of the ways in which English is constantly changing between generations and over the centuries; and people's attitudes to such change.
    6.41 For pupils working towards level 5, teachers should discuss texts which make imaginative use of English - literature, advertising, songs etc - in order to bring out the ways in which different choices of words affect the impression given by the text - eg the use of exotic words in passages about foreign countries or people. Pupils should consider the way word meanings can be played with, eg in riddles, puns, jokes, spoonerisms, word games, graffiti, advertisements, poems; the use of nonsense words and deliberate misspellings, eg in poems and advertisements.

    6.42 For pupils working towards level 6, discussion should bring out examples of words and expressions which tend to undergo very rapid change in use or meaning - eg terms of approbation (wicked, brill); differences in the use and meanings of words as used by pupils, their parents and grandparents - eg wireless, radio, tranny, receiver; and new words that have become part of English vocabulary during the last 50 years or so, eg computer, astronaut, macho. Teachers should also discuss with pupils, and


    [page 91]

    encourage them to analyse, the reasons why vocabulary changes over time - eg contact with other languages because of trade or political circumstances, fashion, the effects of advertising, the need for new euphemisms, new inventions and technology, changes in society. They should also consider where new words come from, eg borrowings from other languages such as glasnost, coinages, acronyms etc.

    6.43 For pupils working towards level 7, teachers should discuss a variety of works so as to bring out the range and effects of different types of sound patterning, eg alliteration, assonance, rhymes, onomatopoeia, and of figures of speech, eg similes, metaphors, personification.

    6.44 From their reading of pre-20th century literature, pupils working towards level 8 should be encouraged to identify some of the major changes in English grammar over the centuries, eg the loss - except in some dialects and in religious uses - of thee and thou; the simplification of the verb system eg from have, hast, hath, to have and has; the change in the structure of negatives from I know not to I don't know.

    6.45 For pupils working towards level 9, discussion should focus on the effects, in context, of different types of vocabulary, eg archaic, literary, figurative, emotive, dialectal, colloquial, scientific etc; of grammatical features such as structural repetition, eg in scripted speeches, advertisements, literary prose, poems etc; of lexical and grammatical ambiguity; of the use of grammatical deviance for special effect, eg in advertisements, slogans, poems etc. Teaching should also bring out the structural characteristics of different types of verse and poetry, eg nursery rhymes, concrete poetry, haiku, limericks, ballads, sonnets etc.

    6.46 Pupils working towards level 10 should consider not only the extent to which English has changed since Shakespeare's day but also some of the ways in which it is changing now. From this, they should come to recognise that judgements about what is appropriate or correct cannot be immutable. They should learn to recognise when people's attitudes to language use, eg as expressed in letters to newspapers, reveal misunderstandings about the nature of language change.

    Knowledge about language in the classroom

    6.47 The statements of attainment and programmes of study deal, in outline, only with what children should know about language, not with how they should learn it. It is important to distinguish between a body of knowledge and the way it might be conveyed to pupils. This will in turn be quite different for younger and older pupils. We have already recommended above a "fieldwork" approach to knowledge about language.

    6.48 Some people feel that knowledge such as that outlined above can be taught only by being transmitted to pupils as a body of received wisdom. Of course there are aspects of such a syllabus which are factual and conceptual, and which pupils could not be expected to discover for themselves. For example, there are aspects of the variation of English across time and from one region to another which are not open to observation and discovery by any single individual, but which are known via the large-scale work of many scholars over hundreds of years. But equally, many aspects can be taught in ways which relate to pupils' own experience of language.

    6.49 The form of syllabus organisation which we envisage would be related to pupils' development and would entail a cumulative approach to their understanding of language. Within the levels outlined in the statements of attainment and the programmes of study, teachers could start with any topic they considered appropriate to the stage of development that their pupils had reached and tackle it from the point of view of use, form, meaning and variation. Other topics would then be tackled in the same way so that pupils learned more about linguistic variation and how to describe language. In this way, the basic underlying principles should gradually be explored in more depth on different topics.

    Examples

    6.50 We give here two examples of the ways in which the kind of language topics that many secondary English teachers have traditionally covered can be related to our statements of attainment. They take up in more detail some of the ideas that are only outlined in the programmes of study and show how the same topic can be studied from a


    [page 92]

    number of perspectives and across a range of levels. They should help to emphasise our belief that the best kind of language study grows out of the interrelated speaking, listening, reading and writing activities of English lessons and, in turn, feeds back into them.

    (i) Names

    "variations in vocabulary between different regional and social groups" (AT1, level 5):

    regional variations in naming, eg England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, USA etc; characteristic surnames of the locality;

    different forms of address to men and women, boys and girls, eg Sir, Madam; Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss; Master, Miss etc; the extent to which sex is revealed by a name;

    the characteristics of naming among the ethnic minorities in the UK; the culturally restricted nature of expressions like "first name" (when Chinese surnames come first) and "Christian name" (a term that, for many Muslims, Hindus and Jews, is specifically associated with Christianity); patrilineal and non-patrilineal naming (ie whether the same surname is passed down from the father through successive generations or not).

    "variations in vocabulary according to purpose, topic and audience" (AT3, level 5):

    the different kinds of names there are, eg Christian or given names, surnames, pet names, nicknames, role names (Doctor, Minister etc) the fact that the same person will be called by different names in different settings and roles, eg Sir, Mr Robinson, Joseph, Joseph Alan Robinson, Joe, Robbo, Dad, etc

    the types of nickname people create, eg related to a personal attribute (Lofty), related to a surname (Robbo) etc; the reasons why nicknames are used; their effects; nicknames in literature.

    "the use of word play, eg puns, unconventional spellings etc" (AT2, level 5):

    brand names, trade names, shop names, eg Haircraft, Headlines, Hair Today, HerStyle, Hair Belles, Kut'n'Kurl etc. - the range of permissible spelling variation and the types of double meaning exploited.

    "changes in word use and meaning over time" (AT2, level 6):

    changing fashions in naming children, established by a survey of first names across generations; influences on naming (eg the royal family, film stars, national figures etc); the origins of some English surnames, eg place names (Hill, Dale), trade names (Wheelwright, Baker) "son of" (Johnson, Macdonald, O'Neill, Pritchard); spellings that differentiate common nouns and names, eg cook, Cooke; swan, Swann; pain, Payne;

    changing use of forms of address over time (eg Miss Bennet and Miss Bingley between friends in Pride and Prejudice).

    (ii) Speech and writing

    "grammatical differences between spoken and written English" (AT3, level 6):

    analysis of a tape transcript for expressions not dear outside the immediate situation, eg this one, there etc; comparison of radio and TV weather forecasts, football commentaries etc. for the use of expressions that can only be understood within a visual context; comparison of the language needed in giving directions or instructions to a blind and a sighted person; analysis of talk and writing on the same topic (eg a spoken football commentary or cookery demonstration and a written report or recipe) for contrasts of vocabulary and structure, eg the different rates of occurrence of the pronouns, I, you, he and she examination of the expressions that are used in a written text to refer to a diagram, picture, map etc; comparison of a reading of a transcript of spontaneous speech with the original tape recording in terms of attitude, emotion, placing of emphasis etc; a similar comparison of different taped readings of a written text; investigation of the grammatical structures which lead to similar readings by different people and those that produce marked variations.

    "organisational differences between spoken and written English" (AT3, level 8):

    analysis of a tape recorded conversation in terms of topics; how movement is made from one topic to the next; words and phrases that link ideas in a sequence; a study of the range of meanings of and in spoken language; words that can substitute for and in writing, eg in addition, also, moreover.furthermore etc; analysis of the organisation of topics in different kinds of writing (eg general statement followed by examples; anecdote followed by reflective generalisation; comparison and contrast etc); an examination of the organising signals in written texts, eg titles, sub-headings, topic sentences, words that show the relationships between ideas (similarly, however, therefore etc).


    [page 93]

    "people's attitudes to the way other people speak" (AT1, level 10):

    collection from newspapers and magazines of comments on the spoken language of broadcasters etc; a classification of these comments according to type, and an analysis of the extent to which they apply the requirements of writing to speech.

    Assessment

    6.51 We recommend that, at 14, pupils' knowledge about language should be assessed through the normal speaking and writing activities of the English classroom. At 16, they should undertake a small-scale investigation of any aspect of language in the programmes of study that is appropriate to their level. After they have collected illustrative material from either speech or writing and made their analysis of it, the final product could take a number of forms, including a wall display with informative captions, a piece of their own writing that consciously reflects the linguistic features of their examples, an essay, a report, or a tape-recording with either written or spoken commentary. This project could constitute one of the items in their coursework folder.

    6.52 It is obvious that no one piece of work could cover all the material in all three knowledge about language statements of attainment at any one level. Therefore, the assessment will need to be made in terms of the pupil's ability to find and assemble appropriate examples, to comment on them interestingly, systematically and revealingly, and - at the highest levels - to relate them to general principles of language structure or use.





    [page 94]

    7 Literature

    7.1 To foster in pupils a love of literature, to encourage their awareness of its unique relationship to human experience and to promote in them a sense of excitement in the power and potential of language can be one of the greatest joys of the English teacher. It is also one of the greatest challenges. Young people have many calls on their time and inclinations. Children in primary-school playgrounds clearly demonstrate an instinctive pleasure in rhythm, pattern and rhyme. But this will need constant nurturing if it is to develop into an appreciation of the richness of poetry, where words are "alive with a plurality of meanings from their contexts, their associations and their sensory qualities; they are alive with what Ted Hughes calls 'the goblin in a word'." (1) Similarly, immense skill and sensitivity are required on the part of the teacher, if very young children's natural enthusiasms for story structures and role-play are to be developed into a full and active engagement with a constantly expanding range of texts or literary genres. Narrative has been described as a primary act of mind; children construct the world through story. It is the teacher's role to recognise this, to encourage it, and to seek to develop interest in the act of reading which flows from it.

    7.2 Studying literature and encouraging others in that study is an enrichment for pupil and teacher alike. In the words of the Kingman Report: "Wide reading, and as great an experience as possible of the best imaginative literature, are essential to the full development of an ear for language, and to a full knowledge of the range of possible patterns of thought and feeling made accessible by the power and range of language." (2)

    7 .3 We do not wish to underestimate the straightforward pleasure that reading can afford. An identification of books with enjoyment and a positive readiness to devote leisure time to reading seem to us wholly desirable outcomes of primary and secondary school experience. But we would nevertheless hope that by the end of their school careers as many pupils as possible will have been able to "grow" through literature - both emotionally and aesthetically, both morally and socially - by virtue of coming into contact with the "range of possible thought and feeling" identified above. An active involvement with literature enables pupils to share the experience of others. They will encounter and come to understand a wide range of feelings and relationships by entering vicariously the worlds of others, and in consequence they are likely to understand more of themselves.

    7.4 The concept of "range" extends also - and very importantly - to social and cultural diversity. Pupils should gain increasing understanding that texts may be related to interests of different groups - such as women or men, adolescents or minorities of different kinds - and that critical thinking about existing stereotypes and values can be stimulated by studying literature which expresses alternative points of view: for example, on the family, nature and industrialisation, the nation or literature itself. The recognition that there are authors who have not traditionally formed part of the literary "canon" in the past may also lead to discussion that can form part of an equal opportunities policy across the curriculum. For example, authors writing in dialect and authors from certain social groups have been under-represented.

    7.5 Today, literature in English in the classroom can - and should - be drawn from different countries. All pupils need to be aware of the richness of experience offered by such writing, so that they may be introduced to the ideas and feelings of cultures different from their own. English teachers should seek opportunities to exploit the multicultural aspects of literature. Novels from India or Caribbean poetry might be used for study of differing cultural perspectives, for example. Not only should this lead to a broader awareness of a greater range of human "thought and feeling", but- through looking at literature from different parts of the world and written from different points of view - pupils should also be in a position to gain a better understanding of the cultural heritage of English literature itself.

    7.6 Pupils should be alerted, for instance, to literary associations such as names, quotations and other references as part of the cultural inheritance of

    (1) The Importance of Poetry in Children's Learning, Michael Benton, Lessons in English Teaching and Learning, NATE, 1988, page 148; and Poetry in the Making, Ted Hughes, 1967, page 18.

    (2) Kingman Report, chapter 2, paragraph 21.


    [page 95]

    people in the English speaking world. Some of these literary elements are part of the language and have their place in standard dictionaries; others are quasi-proverbial and often used without an awareness of their origin. The effect is not confined to works composed in English, as consideration of Aesop's Fables or H.C. Andersen's stories will show: relevant translated works, including classical stories from Greece and Rome, may find a place in English lessons. The value of such study is clearly not only to be found in an increased familiarity with literary references. It provides a basis of fuller understanding of allusion, implication and inference. It also involves an introduction to forms of discourse which were powerful in the past and from which our own culture has developed.

    7.7 Literature and language are inseparably intertwined. The "full development of an ear for language" referred to by the Kingman Report (see paragraph 7.2 above) encompasses a wide range of related skills, understandings and competences, underlining our belief that the language and literature facets of the English curriculum should be seen as mutually supportive rather than exclusive. Just as particularly skilful uses of language can be illustrated from literature, so deeper insights into literature can be afforded by a close examination of the language of a text. In this way, classroom discussion of - for example - the characters, themes, and moral, social or emotional issues in a work can be related to the writer's technique and craft and to the boundless potential of language for the creation of new meanings.

    7.8 This vital interaction of language and literature study relates to all three of our profile components. Literature has an important role to play - in a variety of ways - in improving abilities in speaking and listening and in writing, as well as in reading. Children should experiment, for example, with dramatic improvisations of the stories they read and write; they should experience and take part in the performance of poetry; they should listen critically to radio plays. They should also be encouraged to write fiction, poetry, plays, diaries, book reviews and so on, in response to the literature they have enjoyed and shared and discussed with their teacher and classmates. Learning to read and learning to write are intimately related. By reading a wide range of literature, children become aware of new forms of discourse and modes of expression with which they may experiment in their own writing. The Kingman Report points out rightly: "As children read more, write more, discuss what they have read and move through the range of writing in English, they amass a store of images from half-remembered poems, of lines from plays, of phrases, rhythms and ideas. Such a reception of language allows the individual greater possibilities of production of language." (3)

    7.9 The "creative" response to literature described above is two-fold in its effect. Pupils are able, through reading and responding to literature, to develop an understanding of and control over an ever-widening range of written forms. But the experience of writing creatively - of using the sonnet form, for example, or of imitating the characteristics of a particular writer's style - leads also to an increased critical awareness of literary technique in the writing of others: "Learning about the construction of an effective text is much better done ... through writing than through critical analysis. It has the further advantage that writing is a skill whose usefulness [pupils] can appreciate, whereas literary criticism is not. The understanding of craft and construction that develops through writing leads to a more realistic appreciation of the achievements of literary authors." (4)

    7.10 This approach need not replace traditional literary criticism: rather, it should be viewed as a step that may lead naturally, where appropriate, into the development of objective analytical skills as pupils learn to reflect on their own writing - and on the creative process itself - in relation to the text that inspired it. We see this approach as a central means of enriching the curriculum by introducing new ways of helping pupils of all abilities to enjoy literature, and we return to this argument in fuller detail in paragraphs 7.19 to 7.24.

    Choice of books

    7.11 There is an enormous variety of good material available for primary children: this was demonstrated by the length of the list of authors published in our first report. As we say in paragraph 1.21, we are not repeating that list here or extending it to secondary aged pupils because, despite our firm statements to the effect that the list was purely illustrative and that there were no

    (3) Kingman Report, chapter 2, paragraph 23.

    (4) Teaching through Poetry, George Marsh, 1988, page 23.


    [page 96]

    doubt omissions, media attention centred on this list to the detriment of the other, more important recommendations in the Report. Furthermore, we assume that from the age of 14 able pupils could and should be reading from a range of books written for adults, so the number of suitable authors would make any list quite impracticable. As we stress in chapter 16, children need to have access to well-chosen and appropriate books in school and class libraries. We therefore set out briefly the criteria which should be used in selecting children's books. When choosing books teachers may like to be reminded of the various published book guides, for example those published by the Federation of Children's Book Groups, the Signal Book Guides, the Penguin Book Guides and Exploring Poetry 5 to 8 (NATE).

    Primary aged children

    7.12 The following criteria are useful in selecting books for primary aged children. The language used should be accessible to children but should also make demands and extend their language capabilities. In fiction, the story should be capable of interpretation at a number of different levels, so that children can return to the book time and again with renewed enjoyment in finding something new. Most important, the books selected must be those which children enjoy.

    7.13 Print should be bold and easy to read. Illustrations should be clear and attractive and, as well as being well-matched and giving helpful cues to the text, should enhance it by providing additional information, for example about the characters or setting.

    Secondary aged children

    7.14 During the years 11 to 16 pupils will be exposed increasingly to works not written specifically or exclusively for their age group. There is, however, no consensus on which works should be chosen from the vast riches of written English and given a privileged status in the classroom. Formulations of "literary tradition", "our literary heritage" or lists of "great works", however influential their proponents, may change radically during the course of time, It would be wrong, therefore, for us to prescribe a list of set texts. There is such a variety of good literature available for inclusion in syllabuses that we want teachers to have the freedom to make their own choice of suitable books within the broad guidelines indicated below.

    7.15 Programmes of study should be so constructed as to give all pupils the opportunity:

    • to enjoy work in a wide range of literary forms. They should read a selection of material that includes short stories, novels, plays and poems. They should also be given the opportunity to encounter types of writing drawn from a variety of other genres - such as letters, biographies, autobiographies, diaries, film or TV scripts and travel books and other non-fictional literature;
    • to encounter and find pleasure in literary works written in English - particularly new works - from different parts of the world;
    • to gain pleasure and critical awareness from the study of pre-20th century writing. As many pupils as possible should have contact with some of the great writing which has been influential in shaping our language and culture. Rich and rewarding as the study of contemporary material undoubtedly is, it should not dominate in the classroom to the exclusion of all else. In particular, every pupil should be given at least some experience of the plays or poetry of Shakespeare. Whether this is through the study, viewing or performance of whole plays or of selected poems or scenes should be entirely at the discretion of the teacher. Our reasons for this recommendation are expounded in paragraph 7.16 below.
    7.16 Shakespeare. Many teachers believe that Shakespeare's work conveys universal values, and that his language expresses rich and subtle meanings beyond that of any other English writer. Other teachers point out that evaluations of Shakespeare have varied from one historical period to the next, and they argue that pupils should be encouraged to think critically about his status in the canon. But almost everyone agrees that his work should be represented in a National Curriculum. Shakespeare's plays are so rich that in every age they can produce fresh meanings and even those who deny his universality agree on his cultural importance. The "Shakespeare and Schools" project, at the Cambridge Institute of Education , has shown that secondary pupils of a wide range of abilities can find Shakespeare accessible, meaningful and enjoyable. The project has demonstrated that the once-traditional method where desk-bound pupils read the text has been advantageously


    [page 97]

    replaced by exciting, enjoyable approaches that are social, imaginative and physical. This can also be achieved by: use of film and video recordings, visits to live theatre performances, participation in songs and dances, dramatic improvisations, activities in which Shakespeare's language is used by pupils interacting with each other. Pupils exposed to this type of participatory, exploratory approach to literature can acquire a firm foundation to proceed to more formal literary responses should they subsequently choose to do so.

    7.17 In selecting texts using the broad guidelines given in 7.15 and 7.16 above, teachers should take every opportunity to ensure that pupils are able to make progress as readers and to master increasingly demanding written material. However, textual difficulty is not unidimensional. It may lie in the subject matter, in the structure and organisation of the text, in the language, in the way meaning is presented, and in the length of the work. So, a story set in contemporary Britain is likely to be easier (for British pupils) than one set in a different period of history or in a different culture or environment. A novel with a straightforward chronological organisation is likely to be less demanding than one which makes use of flashbacks (this is one reason why young readers generally find Jane Eyre easier than Wuthering Heights, for example). A text that uses familiar everyday language is usually more accessible than one which has an archaic or literary or highly formal style. A work in which the meaning is fully apparent at a literal level is normally easier than one which depends on the interpretation of extended metaphor, analogy, symbolism and so on. And shorter texts make fewer demands on readers' stamina, concentration and perseverance than longer ones. These different dimensions of difficulty are essentially independent. Therefore, a work may be easy in one respect and hard in others; for example, Silkin's short poem "The Worm" is straightforward as far as the vocabulary and sentence structure are concerned but, even so, the meaning of the poem is by no means transparent. It is clear that not all pupils will, by the age of sixteen, be able to cope with texts which combine all such dimensions of difficulty. But if, throughout the secondary school, literature in the classroom consists chiefly of modern, chronologically-organised novels, written in familiar language that is interpretable at a literal level, then not only are pupils being offered a narrowed range of literary experience, they are also being denied an important means of extending their own language and thinking. Accordingly, teachers need to choose books in such a way that all pupils have the opportunity to learn how to understand and enjoy works that make manageable but increasing demands upon them.

    7.18 To summarise our position: we endorse the statements in the National Criteria for GCSE about the choice of texts for the syllabus in English Literature. The content of the examination syllabus must consist of the detailed study of individual texts as well as wider reading in all of the three main literary genres of prose, poetry and drama. Examining Groups are encouraged to extend the scope of what is traditionally regarded as the "canon" of English Literature in recognition that awareness of the richness of cultural diversity is one of the rewards of the study of literature: "The majority of texts studied must be literary texts originally written in English which may, for example, include American and Commonwealth writing, but works in translation may also be included." (5) A wide personal choice may be offered in recommended reading of authors, themes, periods or genres, but works for detailed study must be of sufficient substance and quality to merit serious consideration and must be selected from at least two literary genres.

    Approaches to literature

    7.19 Just as initial reading in the early years of the primary school thrives on interest and personal commitment, so the further study of literature calls for involvement and a love of reading for its own sake. As with the early stages of reading, the teaching of literature must set itself the objective of stimulating pupils' enjoyment.

    7.20 Pupils should be encouraged to respond to all forms of literature in ways which they find pleasurable, and hence which are likely to promote understanding. Their response should be stimulated through a range of active strategies. For example, imitation of a writer's use of language involves an active response that requires the pupil to make meaning yet to show a grasp of the original author's craft at the same time. Most pupils will also enjoy an active presentation of plays and poetry, treated sensitively, and we include the enjoyment from

    (5) 1989 English Literature GCSE syllabus, Midland Examining Group, page 19.


    [page 98]

    reciting favourite poems aloud, whether individually or in the very successful choral speaking groups established in many schools.

    7.21 It has been put to us that many young people lose interest in poetry, and even stories, as they go through secondary school. If this is true, it is the more important that active approaches and positive attitudes prevail, if enjoyment in books is to be kept alive in the face of more passive forms of entertainment. In poetry, pupils should experience a range of "voices". Many teachers exploit the possibilities of comic, "fun" poetry, or the lyrics of popular music as a way into the appreciation of a wider range of contemporary writing, beginning with writers who are easily accessible.

    7.22 As Michael Benton puts it:

    "The development of a methodology that is based upon informed concepts of reading and response rather than upon conventional, narrowly-conceived ideas of comprehension and criticism is now the priority." (6)

    It is good news that the introduction of GCSE has endorsed this kind of methodology and response. A "response" such as the genre transformation of a short story into a poem or one-act play may also lead some pupils towards written analysis of the more traditional kind.

    7.23 The exploration of literary texts is not an elitist activity, distinct from the study of other means of communication. To take but one example of overlap, the kinds of question that are routinely asked in media education can fruitfully be applied to literature: who is communicating with whom and why; how has the text been produced and transmitted; how does it convey its meaning? And, as is often the case in the media, literary texts have the habit of not turning out to mean what might be expected at first sight. With both, it is important to keep an open mind and to be alert to the various clues and pointers to meaning that appear as the communication unfolds.

    7 .24 We include at appendix 6 a selection of teaching strategies which provide "ways into texts" of whatever genre, period, or level of difficulty. Other examples of this kind can be found in books by Michael Benton and Geoff Fox (7), and David Self (8). They are based on good teaching practice, and many teachers are already aware of their value as methods which neither pre-empt pupils' responses nor suggest that there is one orthodox, accepted interpretation.



    (6) The Importance of Poetry in Children's Learning, page 150.

    (7) Teaching Literature, Nine to Fourteen, Michael Benton and Geoff Fox, Oxford University Press (1985).

    (8) Guidelines, ed. David Self. Mary Glasgow Publications.


    [page 99]

    8 Drama

    Introduction

    8.1 Paragraph 17 of our supplementary guidance (see appendix 3) was headed "Links with other subjects" and said: "There are a number of important subjects, themes and skills which can be taught and developed through the foundation subjects. You are expected to consider the place of these aspects within the English curriculum and to cover them within your consideration of attainment targets and programmes of study. English will provide one appropriate context for the development of drama across the curriculum ... Time for covering such aspects within English will need to be found within the overall time available for English as indicated above. The links between English literature and drama and the other expressive arts subjects are important."

    8.2 We have already referred to the place of drama in chapter 3, on English in primary and secondary schools. In the primary school, drama is most successful when it emerges as a natural development from children's play. Successful learning often takes place when young children enjoy themselves in role-playing, which can make an important contribution to their oral and aural experience. Drama activity should continue to play a vital role in all pupils' secondary school experience.

    8.3 Drama deals with fundamental questions of language, interpretation and meaning. These are central to the traditional aims and concerns of English teaching and our recommended programmes of study therefore include exploration of drama. We acknowledge, of course, that drama also has its own academic integrity and that it exists as a separate GCSE subject in many secondary schools and colleges, outside the National Curriculum. By using drama as a part of the learning process, English teachers will be providing experiences for pupils which will help them make an informed choice when considering drama as a subject option, whether for GCSE or as part of a non-examined course in combined or expressive arts. We would stress, however, that the inclusion of drama methods in English should not in any way replace drama as a subject for specialist study.

    8.4 Drama makes an important contribution towards realising the overall aims of English set out in chapters 2 and 3 of this Report. For example, drama contributes to personal growth, by enabling pupils to express their emotions and by helping them to make sense of the world, and to preparation for adult life through such activities as the simulation of meetings. Role play activities can inform other areas of the curriculum, for example history, through pupils' pretending to be living in another age, or science, through their acting out some aspects of scientific discovery.

    Drama in the primary school

    8.5 Drama - including role play - is central in developing all major aspects of English in the primary school because:

    • it gives children the chance to practise varieties of language in different situations and to use a variety of functions of language which it is otherwise more difficult to practise: questioning, challenging, complaining etc.;
    • it helps children to make sense of different situations and different points of view in role play and simulations, by allowing them to act out situations and formulate things in their own words;
    • it helps children to evaluate choices or dilemmas, to develop the logic of different situations, to make decisions that can be put into practice, tested and reflected upon;
    • it accustoms children to take account of audience and purpose in undertaking an activity.

    8.6 Drama is of crucial importance as a learning medium, for example, in promoting collaborative talk, extending language skills and awareness of language in use, in assisting the development of voice skills in relation to reading aloud, and in extending both the form and the content of children's own writing. Drama is not simply a subject, but also - more importantly - a method; it is both a creative art form in its own right and also a learning tool. Furthermore, drama is one of the key ways in which children can gain an understanding of themselves and of others, can gain confidence in themselves as decision-makers and problem-solvers, can learn


    [page 100]

    to function collaboratively, and can explore - within a supportive framework - not only a range of human feelings, but also a whole spectrum of social situations and/or moral dilemmas.

    8.7 In this respect, there is a very special value to be found in drama activity for pupils for whom English is a second language. The drama process can accommodate the expression of ideas in many ways: even with limited language pupils may participate in interpreting events and emotions through visual representation. Moreover, drama activity is also a particularly powerful facilitator for pupils with special educational needs. Through drama individuals are provided with the opportunity to perceive the world from another's position: with sensitive direction, for example, a pupil with physical handicaps can interact and learn with others on an equal level. For pupils for whom writing is difficult, drama offers a great freedom. Opportunities for problem-solving and self-expression become as open and readily accessible to them as to any other pupils. For those with emotional difficulties, drama provides an invaluable vehicle which allows the effect of behaviour to be explored. It also demonstrates that alternative behaviour patterns may well be more desirable and effective, and these can be tested out within the safety of drama. For those with severe learning difficulties drama offers a secure situation in which to examine the world. Situations can be developed that offer individuals heightened responsibility that gives them a chance to help or encourage others. Not only does this facilitate learning of social skills from factors within the drama, but it also allows those involved to develop their self-esteem.

    8.8 There is still a place within drama activity for performance to a wide range of audiences, both within the school and in the wider community. However, most drama activity should not be seen as leading to a polished end product; even where this is the result, the most significant educational value of the activity will often have been found in the process that led to that end product.

    8.9 Our terms of reference suggested that we should consider drama in the context of the great dramatic works of literature. We believe that plays should be approached through the dramatic medium; children should often see or participate in the play being acted, and not just read the text. This approach will not only result in an appreciation of the literary merits, but will also foster an understanding of stagecraft. There is still an important place within drama activity for the exploration and study of scripted plays, and we address this aspect in our statements of attainment and programmes of study. At primary level, the range of material for exploration needs to be more diverse: myth, legend, fairy stories, poems. At secondary level, such work can expand naturally into the exploration of dramatic texts. Children's own writing can also be explored - at both levels - through the medium of drama.

    Drama in the secondary school

    8.10 The continued appropriateness of drama activity in the secondary school as a means of developing and broadening pupils' verbal communication skills is clear. Communicating orally involves more than reading or talking: gesture, posture, movements may all be intrinsic to it. Drawing on the fundamental drive to imitate and delving deeply into the pupil's personal experience and imaginative resources, drama may embrace all these elements of communication.

    8.11 Moreover, given that the social interaction involved in drama inspires spoken language, drama activities can be structured to focus pupils' energies on experimenting with and developing control of a wide variety of language styles. Drama quickly reveals to children the effectiveness of language, building up their language resources and allowing them to develop an awareness of a whole range of linguistic choices and registers. Different situations demand different emotional and linguistic responses. In presenting pupils with a variety of different challenges and situations, drama can, for example, provide opportunities for them to:

    • provide information, give instructions, and explanations;
    • predict and plan;
    • narrate, recount, report on a past or present experience, real or imagined;
    • argue, discuss, defend and justify a point of view;
    • persuade, negotiate, mediate;
    • come to conclusions, sum up.

    8.12 As a method of developing pupils' skills in speaking and listening, drama is as important within secondary school learning as it is at primary level. Role play, in particular, affords opportunities to practise many more varieties of


    [page 101]

    language and to experience a far wider range of situations than could typically be achieved within normal classroom experience. In our speaking and listening programmes of study it is therefore recommended specifically as a learning medium. (See paragraph 15.29.)

    8.13 Drama provides a discipline for the development of co-ordination, concentration, commitment, organisation and decision-making that depends upon self and group awareness, observation, imagination and co-operation. It helps pupils express emotions and explore personal feelings; it encourages them to make sense of different situations and different points of view, to practise negotiating successfully with others, and to cope with - and resolve - new situations. The importance of such skills in enabling school-leavers to present themselves with confidence and to function effectively within the world of work and as responsible citizens is clear.

    8.14 The process described in paragraphs 8.6, 8.7 and 8.13 above is one outcome (the personal/social aspect) of the process of learning through drama. Drama is both a creative art form in its own right and also an instrument of learning. Teachers who use drama are working in partnership with pupils. They are not the possessors of the "right" answers or a collection of facts to be imparted. Skilled teachers of drama give pupils the tools of the trade, encouraging them to become more autonomous in their handling of the dramatic medium and so to take greater responsibility for their own learning.

    8.15 There is a significant parallel with the set of values inherent in the study and experience of literature. Many English teachers testify enthusiastically to the importance they attach to improvisation and role play in exploring texts in the secondary school. Pupils use drama to gain insights into moral and social issues in works of literature. They can also use the medium to explore character or linguistic or structural features of texts. Shadow and body puppets, for example, can prove an effective way of dramatising poetry and lead to a thoughtful analysis of rhythm, form and movement.

    8.16 It is obvious that drama in the English secondary curriculum is content-based, as well as process-based. At secondary school level, pupils will be involved in the study of plays and dramatic texts. As actors, audience or directors (all three, we hope) they will be the interpreters of plays written by others. As we said in paragraph 8.9, pupils should approach plays through the dramatic medium. This exploratory and performance-based approach will not only lead to a deeper understanding of the text in question (a dramatic exploration of a speech in Shakespeare, for instance, will show how the placing of different emphases can alter fundamentally one's interpretation of character or meaning) but will also lead to an understanding of the play as theatre. Performance-based activity may, of course, take place at classroom level, in small-scale improvisational sessions or in text work. Where practical, however, pupils should be encouraged to take every opportunity to widen their experience of audiences and/or co-actors. The mounting of school productions and active involvement in community or touring theatre initiatives are thus of immense value.

    8.17 The success of Theatre in Education - which brings professional actors to work with children in schools - is a particularly valuable demonstration of the ways in which pupils can learn through experience in their approach to plays. The approach that is encouraged and engendered is active and investigative, rather than passive and prescribed. This principle is at the very heart of all the recommendations relating to drama within the English curriculum that are put forward in this chapter.



    [page 102]

    9 Media education and information technology

    "Round the city of Caxton, the electronic suburbs are rising. To the language of books is added the language of television and radio, ... the processed codes of the computer. As the shapes of literacy multiply, so our dependence on language increases.." (1)

    Introduction

    9.1 The supplementary guidance to our terms of reference mentions both media studies and information technology (IT):

    "English teaching will provide one appropriate context ... for developing information handling skills, ... and for media studies. ... The practical use of word processors in developing writing provides an introduction to information technology".

    9.2 Media education and information technology; alike enlarge pupils' critical understanding of how messages are generated, conveyed and interpreted in different media. First-hand use of media equipment (eg in making videos) and other technologies (such as desk top publishing) can contribute to children's practical understanding of how meanings are created.

    9.3 We already have television, video tapes and disks, word processors, desk top publishing, electronic data bases, electronic mail, and experimentation in areas such as hypertext, natural language processing and so on. Their use will become more widespread. New technologies and products will develop. For schools this also implies:

    • an increase in data collections of all kinds and in the use of authentic language materials for teaching about the uses of language;
    • an increase in accessibility to such collections via CD-ROM, video disk, satellite links, etc;
    • an increase in the diversity of learning materials geared to the needs of different learners;
    • a proliferation of self-access teaching materials and study packages, including interactive materials;
    • the development of new study skills to access and to make best use of such materials, and the reinforcement of existing skills in new contexts.
    9.4 We have included in our proposals for programmes of study those aspects of media education and information technology which contribute most directly to the central aim of English: to widen the range of children's understanding and use of language, and to develop their skills in it. Assessment of achievements in English should therefore be primarily concerned with such understanding and skills, rather than with pupils' knowledge about and competence in using IT and media facilities as such. Indeed, media education and IT also have their own academic integrity, particularly in the secondary school as specialised timetabled subjects outside the National Curriculum. The English curriculum should prepare pupils for possible study of these subjects as separate options, and not seek to supplant them.

    9.5 Many aspects of media education and IT involve the use of machines: still cameras, video, computer terminals, etc. Our culture often regards machines as a male preserve, and girls may need opportunities and encouragement to show that they can be just as expert as boys in such areas. It may sometimes be necessary, for example, to arrange for girls to have access to the technology in single sex groups if they are to develop a confident and active understanding of the media. New forms of technology often appear to hold out the promise of increased access to knowledge but may then be introduced or perceived in such a way as to reinforce traditional bias. Similar points may also be made about the access of different social groups to forms of educational technology. We wish all pupils to be able to benefit from the opportunities that the new media and technologies offer, and we have framed our proposals accordingly.

    Media education

    9.6 Our terms of reference use the title "media studies", which may be best reserved for specialist study. We have interpreted our remit broadly in accordance with the following description of "media education":

    "Media education ... seeks to increase children's critical understanding of the media - namely, television, film, video, radio, photography, popular music, printed materials, and computer

    (1) Kingman Report, paragraph 2.7.


    [page 103]

    software. How they work, how they produce meaning, how they are organised and how audiences make sense of them, are the issues that media education addresses. [It] aims to develop systematically children's critical and creative powers through analysis and production of media artefacts. This also deepens their understanding of the pleasure and enjoyment provided by the media. Media education aims to create more active and critical media users who will demand, and could contribute to, a greater range and diversity of media products". (2)

    9.7 Media education should be concerned not only with modern mass media such as television, cinema and radio, but also with all public forms of communication including printed materials (books as well as newspapers) and computerised sources of information such as data bases.

    9.8 We have considered media education largely as part of the exploration of contemporary culture, alongside more traditional literary texts. And we emphasise elsewhere that the concepts of text and genre should be broadly interpreted in English. Television and film form substantial parts of pupils' experience out of school and teachers need to take this into account. Pupils should have the opportunity to apply their critical faculties to these major parts of contemporary culture.

    9.9 Media education, like drama, deals with fundamental aspects of language, interpretation and meaning. It is therefore consonant with the aims of English teaching. In fact, media education has often developed in a very explicit way concepts which are of general importance in English. These include selection (of information, viewpoint, etc), editing, author, audience, medium, genre, stereotype, etc.

    9.10 We have drawn on these aspects in developing our recommendations for attainment targets and programmes of study. In particular, we have included the treatment of non-literary and media texts in the reading profile component.

    Information technology

    9.11 The English class should be one setting where pupils learn to use IT to:

    • help in the production and reception of written language for different audiences (eg by using desk top publishing, spelling checkers, thesauruses, etc);
    • send and receive messages: electronic mail can, for example, link classes elsewhere in the country or in other countries, and can provide very powerful ways of creating real audiences for children's writing;
    • give and respond to precise and accurate instructions, upon which successful use of the technology depends, as does language competence more generally;
    • comprehend systems of filing and classification, including alphabetic ordering, lists of contents, indexes, symbols etc: the organisation, storage and retrieval of information is, again, an important language skill generally;
    • gain an understanding of some of the ways in which information can be manipulated (eg in data bases, mail merge programs), and therefore show increasing discrimination in their interpretation of such information.
    9.12 The word processor extends opportunities for development and reflection on ideas and meanings, for example in designing, outlining and re-structuring, and through the ability of writers to engage in dialogue with their own thoughts in the form of clean hard copy (printed text). The possibilities are analogous to those in graphics that are offered to the designer by computer aided design (CAD). Since the information on a word processor or computer screen is visible to several children at once, it can be a vehicle for group discussion and exploration of the language. Word processors are regarded in the business world as productivity tools, but writers have come to see them also as tools of creativity.

    9.13 In these ways English teachers have much to contribute to children's familiarity with this technology and its uses, alongside the major aim of exploiting it to promote language knowledge and skills in themselves. This is reflected in our recommendations for programmes of study in both the reading and the writing profile components.

    9.14 This will not however be achieved as long as IT is regarded as the province of mathematics, science and technology in the curriculum, and English - or other language - teachers are seen as having little part to play. IT equipment and facilities are becoming increasingly common in schools. They can and should be made readily accessible to teachers and pupils in English as in other subjects. Our recommendations presuppose this.

    (2) Cary Bazalgette, ed (1989), Primary Media Education: A Curriculum Statement, BFI Education Department, London.


    [page 104]

    10 Bilingual children (1)

    Introduction

    10.1 Our terms of reference made it clear that we were to concern ourselves with the English curriculum for all pupils, whatever their mother tongue. In particular they stressed that "The framework [for English] should ensure, at the minimum, that all school-leavers are competent in the use of English - written and spoken - whether or not it is their first language." The supplementary guidance also said: "The group should also take account of the ethnic diversity of the school population and society at large, bearing in mind the cardinal point that English should be the first language and medium of instruction for all pupils in England".

    10.2 We discuss elsewhere in this Report one of the central aims of the English curriculum, which is to extend the range of language in which children are competent. Many children in our schools speak languages other than English. For these children, therefore, this means adding competence in Standard English to their competence in other languages. English is clearly the "first language" of the education system. But it would be a great loss if pupils' knowledge of a range of other languages was to decline.

    10.3 The distribution of bilingual children varies widely across the country, but the total numbers and diversity are certainly significant. The 1987 Language Survey conducted by ILEA found 23% of the Authority's school population using a language other than or in addition to English at home, with 170 different languages spoken by its pupils. On the basis of the limited evidence available some 5% of all schools in England are likely to have a significant population of children for whom English is not their mother tongue.

    10.4 This represents a very great pool of linguistic competence. One of the main aims of the National Curriculum is a knowledge of other languages for all pupils, and an Order covering modern foreign languages in the curriculum is being made, which includes both European and non-European languages.

    Entitlement to English

    10.5 We believe that all children should be enabled to attain a full command of the English language, both spoken and written. Otherwise they will be disadvantaged, not only in their study of other subjects, but also in their working life. We note that in this respect we are following the path already trodden by the Swann Committee. They stated firmly: "... the key to equality of opportunity, to academic success and, more broadly, to participation on equal terms as a full member of society, is good command of English and the emphasis must therefore we feel be on the learning of English." (2) The Swann Committee had also noted "... the views expressed very clearly to us at our various meetings with parents from the whole range of ethnic minority groups that they want and indeed expect the education system to give their children above all a good command of English as rapidly as possible ..." (3)

    10.6 Our initial reaction to our brief in respect of bilingual pupils was that all pupils must have access to the same attainment targets and programmes of study for English. After consulting many of those actively concerned with teaching English to bilingual pupils, who firmly endorsed this view, we are reinforced in our belief that this is indeed the right course.

    10.7 We recognise that the bald statement in the preceding paragraph requires amplification. The TGAT Report suggests that headteachers might exempt children with language difficulties in English from tests where the problem is so severe as to render the assessment unworkable. (4) For example, there will be some pupils who may have arrived in this country only shortly before the assessment time at one of the key ages. In such cases, we suggest that regulations made under section 19 of the 1988 Act, which allow disapplication of the provisions of the National Curriculum, should enable headteachers to exempt such pupils from the assessment requirements for English.

    (1) Excluding those in Welsh-medium schools in Wales.

    (2) Education for All, the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Education of Children from Ethnic Minority Groups, (the Swann Committee Report) chapter 7, paragraph 3.16.

    (3) Education for All, chapter 7, paragraph 3,13,

    (4) TGAT First Report, paragraph 53.


    [page 105]

    10.8 We are also aware of the problem that assessment in English, particularly that at age 7, could result in bilingual children reaching only a comparatively low level of achievement. If the results of assessment are used in the ways intended and if the evidence of research and HMI findings of good practice are heeded, these children should in fact benefit, because their problems with the English language will have been identified and appropriate action can be taken to help at an early stage. As the TGAT Report said: "... it should be recognised that to record a low level of performance for this reason [English as a second language (E2L)] would be no reflection on a pupil's general ability but merely an indication that the pupil needed special help in English language skills." (5) The results of assessment should be part of a continuing process of recording a pupil's stages of language development, and this record should be available to all his or her teachers.

    10.9 It may be suggested that we are inconsistent, or even guilty of unreasonable discrimination, in that we insist on assessment in English in England for pupils whose mother tongue is not English, whereas in Wales we recommend that pupils being taught through the medium of Welsh be exempted from the key stage 1 attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment. The positions are not comparable. In Wales, Welsh is an official language and a core subject of the National Curriculum for pupils in Welsh medium schools or classes - the only pupils for whom English is to be disapplied at key stage 1; no such language other than English is in such a position in England. These pupils in Wales do not start formally to be taught English until the age of 7 or 8; all pupils in England will be required to be taught English from age 5.

    Implications for teaching

    10.10 There is much evidence of the ways in which bilingual children can best be helped to attain competence in English. It would be inadvisable for us to try to lay down too specific a strategy, because of the immense variety of English language knowledge and experience within the group loosely categorised as bilingual children. However, there are some themes which recur in the evidence of those we have consulted and which were first sounded in the Bullock and Swann Reports. The latter said "We are wholly in favour of a move away from E2L provision being made on a withdrawal basis, whether in language centres or separate units within schools." (6) The HMI survey of English as a second language in six LEAs (published 1988) found that, on balance, the children in the survey made most progress where the programme to provide help with their English was designed to support the mainstream curriculum but with the oral component heightened. It was stressed to us that pupils having difficulty with English because it was their second language should not be equated with pupils with other special educational needs. In particular, such pupils should not be offered materials with a reduced cognitive demand. This point is made also in the reports of the mathematics and science working groups. (7) The implications are therefore that, where bilingual pupils need extra help, this should be given in the classroom as part of normal lessons and that there may be a need for bilingual teaching support and for books and other written material to be available in the pupils' mother tongues until such time as they are competent in English. We recognise that there are resource implications here, which in practical terms we cannot quantify.

    10.11 Bilingual pupils at secondary school should be helped to extend their range of English so that they can undertake high level tasks alongside their peers. E2L teachers can contribute greatly here if they work closely with subject teachers in developing an appropriate curriculum and content. The E2L teacher has a great deal to offer subject specialists about the language approaches and assessment of the subject. Expectations need to be appropriately set and as high for bilingual pupils as for all others.

    10.12 Bilingual children should be considered an advantage in the classroom rather than a problem. The evidence shows that such children will make greater progress in English if they know that their knowledge of their mother tongue is valued, if it is recognised that their experience of language is likely to be greater than that of their monoglot peers and, indeed, if their knowledge and experience can be put to good use in the classroom to the benefit of all pupils to provide examples of the structure and syntax of different languages, to provide a focus for discussion about language forms and for

    (5) TGAT First Report, paragraph 53.

    (6) Education for All, chapter 7, paragraph 2.10.

    (7) Report of the National Curriculum Mathematics Working Group, paragraph 10.23; report of the National Curriculum Science Working Group, appendix D, paragraph 23.


    [page 106]

    contrast and comparison with the structure of the English language. We endorse the view of the Kingman Committee: "It should be the duty of all teachers to instil in their pupils a civilised respect for other languages and an understanding of the relations between other languages and English. It should be made clear to English-speaking pupils that classmates whose first language is Bengali or Cantonese, or any other of the scores of languages spoken by the school population ... have languages quite as systematic and rule-governed as their own". (8) We also believe that "civilised respect" for other languages is based on the recognition that all languages are able to express complex emotions and ideas.

    10.13 To illustrate what can be done here, we quote from the statement of policy of the English department of a multi-racial inner-city school: "Pupils need to develop full control of their language use. They therefore need to gain insight into what language is and what it can do, insights which bilingual children intuitively possess." and "Whilst we recognise that they [bilingual pupils] need to gain access to standard forms of English - used widely as a vehicle for implementing the school curriculum, we recognise the value and importance of their own dialects and languages. Language competence is regarded as the ability to adapt language to different roles and situations." (9)

    10.14 As we point out in chapter 13, on bilingualism in Wales, there are exciting possibilities for initiatives in knowledge about language, particularly in the areas of social and developmental linguistics. The Kingman Report, and earlier chapters of this Report, discuss the place of knowledge about language in the English curriculum. Bilingual children offer opportunities to explore such themes in a novel context, and a study of the different ways in which different languages convey and produce meanings should feature as an element of teachers' schemes of work, wherever this is practicable.

    Literature

    10.15 As we said in chapter 7, we have taken within our remit literature from all parts of the English-speaking world. Children whose families come, for example, from the Caribbean, from countries in Africa or from the Indian sub-continent can greatly enrich discussion about English as a world language and about literature and drama as world concepts.

    10.16 Teachers need to be alive to cultural differences which may particularly affect bilingual pupils' handling of literature. Many secondary pupils are likely to be more aware than younger children of their cultural and religious frames of reference. In some cultures, critical analysis of texts is relatively unknown and may, indeed, be thought offensive. Teachers need to be sensitive to this possibility.

    10.17 We have referred in chapter 2 to the need for a language policy across the curriculum. We note that a recommendation to this effect appeared in both the Bullock and the Swann reports. We refer to the point again here because we believe such a policy would be of especial benefit to bilingual or multi-lingual children.

    (8) Kingman Report, chapter 4 paragraph 33.

    (9) Policy statement, English Department, Holte School, Birmingham.


    [page 107]

    11 Equal opportunities

    Introduction

    11.1 The supplementary guidance to our terms of reference (paragraph 13 of appendix 3) notes that "the curriculum should provide equal opportunities for boys and girls". It further notes that the curriculum should take account of "the ethnic diversity of the school population and society at large", and draws attention to the principle that as wide a range of children as possible should have access to the whole curriculum.

    11.2 Issues of equal opportunity may arise in a number of contexts, for example, those of gender, race, disability and religion. Such issues must be a concern of those devising the National Curriculum because the attainment targets and programmes of study must not be biased, deliberately or unwittingly, towards or against any such group. In particular, the National Curriculum assessment methods must enable all pupils to demonstrate what they can do, without the assessment of their performance being unfairly affected by the context of the task or the preconceptions of the assessor.

    11.3 We reaffirm our conviction that all pupils should pursue the programmes of study and attainment targets recommended in chapters 15 to 17, if they are to be able to participate fully in adult life and employment. This is their entitlement. But not all pupils enter school at age 5 with the same experience and competence: some will be further advanced than others by virtue of their family backgrounds. Schools need to ensure that all pupils, irrespective of their backgrounds, have an equal opportunity to achieve the attainment targets. Pupils with special educational needs may require particular help to pursue the programmes and targets, or in some cases modifications to those, and we address this in chapter 12. But the aim is that, wherever possible, all pupils should have access to the full range of the English curriculum.

    11.4 Such principles are also advocated in the general criteria for GCSE syllabuses. Under "Avoidance of bias" they state:

    "Every possible effort must be made to ensure that syllabuses and examinations are free of political, ethnic, gender and other forms of bias."

    And under "Recognition of cultural diversity" they state:

    "In devising syllabuses and setting question papers Examining Groups should bear in mind the linguistic and cultural diversity of society."

    11.5 It is beyond our brief to attempt a general statement about equal opportunities in education. There are however, certain aspects which have particular importance in English teaching. It is through people's use of language that judgements are often made about their background, abilities and intelligence; and it is through literature and other language media that culture is itself expressed.

    The content of the curriculum

    11.6 English teachers need to be ready to give careful introductions and support when using texts which might otherwise cause offence to some groups, for example if a character with racist attitudes is portrayed, even though the author may not be supporting such attitudes. The choice of subjects for imaginative writing may also require care.

    11. 7 We discuss in chapter 7 the criteria for a balanced selection of literature in the classroom: it should include both British and non-British, both female and male authors, etc. The books chosen for study should also encompass a balanced range of presentations of other societies, and of ethnic and social groupings and life-styles within our own society.

    11.8 It is well known that girls and boys tend to choose different books, and indeed that teenage boys tend to drop voluntary reading altogether. If this difference is simply accepted, it will only serve to strengthen stereotypes. All teachers should therefore enable and encourage both girls and boys to read a variety of genres by a variety of authors, including those which challenge stereotypes of the roles of the sexes and of different cultural groups. In literature and in media education, pupils should explore, for example, ways in which different groups in society are stereotyped or their viewpoints represented, and in which stories can be recast to reflect different authorial attitudes or characterisations of participants. Work on knowledge about language should involve discussion of matters such as sexist language;


    [page 108]

    styles of interaction in social groups (see below); how hidden messages about social groups (such as teenagers or older people) which are conveyed by advertising etc can be decoded for the values they contain and for the differences between what is said and what is implied.

    Tasks and assessment

    11.9 Children should be judged on what they can do and on what they know, not on who they are. But to ignore the evidence of differences in performance between gender or ethnic groups can lead to unjust treatment of individuals.

    11.10 Substantial research has shown that different ethnic groups (eg children of Caribbean or Asian origin) display different ranges of attainments in the British education system. There are also documented differences between the average test performances of girls and boys in different curricular subjects. (See TGAT Report, appendix F.) And a strong association between social background and educational attainment is one of the best demonstrated findings of educational research. (See TGAT Report, appendix J.) The causes of such differences are not well understood. But curricular and assessment arrangements should aim to raise expectations and to help to narrow the gap wherever possible.

    11.11 As well as such differences in educational attainment, there are differences in the characteristic linguistic behaviour of various groups. It is here also that English teachers have particular responsibilities. The possibility of bias arises especially in the assessment of oracy, because of the difficulty of separating pupils' spoken language from perceptions of their personality and background.

    11.12 Oracy involves teaching and assessing children's language behaviour with other people. Such behaviour may depend at least partly on the teacher's skill in setting up situations which will elicit the best from each child: most people are shy in some situations and confident in others, and different people's responses to the same situation may vary sharply.

    11.13 Language behaviour is influenced not only by personality but also by convention and culture. Speakers of different languages and cultural backgrounds, and from different social groups, vary quite significantly in their preferred language norms. There is a growing body of research which shows that cultures differ in the way conversations and other forms of spoken discourse are conducted. Features of interaction such as body posture, gesture, preferred distance between speakers, discursive styles, the ways in which politeness is marked or attention to other speakers signalled, differ widely across cultures. Other research illustrates the kinds of cross-cultural communication problems which can arise in interviews and other institutional settings.

    11.14 There are also considerable differences between the sexes in typical speech styles, which carry implications for assessment. For example, boys are more likely than girls from the same social background to:

    • speak with a broader regional accent and use more non-standard grammatical forms;
    • talk about their interests and experiences with less overt enthusiasm, using a narrower pitch range, less variation in speed and volume, and fewer intensifying words and phrases;
    • express beliefs and opinions more confidently;
    • give direct instructions rather than negotiate, in group activities;
    • use ritual insults, jokes, verbal bantering and aggressive argument;
    • interrupt girls rather than boys in conversation.
    Differences in speech styles may also be observed between other social groups.

    11.15 Whether these characteristic differences are judged positively or negatively will depend on the context and purpose of the task. For example, in some tasks, the more direct way of speaking that is more common to boys will be advantageous; in others, the more tentative approach more frequently found in girls will be more appropriate.

    Conclusions

    11.16 Throughout the English curriculum and in the assessment process, teachers should enable all pupils, regardless of gender, ethnic or social group, first to reflect on their performance, and then actively to seek to adapt their language characteristics to situation and purpose. For example, in some situations girls may need to strive to be more assertive, while in others boys may need to develop greater sensitivity in their


    [page 109]

    use of language. The differences in language behaviour between the sexes should be specifically drawn to pupils' attention; in group work in mixed schools teachers could assist reflection, comparison and adaptation by ensuring a balance between mixed and single-sex work wherever appropriate. Similar principles should apply to the treatment of differences in language behaviour between other groups.

    11.17 We do not suggest that results of assessment should be adjusted to take account of characteristic differences between groups in performance. But we expect those preparing standard assessment tasks and other assessment instruments to construct them so as to minimise bias in the task or context and guard against any preconceptions of assessors; and that any comparison of results between single-sex schools or between those with different ethnic or social class populations should be made in the light of the evidence referred to above. We recommend that the School Examinations and Assessment Council should pay special attention to these issues in developing the assessment and reporting arrangements for English.





    [page 110]

    12 Special educational needs

    Introduction

    12.1 Our supplementary guidance said, in relation to special needs: "The Government proposes that where a pupil has a statement of special [educational] needs under the 1981 Education Act, the statement should specify any National Curriculum requirements which should not apply or should be modified for that individual pupil. In addition, orders may define circumstances in which the application of the National Curriculum provisions to individual pupils might be modified or lifted for any foundation subject .... I should be grateful if you would consider whether exceptions of this kind for categories of pupils can be justified in the case of English."

    12.2 As TGAT pointed out, pupils with special educational needs make up a very diverse group. Their difficulties stem from a number of different causes and may be temporary or permanent; and they may be receiving their education either outside the mainstream (whether in special classes or units in ordinary schools, or in special schools) or in ordinary classes in ordinary schools.

    Access through English

    12.3 We believe, and those we have consulted concur whole-heartedly, that competence in English is important, both in its own right and to enable pupils to gain access to and benefit from the other subjects of the National Curriculum. Pupils with special educational needs, like all other pupils, should have the opportunity to experience as far as possible the full range of the English curriculum. For example, pupils with reading problems (including dyslexic pupils) should not be deprived of literature, but should have the opportunity of experiencing it through listening to others reading aloud, whether live or recorded, and through seeing plays and films, as well as through reading suitably simplified versions.

    12.4 We assume therefore that virtually all children will travel along broadly the same curricular path in English, but that some will move more quickly, and further, than others; and some may be around the level 1 attainments for the whole of their school careers. Pupils will also move at different speeds for different activities. Some pupils of secondary school age who have special educational needs may continue to display some literacy skills within the lower levels associated with key stages 1 and 2, so the teaching they receive in English will need to cater for this whilst incorporating material with a range and degree of interest, and in some cases intellectual demand, more appropriate to their chronological age. In other subjects too they may need written and other materials with simplified language demands but perhaps higher demands in other respects. All of the attainment targets in this Report can be assessed at various levels, with corresponding programmes of study leading towards them. Pupils with special educational needs should therefore be able to participate in the attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements, subject where appropriate to the modifications we recommend below.

    Assessment at level 1

    12.5 We understand that level 1 is intended to encompass a wide range of attainment, from those pupils who have barely begun to learn, to those who are very close to achieving level 2. There will be a small minority for whom achieving level 1 alone will present longer-term goals, which they work towards through a series of preliminary programmes. When such pupils attain level 1, the fact that, despite their difficulties, they have started down the curricular path should be acknowledged as a real achievement.

    12.6 A level 1 assessment at age 7 is intended to signal that the child may need special help. In the majority of cases this will merely confirm what teachers already knew, and will strengthen their hands in taking appropriate action, for example seeking assessment under the 1981 Act with a possible view to securing a statement of special educational needs. In others, it will come as something of a surprise, and there may then be a need for the child to undergo further diagnostic tests to establish the extent of the problem. A level 1 performance should always prompt further investigation. This might, for example,


    [page 111]

    reveal that a child who appeared to be inattentive or a slow learner was in fact showing symptoms of specific learning difficulties (dyslexia) or a hearing impairment - possibly an intermittent one such as is associated with otitis media.

    Pupils with 1981 Act statements

    12.7 A small proportion of pupils with special educational needs will have statements made under the Education Act 1981 to specify the educational and other provisions necessary to meet these. The procedures of the 1981 Act ensure that statements are drawn up on the basis of the pupil's individual needs, but with the general aim of ensuring, as far as possible, an education comparable with that of the pupil's age group in the mainstream. The proportion of pupils with statements varies widely across the country, partly because of LEAs' differing policies on "statementing", but overall stands at some 1.7% of the total population of statutory school age, with just over a fifth of these in ordinary rather than special schools. It is impossible to recommend blanket modifications to our proposals for pupils with statements which are, by definition, individually tailored to their needs. However, we offer later in this chapter some general suggestions which may be of assistance to those who will be responsible for incorporating into statements modifications to the National Curriculum requirements.

    Pupils without statements

    12.8 But most pupils with special educational needs will not be the subject of statements. Amongst the general population of children in ordinary schools, about a sixth have special educational needs of one kind or another. Our suggestions will also be relevant to some of the pupils with special educational needs but without statements, whose particular requirements could be met by statutory modifications (which the 1988 Act allows in respect of children falling within certain cases and circumstances) to or within Orders for attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements for English.

    Pupils with learning difficulties

    12.9 Pupils with learning difficulties, with or without statements, are likely to make only slow progress with reading and writing. For such pupils oral work should be given greater emphasis initially, though the skills of reading and writing must not be neglected. Where such pupils also have speech impairments, there may be a case for exempting them altogether from - or modifying - some of the assessment arrangements, even if they continue to pursue the attainment targets and programmes of study.

    12.10 Pupils with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia) should, given appropriate help, achieve as well as pupils without special educational needs. They may however have particular difficulty with the attainment targets concerned with "secretarial" skills, and in this respect they may benefit particularly from using word processors, including spelling checkers. Dyslexic pupils will, we understand, benefit especially from explicit teaching about language, which is already included in our recommended programmes of study and which may need adaptation and reinforcement for such pupils. The reading attainment target contains statements of attainment for the earlier levels which relate to information retrieval. We understand that explicit teaching of this skill should also be of especial value to pupils with specific learning difficulties, who generally find it difficult to master.

    Pupils with physical disabilities

    12.11 Pupils with physical disabilities should in general have the same attainment targets and programmes of study as their peers. But where their particular disability impairs their access to the curriculum, this access should be facilitated by alternative means, and it should be recognised that the problem of access may hinder their initial progress, though they may be expected to catch up later.

    12.12 Some pupils with physical disabilities may require the writing attainment targets to be modified. For example, the handwriting target, which applies up to level 4, and the presentation target, which applies from levels 5 to 7, might be inappropriate. Such pupils should be enabled to produce their written work on a word processor or concept keyboard.

    Pupils with impaired vision

    12.13 Pupils with impaired vision will obviously experience difficulty with reading. Depending


    [page 112]

    on the degree of impairment, they may need special large-print books or optical or electronic devices for enlarging and enhancing print, or to be taught braille. Even so they may also have difficulty in covering the full range of literature suggested, though not in understanding or enjoying it. They may therefore need to be read to or to listen to "talking book" cassettes. Where the reading skill required is that of interpreting such things as labels and road signs, they should pursue the normal targets and programmes as far as possible for their own safety, though they may need help where practicable to interpret these things through other than ordinary visual means. Such pupils may also have difficulty with writing. They might therefore be exempted from - or given modified - handwriting and presentation targets and, depending on the degree of impairment, undertake the writing tasks through alternative means of communication, using technological aids.

    Pupils with impaired hearing

    12.14 Profoundly deaf pupils will almost certainly need modification of the speaking and listening component, especially if they were born deaf or lost their hearing before acquiring language. They might be allowed to use signing, or speech with signing support. It should also be recognised that their progress with reading and writing is likely to be handicapped initially if they come to school with a restricted knowledge and experience of language. Moreover, since their condition limits their ability to pick up and assimilate new words and to understand the subtleties of language, the problem becomes greater as more specialised vocabulary and abstract terms are introduced. The achievements of pupils with a hearing impairment will undoubtedly be affected by these factors, and this will need to be taken into account, for example in the assessment of the first attainment target in writing. Pupils with less severe hearing impairments may also need modifications to the requirements, but of a less far-reaching nature.

    Temporary problems

    12.15 For pupils with temporary problems, it will be for head teachers to decide whether the National Curriculum provisions should be modified temporarily. These temporary problems might include medical problems, family crises and other similar major difficulties; they might apply to pupils with special educational needs as to any other pupils. The suggestions outlined in paragraphs 12.9 to 12.14 above may provide some guidance in these situations too. Pupils with temporary problems might also include Traveller children affected by discontinuity of schooling. In all these cases head teachers will need to consider what action is most appropriate in the circumstances.

    External assistance

    12.16 Some pupils with special educational needs, with or without statements, may need assistance to enable them to communicate their achievements. Such assistance may come from, for example, speech therapists, occupational therapists, medical specialists or psychologists. We recognise that there may be resource implications, but feel the involvement of such experts to be essential if the pupils concerned are to be enabled to perform in English to their full potential. For most pupils, however, assistance can be expected to be found from within the school's own resources. It should come through day-to-day teacher contact, and through language specialists' involvement in support teaching and in helping their colleagues to use appropriate language consistently across the curriculum.



    [page 113]

    13 English language and literature in the schools of Wales

    Introduction

    13.1 English is the first language of five out of six pupils in Wales and is the main medium of instruction in the great majority of schools. For a very large number of primary pupils in Wales the attainment targets and programmes of study we propose will be as appropriate as they are for pupils in England. However, in Wales there is a significant number of schools where Welsh rather than English is the main medium of instruction and where a substantial proportion of pupils may have Welsh as their first language. Some of these schools may be formally designated as Welsh schools (Ysgolion Cymraeg). Nevertheless, many of these will be attended, especially in English-speaking areas, by pupils the great majority of whom speak English as their first language. Others may not be designated as Welsh schools but may nonetheless use Welsh as the main medium because the community served is largely Welsh-speaking and a significant proportion of pupils speaks Welsh as the first language. Welsh is also taught as a second language in the majority of schools in Wales, but for varying proportions of pupils' time. The National Curriculum Welsh Working Group has the remit to recommend attainment targets and programmes of study in Welsh for both Welsh- and English-speaking pupils.

    English in primary schools in Wales

    13.2 We understand that the existing language policies of all LEAs and the Welsh language policy of the Secretary of State for Wales attempt to meet the needs of pupils across the range of circumstances outlined above. The eventual aim of teaching both Welsh and English to pupils in primary schools is a degree of bilingualism which represents a worthwhile educational achievement at the age of 11 and which can be the basis for further progress in secondary school. In those schools which teach Welsh as a second language but do not use it extensively as a medium of instruction, pupils can in general properly be expected to undertake the programmes of study and attainment targets deemed appropriate for English-speaking pupils in England. Of the pupils attending those schools which aim to use Welsh as a main medium, in Welsh-speaking areas a proportion, and in the designated Welsh schools of the English-speaking areas the great majority, may be English-speaking initially. There is in these schools an attempt to establish an early capability in Welsh and considerable emphasis on learning in and through the language. This is necessary not only to give initial English-speakers the means whereby they may learn effectively through Welsh, but also to strengthen Welsh-speaking pupils' grasp of the language. This approach usually extends to the end of the infant stage; English is formally introduced as a subject and medium at about the age of 7 in most Welsh-medium schools, though there may well be some informal use of English earlier.

    13.3 Given the above circumstances, we have recommended that our attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements for the first key stage should be waived for pupils taught mainly through Welsh at the infants' stage. The Secretary of State for Wales accepted this recommendation, and his formal proposal for regulations to effect it has we understand, been widely welcomed.

    13.4 English is taught as a subject and to a lesser extent used as a medium in all Welsh-medium schools at the junior stage. Pupils will also encounter English in the community outside school and in particular through the mass media, and many pupils become increasingly influenced by this experience of English between the ages of 7 and 11. As a result of these educational and social influences the great majority of pupils in Welsh-medium schools achieve a satisfactory degree of bilingualism by the age of 11 and it is appropriate for them to be assessed against the attainment targets set for pupils in English-medium schools. The evidence accumulated over the course of APU surveys suggests that there are no significant differences between the performance at 11 in English of pupils educated mainly through Welsh and other pupils (whether the latter are in schools in Wales or elsewhere in the UK).

    13.5 The programmes of study proposed in Welsh-medium schools for the 8 to 11 age group will need modification to accommodate the needs of pupils whose first formal teaching in and


    [page 114]

    through English has been delayed until the age of 7. Such modification need only be slight, since these pupils are older and more mature when they begin English and will already have experienced a similar range of programmes of study in Welsh. In addition, many of them will be initially English-speaking and will be making continual and substantial use of English outside school, particularly in speaking and reading. Therefore the only modification we recommended in our first Report was that any material in the English programmes of study for the 5 to 7 age group not covered by the Welsh equivalent should be included in the English programmes of study for these pupils in the 8 to 11 age group. This recommendation was accepted by the Secretary of State for Wales.

    English in secondary schools in Wales

    13.6 In secondary schools in Wales, all pupils will be learning both English and Welsh. The Secretary of State for Wales has accepted our recommendation that, for key stage 2, the same range of levels, statements of attainment, programmes of study and assessment arrangements as those applicable to pupils in England should apply to pupils in Wales, whether in Welsh- or English-medium schools. It therefore follows that our recommended range of levels, statements of attainment, programmes of study and assessment arrangements for key stages 3 and 4 should apply to all pupils in Wales.

    13.7 We think it unlikely that any modification will be required to the programmes of study for pupils in key stages 3 and 4, who have been educated mainly through the medium of Welsh. We would, however, recommend that those for key stage 3 be carefully scrutinised to see whether there is any need to emphasise particular elements in the light of the modifications to the key stage 2 programmes of study. There may also prove to be areas of language study common to the programmes of study for both English and Welsh. We therefore suggest that our proposals and those of the Welsh Working Group for first language Welsh speakers be examined for overlap, with the possibility of modification in mind, so that bilingual speakers of Welsh and English may not have to study the same linguistic features twice over. For this purpose our respective proposals on knowledge about language will have to be scrutinised together.

    13.8 We assume that SEAC, advised as necessary by CCW, will develop assessment processes which reflect the fact that there are similar developmental stages in learning both languages. We are aware and very much welcome the fact that acceptance of the proposed attainment targets and programmes of study will mean in at least some Welsh-medium schools a more systematic approach to the teaching of English than is sometimes encountered. It will also entail in some schools a more explicit policy for the systematic use of both Welsh and English as media of instruction. It is essential that English staff co-operate with their Welsh-teaching colleagues to develop coherent school policies for the teaching of many aspects of language and for language use across the curriculum. The possibilities offered for initiatives in knowledge about language are exciting, particularly in the areas of social and developmental linguistics, including choice of language as well as choice of appropriate style within one mother tongue. Additional problems may have to be faced in the development of referencing skills in bilingual pupils, for whom it may be a frequent experience that information has to be extracted in one language for exploitation in the other. The skills involved are those we should wish to see as widespread as possible in a bilingual situation. In this context a well-resourced and adequately staffed central library may well be a requirement. We hope that scrutiny of our proposals and those of the Welsh Working Group will enable such schools more effectively to attain their bilingual aims.

    Knowledge about language

    13.9 The Kingman Report and earlier chapters of our Report have discussed the place of knowledge about language in the teaching and learning of English. The bilingual aims of Welsh-medium schools (and to a lesser extent those of schools where Welsh is taught as a second language) offer opportunities to explore this theme in a novel context. An examination of the different ways in which the two languages convey and produce meanings should feature as an element of programmes of study in English and Welsh in all schools in Wales, and in particular in the mainly Welsh-medium schools.

    Literature

    13.10 In an earlier chapter of this Report we have proposed that schools and individual teachers


    [page 115]

    should retain a considerable measure of freedom in the choice of literature to be read by and with pupils, but that such choice should take careful account of pupils' interests. In Wales it should also take special account of pupils' cultural environment. This culture is increasingly one which is common to young people in many countries, but which nonetheless continues to retain local and regional characteristics. The Welsh dimension to the curriculum will be manifested in a number of subjects, and English can make a significant contribution, not least in the choice of literature for use in the classroom. The works of the so-called "Anglo-Welsh" writers and (in English-medium schools) translations of major works in Welsh should figure in such a choice as a literary expression of the many different things it can mean to live in Wales. Nevertheless we have not thought it appropriate to specify any particular literature in our programmes of study, which are intended to be given statutory force.





    [page 116]

    14 Assessment

    Introduction

    14.1 Our supplementary guidance invited us to offer advice in broad terms about assessment, having regard to the TGAT reports, in relation to the attainment targets we recommended, and particularly on what might appropriately be measured by nationally prescribed tests. Chapter 1 and appendix 4 set out the framework within which we have operated. The reports from TGAT also contain a number of detailed recommendations for matters to be considered by the subject working groups. These include in particular the following:

    • within each subject, attainment targets should be grouped into preferably not more than four profile components for assessment and reporting purposes. The relative weighting of the targets within each component should be indicated;
    • a criterion-referenced set of levels of attainment should be specified for each attainment target, to span the full range of performance and progression over the ages concerned;
    • for each profile component, the types of externally prescribed standard assessment tasks or tests to be used should be specified, together with the balance between these and forms of internal assessment by teachers, and how far these are novel and require special development;
    • particular attention should be paid to the focus of assessment in fields such as the arts where processes or aspects of performance are more difficult to appraise in isolation from the performance as a coherent whole;
    • advice should be given on the circumstances in which different levels of aggregation of assessment results across attainment targets and profile components might be appropriate, and how it should be done.
    14.2 TGAT also noted that working groups and others would need to co-ordinate their recommendations in order to secure consistency across the curriculum in the definition of profile components and to ensure that elements common to two or more subjects were covered without omission or duplication.

    14.3 We have taken to heart TGAT's comment that "The assessment process itself should not determine what is to be taught and learned. It should be the servant, not the master, of the curriculum. Yet it should not simply be a bolt-on addition at the end. Rather, it should be an integral part of the educational process, continually providing both 'feedback' and 'feedforward". (1)

    14.4 Our detailed advice on the assessment of each area of English is set out in the chapters concerned with our recommended profile components. It has been formulated in accordance not only with the above-mentioned framework but also with the general principles for the assessment of English which we describe in the following paragraphs.

    14.5 We acknowledge the problems in defining a linear sequence of language development, which have been the subject of a great deal of research. This has shown that children do not learn particular features of written language, for example, once and for all at any particular stage; they continually return to the same features and refine their competence. While this does not mean that it is impossible to define any linear development, it does mean that language development must be conceived, fostered and assessed in terms which are broad enough to accommodate variations between individuals in the sequences followed and the effects of iterative processes upon pupils' increasing grasp and sophistication.

    14.6 Such a view of language development is, we believe, still consistent with the proposition that many children can reasonably be expected to know, understand and do certain key things in language by the end of the main educational stages of infant, junior, early and late secondary schooling; and that virtually all children, other than those with special learning difficulties, can be expected to attempt those things. Although the individual paths may be different, the routes tend to converge around certain points in children's lives. The end of each educational

    (1) TGAT, First Report, paragraph 4.


    [page 117]

    stage - with the transition to the next being marked often by a change of school, teacher or teaching approach - then offers a suitable opportunity to take stock of what each pupil has achieved, and his or her further needs. In fact schools already plan the curriculum and schemes of work around their perception of the needs of the class as a whole: this implies a view of the present achievements, pace and direction of desired development for the class, within which variations can be devised for individual pupils. Our proposals for attainment targets and programmes of study are intended to help those assumptions to be made more explicit and acted upon.

    14.7 But it is essential that they should not lead to negative judgements about individual pupils' language competence in narrow discrete areas, and then to arbitrary decisions on the next learning steps in some artificial sequence. That is why we prefer the TGAT concept of a 10-level scale (rather than a simple "pass/fail" system of attainment targets), with each interval broadly representing typical progression observable over a sufficient period of some two years of schooling, and by the same token a degree of differentiation at any one age-point which is not spuriously precise. It is also why we recommend progressive attainment levels within each target which wherever possible allow for gradual growth of sophistication, rather than just acquisition of additional skills; profile components which acknowledge the complex relationship between different facets of language; and programmes of study which are broad enough to accommodate a variety of paths towards the common objective. At the same time we have pitched the targets and levels so as to challenge all children to extend and enrich their language development.

    Ranges of attainment

    14.8 The range of pupil attainment within the 10-level scale will vary at the end of each key stage. We accept TGAT's rough estimate of the median level of attainment at each key stage ie KS1: level 2, KS2: level 4, KS3: levels 5/6 and KS4: levels 6/7. However, empirical evidence suggests that the range of attainment around the median is rather wider than TGAT anticipated. Less able pupils can often make comparable progress with their peers in the acquisition of reading and writing skills up to the age of 9 or 10, but have great difficulty in progressing beyond the level of attainment reached at that stage. By the end of key stage 3 or 4, some of these pupils may have reached only level 2 or 3. Whilst every help and encouragement should be given to such pupils in order that they can continue to make progress, we believe that the range of levels associated with each key stage, for the purposes of programmes of study and assessment, should reflect this characteristic of the learning process in English. It should also reflect the fact that very able pupils may well be able to reach higher levels of attainment earlier in English than in other more content based subjects. We recommend that the range of levels associated with each of the four key stages should be as follows.

    Key Stage 1: Levels 1 to 3 (as in the statutory Order)
    Key Stage 2: Levels 2 to 5
    Key Stage 3: Levels 3 to 8
    Key Stage 4: Levels 3 to 10

    These ranges reflect the likely span of attainment of the great majority of pupils at the end of each key stage and, consequently, the ground programmes of study must cover in order to provide pupils working towards the levels in question with the necessary support. The ranges do not constrain the level of attainment that may be recorded for an individual pupil at the end of a key stage which in exceptional circumstances could be outside the expected range.

    The structure of attainment targets

    14.9 The view of language development expressed above has led us to propose the structure of profile components and attainment targets described in the following chapters. The choice of the modes of language as the basis allows objectives to be set in activities which are recognisable to teacher, pupil and parent, and for differences in the pace and sequence of development in each mode to be registered, while acknowledging the close connections that nevertheless exist between them. It also enables important constituents of English, such as literature, drama and knowledge about language, to be treated as they naturally arise in particular modes, rather than being arbitrarily consigned to some self-contained category.

    14.10 We have deliberately chosen a limited number of attainment targets within each profile component. A balance has to be struck between, on the one hand, an exhaustive catalogue of separately identifiable language achievements,


    [page 118]

    and, on the other, an undifferentiated and possibly selective description of language in the round. The former allows for detailed and unambiguous statements, but risks "atomising" language and making a burden of assessment; conversely, the latter may be easier to monitor and report, but insufficiently comprehensive and more difficult to interpret and act upon. We have judged it right to opt for the second, simpler approach, in the interests of pupils, teachers, parents and the wider public. We discuss below ways of overcoming the difficulties. We argue that our attainment targets together cover all that it is important to assess and report upon formally in English. Although the targets are few in number, each one embraces several cognate aspects of language. There will also be opportunities to report other features of pupils' achievements outside the formal arrangements for National Curriculum assessment: see paragraph 14.41.

    The scope of assessment

    14.11 Assessment methods must be ones in which all concerned can have confidence because they are as valid, reliable and clearly reported as possible. By valid we mean here that the assessment should actually measure what it is intended to measure; by reliable, that it should consistently give the same result for similar performances.

    14.12 We recommend that these requirements should be fulfilled for English by observance of the following principles:

    • assessment should be a continuous process which reinforces teaching and learning. It should be conducted with due economy and not as an addition, costly in both financial and human resources, tacked on at intervals;
    • each pupil's performance against each attainment target during each educational stage should accordingly be covered by some form of structured assessment;
    • since the assessment of language competence is dependent on the task - and context (that is, a child may show different levels of performance in the same language area when undertaking tasks of different kinds or set in different contexts), the widest practicable range of types of tasks and settings should be used, including where appropriate the unfamiliar as well as the familiar;
    • assessment should pay attention to the process as well as the product of the t difficulties or strengths, as well as the quality of the finished work;
    • finally, because it is important that the assessment process be trusted by all those concerned (pupils, teachers, parents, employers, those in further and higher education, and the public at large) the criteria should be clearly understood, widely accepted as reasonable, and capable of unambiguous interpretation in operation.
    Internal and external assessment

    14.13 We are asked to consider the balance between internal assessment by teachers, and externally-prescribed and standardised assessment. We believe that both have important parts to play in each profile component. We offer detailed advice in the chapters on each profile component.

    14.14 The TGAT report proposed that external assessment should be in the form of standard assessment tasks (SATs) which could involve a package of different items stemming from everyday classroom activities, a variety of methods of teacher presentation and pupil response (oral, written, graphical, practical), a degree of choice in the context and setting of each task, and be conducted over an extended period rather than confined to a short timed exercise. We consider all these features to be important for valid and reliable language assessment. External assessment should sample all the attainment targets applicable at each stage, though not necessarily every strand within each target.

    14.15 Internal assessment for National Curriculum purposes should be carried out as an integral part of day-to-day classroom activities. It should draw upon tasks and activities related to those used in the SATs. Differentiation by task should be used more extensively here than in SATs, although teachers should guard against persistent use of tasks making inappropriate demands based on wrongly-pitched expectations of pupils' performance. While internal assessment should give teachers more scope to select activities and contexts to meet the current circumstances of the class or individual pupils, and to explore outcomes in greater depth, it should nevertheless be planned, structured, conducted and recorded so that it supports and informs National Curriculum requirements. It should also be moderated, generally by other teachers in the school. For these reasons we think that teachers will need professional guidance and training in


    [page 119]

    internal assessment for English, and we recommend that the DES and the School Examinations and Assessment Council should commission this.

    14.16 Self-assessment by pupils themselves, even at the primary stage, has a part to play by encouraging a clear understanding of what is expected of them, motivation to reach it, a sense of pride in positive achievements, and a realistic appraisal of weaknesses that need to be tackled. It should be given due weight as part of the evidence towards the teachers' internal assessments.

    Assessment in the primary school

    14.17 TGAT recommended that each pupil should undertake not more than three SATs at age 7, covering at least the three core subjects and perhaps technology; and three or four SATs at age 11, supplemented where appropriate by more specific short tasks. A SAT could include topics relating to mathematics, science and language; and where attainment targets in these subjects have elements in common, for instance in aspects of communication, they could be assessed by the same items. We think this should be done wherever practicable. We have, however, assumed that, at each key stage, the equivalent of about one SAT would be designed to sample all three English profile components. The proposals below relate to that "SAT-equivalent", whether in one single SAT or spread over several.

    14.18 We have proposed that the SAT-equivalent at age 7 should be an extended task, consisting of a series of related sub-tasks sampling each of the individual attainment targets. A combination of modes of teacher presentation should be used, but pupils' responses should be mainly oral or practical except where the target requires some writing or graphical work by the pupil. The sub-tasks should reflect a range of types of process and of contexts, set in a project which is coherent as a whole and involves group as well as individual activity. Schools and teachers should have some choice of alternative contexts from a bank of SATs covering the same broad mixture of processes and making the same level of demand on pupils.

    14.19 Similar principles should apply to the SAT at age 11, but it should incorporate a few separate short tasks as well as an overall extended task, and greater weight should be given to individual activity and to written pupil response.

    14.20 In both cases the tasks should be designed to resemble, and build on, normal classroom activities. Differentiation should be mainly by outcome, not by giving different pupils different tasks pitched at their expected level of performance, though the latter may be appropriate to a small extent in the additional short tasks for pupils aged 11 at the extremes of the range. The tasks should all be capable of being administered, recorded and marked by the class teacher, occasionally with help where needed from another teacher in the school. They should not generally require the presence of an external assessor, although we assume that the combined outcome of internal and external assessment will be subject to some form of moderation.

    Assessment in the secondary school

    14.21 As TGAT said: "Assessment in the secondary phase must take account of emerging subject emphases at 11, and reflect a very largely subject-based organisation in the pre-14 stage and later up to 16 when it must articulate with GCSE and Records of Achievement (RoA)". (2) There may therefore be less scope for a pupil's knowledge and use of English to be assessed through other subjects.

    14.22 TGAT did not make recommendations for the number of SATs at age 14. We suggest that, overall, the SAT (or SATs, depending on the precise arrangements) for pupils aged 14 should comprise an extended task, covering all attainment targets, with some separate short, timed tasks in addition. We recommend that in the SAT at age 14 greater weight than at age 11 should be given to individual activity and to written pupil response.

    Assessment at age 16 - GCSE

    14.23 In the supplementary guidance given to us by the Secretary of State, it was suggested that we assume that all pupils would take GCSE in English (or an equivalent examination). We are therefore not suggesting any alternative assessment arrangements for pupils at age 16 not taking GCSE, and we assume that the National Curriculum assessment arrangements for key stage 4 will, in their final form, be taken as the basis for a revision of the GCSE criteria.

    (2) TGAT, First Report, paragraph 1 to 58.


    [page 120]

    14.24 We are aware that the arrangements whereby GCSE is awarded on the basis of 100% coursework in English have been much welcomed by teachers. However, we recognise also that some anxieties have arisen from these arrangements on account of the scope for outside assistance with coursework. We wish to preserve and build on the immense enthusiasm generated by the introduction of GCSE while introducing SATs which are fair to all pupils. We therefore suggest that assessment in English at age 16 should comprise coursework assessed by teachers, some coursework undertaken under controlled conditions (eg. for a prescribed task, within a given time limit, with certain restrictions on access to reference materials), and SATs including end-of-course assessment and written examinations.

    Dual certification

    14.25 There has been some concern that the introduction of GCSE has had the unintentional effect of squeezing English Literature, as a separate subject for examination, out of some schools. In response to this concern some examining groups have been developing syllabuses for double awards in English and English Literature, entailing the assessment of the same pieces of work against both the English and the English Literature criteria. To enable such syllabuses to be pioneered, the groups obtained from the Secretary of State a temporary dispensation from the English Literature national criterion 4.4.3, which specifies that: "Although the same reading material may be used in courses leading to examinations in English and English Literature, the same pieces of work may not be submitted for assessment of Course Work in both examinations".

    14.26 The attainment targets and programmes of study overall reflect the balance between language and literature which we wish to see in the National Curriculum in English, to be undertaken by all pupils. We also recognise that there may be some pupils who would derive benefit from a wider study of literature than that embodied in our recommendations. This would be undertaken outside the National Curriculum, but, because of the pressures on the timetable, it would nonetheless be advantageous if some of the work undertaken to meet the National Curriculum requirements could be assessed against the additional literature criteria and so count towards the additional qualification. We have been unable in the time available to us to formulate specific recommendations concerning such a course, but we hope that SEAC will encourage the pioneering work of the GCSE examining groups on dual certification and that this will lead to proposals for a course which some pupils could take in addition to that provided to meet the National Curriculum requirements, but where the same pieces of work might be assessed against different criteria contributing towards a separate grade.

    Recording and reporting of performance

    14.27 We offer the following explanations of our thinking about issues of recording, aggregating and reporting assessments, as guidance to SEAC and the developers of SATs. Our overall concern is that the curriculum intentions expressed in our attainment targets and programmes of study, and teaching practice in the classroom, should not be distorted by the procedures agreed for recording, aggregation and reporting. We strongly recommend that the consequences of the chosen procedures should be evaluated by means of a pilot study, simulation exercise or trialling before the first fully reported national assessments, and that they should be kept under review thereafter.

    14.28 There are several points at which some aggregation of an individual pupil's assessment results may be required, for example, when reporting to his or her parents: first, in defining the overall level reached in an attainment target covering several strands; second, in combining the attainment targets within a profile component; and third, in summing the results of profile components for English as a whole. Aggregation procedures will also be required when publicly reporting results for groups of pupils - in a class, school, LEA or nationally.

    Assessment and reporting of strands within attainment targets

    14.29 In deciding a pupil's level of achievement within any one attainment target, we do not believe it is valid or practicable to decide on the level of each individual strand, add those levels together, and produce an average. Such averaging can work only if there is the same number of strands at each level and if each strand is continuous from


    [page 121]

    level 1 to level 10. Our attainment targets do not have the same number of strands at each level, nor are the strands continuous because we are very keen that our presentation of the content, skills and processes of the English curriculum should reflect good practice as far as possible and not be distorted by assessment requirements. (We draw attention to discontinuities in strands in the chapters on each profile component.)

    14.30 Another problem with averaging is that it gives equal weight to each strand within a given level, and this is emphatically not our intention. Our view is that strands are essentially an organisational convenience for dealing with the subject matter in each attainment target - not a theoretical construct, nor a guide to the weight that material should be given in either teaching or assessment. Furthermore, because there are different numbers of strands at different levels, if averaging were applied the weighting of a given strand would vary arbitrarily from level to level, not because of its changing importance within the curriculum but merely by virtue of the number of other strands accompanying it.

    14.31 Accordingly, we believe that a pupil's reported level of attainment within each attainment target should normally be the level at which he or she has achieved every strand. For example, a pupil who had achieved all the strands at level 2 in the reading target and who had progressed to level 3 in two of them would be reported as being at level 2 in reading, with the pupil and his or her parents being told that particularly good progress was being made in the two "advanced" aspects. We set much store by full reporting: it is only fair to the pupil that good performance in particular strands should be noted and reported both to parents and to future employers etc.

    14.32 Provided that the allocation of strands to levels is right (and only empirical experience can confirm this), we believe that a pupil should normally be able to reach roughly the same level of performance in each strand within a target, and our approach to the recording of attainment should work equitably. However, there must be some scope for flexibility to cope with the "near-miss". We would not expect that a near-miss at, say, level 5 in one strand of attainment, when a pupil has clearly achieved level 5 in all the other strands, should result in the pupil being deemed to have reached level 4 overall. That would be too mechanistic - particularly given the scope for interpretation that inevitably exists in judging whether a pupil has reached a level. So we would wish to see allowances made for the near-miss in one strand, and to rely on moderation to ensure that this flexibility works fairly for all pupils.

    14.33 In exceptional cases, there may be a pupil who, in one particular strand, is at a level very much below his or her overall ability in that attainment target. For example, an excessively shy child might not be able to read aloud expressively and yet might be a highly competent reader in all other respects. In such a case, it would be a distortion of the assessment arrangements if the pupil were recorded as being level 2 overall in reading, reflecting level 2 performance in reading aloud, when in all other reading strands he or she was, say, at level 7. We strongly urge that this issue should be given serious attention and that the system of moderation (perhaps leading to "endorsement" of a record of achievement) should be designed to deal sensibly and justly with such cases.

    14.34 We recognise that one implication of our holistic approach to assessment (in which competence is required in all the strands of an attainment target) is that the standard achieved in English may appear to be lower than that in other subjects. This is because there is a problem peculiar to English in trying to express the overall level of attainment reached in the subject in terms which are fair and convey meaning. The English profile components, attainment targets and programmes of study as we have defined them cover a very wide span of human activity including aesthetic, expressive, analytical and descriptive abilities as well as interpersonal skills, in ways which those for other, more content-based subjects will not. We want to stress the high degree of overall achievement that is involved in reaching each level in our attainment targets - demanding equal proficiency in a range of skills. and understanding.

    14.35 Any such under-reporting may not matter too much provided that it is consistent for all schools, LEAs and nationally, and provided that the basis for aggregation is not changed over time. But the fact should be recognised in any statements about eg our national performance in English, and in comparison of "before" and "after" the introduction of the National Curriculum. If, in practice, there seems to be understatement of performance to a marked degree, then that may suggest that some strands of attainment need to be modified or the levels to which they are allocated changed.


    [page 122]

    14.36 We would expect strands in each attainment target to be taught together since most are closely interwoven. This should be reflected in the assessment process. There is likely to be a single context in which attainment in all the strands is assessed and it would make no sense to try to assess each strand in a separate context. We firmly recommend against strand-specific assessment or testing: there should not be SATs or examinations designed to assess performance solely in any part of an attainment target rather than in the whole target. We do however expect that teachers and assessors should form a clear impression of a pupil's attainment within each strand rather than just seek an overall impression for the target as a whole. This is essential if reporting to parents is to bring out particular strengths or weaknesses in a pupil's performance.

    Aggregation of attainment targets in profile components

    14.37 When a pupil's performance is being reported to his or her parents, we would therefore expect particular strengths and weaknesses among strands to be highlighted. Schools may need guidance on appropriate ways of doing this. We recommend, however, that as a minimum national requirement the parents should be informed of the levels attained in individual attainment targets. For most other reporting purposes, we believe that the level of detail provided by the three profile components will suffice. We include in this assumption the reporting of pupils' attainment at the end of key stage 4 through GCSE. We believe that the information needs of further and higher education establishments and of employers for their recruiting exercises will be better met if GCSE results are presented in terms of the three profile components rather than aggregated into a single grade for English as a whole, as at present. SEAC will need to bear this recommendation in mind when considering our discussion of GCSE and dual certification in paras 14.23 to 14.26 above.

    14.38 A method of weighting will be required in the case of the writing profile component which contains more than one attainment target. We recommend that the writing, spelling and handwriting targets should be weighted 70/20/10 respectively for key stages 1 and 2; and that the writing and presentation targets should be weighted 80/20 respectively for key stages 3 and 4. This reflects our view of the relative significance of each of these aspects, at each stage, for the purpose of summarising assessment results in writing as a whole. In particular, it takes account of the substantial importance of the skills of composition, especially in secondary schooling, and of the tendency to achieve the bulk of the progress in "secretarial skills" during primary schooling. The specific weightings should not, however, be seen as measures of the amount of time and effort that should be devoted to teaching each aspect, which must depend upon pupils' needs.

    Aggregation of profile components for English overall

    14.39 When reporting on groups of pupils it may be appropriate to aggregate the levels attained in individual profile components into a single grade for English, for example as part of a simple initial indicator of school or LEA performance. Where this occurs, we recommend that equal weighting should be given to each of the three profile components for reporting at the end of the first, second and third key stages; but that the weightings for reading and writing should be increased to 40% each for the end of the fourth key stage, to reflect the increased demands of work and performance in these areas towards the end of compulsory secondary schooling and in preparation for adult life. Accordingly, at that stage the weighting for speaking and listening would reduce to 20%. We believe, however, that speaking and listening skills have been growing in prominence and will continue to do so, as teachers of all subjects become more accustomed to promoting and assessing them; and that technological change and social trends may reinforce demands for these skills in adulthood and employment. We therefore recommend that NCC and SEAC should keep this aspect of our proposals under close review.

    14.40 It follows from what we have said earlier that we believe that the unit "score" which should be used as a basis for aggregating pupils' results to produce figures for English as a whole should be the level recorded for each pupil in each attainment target or profile component. Any attempt to take account of better performance in some strands within targets for these aggregations would be impracticable and would lead to distortion. But, like TGAT, we do not favour quoting a single average level for the


    [page 123]

    whole group of pupils: it will almost always be more informative to show the spread of results among the group, for example by a percentage distribution, level by level. And we hope that, whenever statistics are produced for a class or school, they will be accompanied by a description of where the strengths and weaknesses lie in relation to particular attainment targets, so that those responsible for taking action - for example, in management and in-service training areas - can best judge what steps are needed.

    Communication

    14.41 The reporting of assessment will need, especially in the early stages, to be accompanied by clear explanations, not only for the education service but also for parents and others, of what is meant by the targets and the levels awarded. But it is important to remember that reporting performance in the currency described above is only the beginning, not the end of the process. We expect that schools will want to supplement this by more detailed information about the English curriculum followed, the way it is delivered, the different facets of language achievement which underlie the aggregated figures, and the next steps planned for pupils to build on that. If richness and variety of language development are to be encouraged, and excellence promoted and weaknesses tackled with the support of all concerned, schools should make such communication a priority.





    [page 124]

    Appendix 1 Membership of the National Curriculum English Working Group


    Professor Brian Cox (Chairman), Pro-Vice Chancellor and John Edward Taylor Professor of English Literature at Manchester University

    Mrs Di Billups, Head of Broughton Junior School, South Humberside

    Ms Linda Cookson, Senior Tutor, Central School of Speech and Drama, London

    Mr Roald Dahl, Writer (resigned July 1988)

    Mrs Katharine Perera, Senior Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, Manchester University (appointed September 1988)

    Mr Roger Samways, Adviser for English and drama, Dorset LEA

    Professor David Skilton, Head of the School of English Studies, Journalism and Philosophy at the new University of Wales College of Cardiff

    Mr Brian Slough, Deputy Head, Kettering Boys' School, Northamptonshire

    Professor Michael Stubbs, Professor of Education with special reference to the teaching of English in Education, Department of English and Media Studies, University of London Institute of Education

    Dr Charles Suckling, CBE, formerly General Manager (Research and Technology) ICI PLC

    HMI Observer
    SI Mr Graham Frater

    Secretariat
    Miss Jane Benham
    Mr Martin Howarth
    Mrs Elaine Clark
    Ms Alison Henry
    Mr Graham Kendrick
    Mr Stephen Barnes

    In attendance
    Miss Jenny Bacon
    Mr Michael Phipps





    [page 125]

    Appendix 2 Terms of reference

    Preamble

    1 The Education Reform Bill, currently before Parliament, proposes the establishment of a National Curriculum of core and other foundation subjects for pupils of compulsory school age in England and Wales. For most of these subjects, including English which is a core subject, the Government wishes to establish clear objectives - attainment targets - for the knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of different abilities and maturities should be expected to have acquired at or near the key ages of 7, 11, 14 and 16; and, to promote them, programmes of study describing the content, skills and processes which need to be covered during each key stage of compulsory education. Taken together, the attainment targets and programmes of study will provide the basis for assessing pupils' performance - in relation both to expected attainment, and to the next steps needed for the pupils' development.

    2 Both the objectives (attainment targets) and means of achieving them (programmes of study) should leave scope for teachers to use their professional talents and skills to develop their own schemes of work, within a set framework which is known to all. It is the task of the Working Group to advise on that framework for English, which is a core subject. The framework should ensure, at the minimum, that all school-Ieavers are competent in the use of English - written and spoken - whether or not it is their first language.

    3 The Kingman Committee, established to advise the Secretary of State on what children should know about language, has made recommendations for attainment targets for knowledge about language at the ages of 7, 11 and 16. The Working Group should build on these to recommend attainment targets covering the grammatical structure of the English language. But English comprises both language and literature, including poetry and drama. The Working Group's recommendations on learning about language and its use should draw upon the English literary heritage; should promote the reading of great literature and the knowledge and appreciation of literature; and should indicate the types of literature which all pupils should cover in the course of their studies.

    The task

    4 The Government has made it clear that it expects most curricular time at primary level to be taken up by the core subjects of English, maths and science. But it is important that in the primary phases attainment targets and programmes of study in the core subjects are looked at together as well as individually. The Working Groups on mathematics and science are well-advanced towards their final reports. The English Working Group is therefore asked to give immediate attention to recommendations on attainment targets for ages 7 and 11 and the associated programmes of study and to submit a report on these to the Secretary of State by 30 September 1988.

    5 By the same date, the Working Group is asked to submit a progress letter to the Secretary of State on its provisional thinking about the knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of different abilities and maturities should be expected to have attained and be able to demonstrate around the end of the academic year in which they reach the ages of 14 and 16.

    6 By 30 April 1989 the Working Group is to submit a final report to the Secretary of State, setting out and justifying its final recommendations on attainment targets for the key ages of 14 and 16 and the associated programmes of study.

    Approach

    7 The Working Group should consult informally with relevant interests and have regard to the work of the other subject Working Groups, in particular that on Welsh. Additionally it should take account of:

    (a) the broad framework proposed by the Task Group on Assessment and Testing (TGAT) for assessment and testing;

    (b) the need for attainment targets which reflect the fact that in the primary stage, particularly for 7 year olds, English will support learning in all other subjects, and will be developed by how those are taught;

    (c) the contribution which, more generally, English can make to learning about other subjects and the contributions which these subjects can make to learning about English, including the promotion of development of good written and spoken English in all subjects;

    (d) the recommendations of the Kingman Committee on attainment targets for children's explicit and implicit knowledge about language at ages 7, 11 and 16;

    (e) best practice and the results of relevant research and curriculum developments;

    and the issues covered in the supplementary guidance to the Group's Chairman.


    [page 126]

    Appendix 3 Supplementary guidance

    1 This note offers more detailed guidance about your task than is contained within your terms of reference.

    Attainment targets

    2 By "attainment targets" I have in mind clearly specified objectives for what pupils should know, understand and be able to do, which can be related to what might be expected of pupils of different abilities and maturities at or around the end of the academic year in which they reach the ages of 7, 11, 14 and 16. It is essential that attainment targets provide specific enough objectives for pupils, teachers, parents and others to have a clear idea of what is expected and to provide a sound basis for assessment and testing. They should reflect current best practice and achievements.

    Programmes of study

    3 I am expecting the programmes of study to provide a detailed description of the content, skills and processes which all pupils should be taught so that they can develop the knowledge and understanding they will need to progress through school and eventually to adult life and employment. This detailed description needs to be set within an outline or overall map of the English curriculum which takes account of what may be expected of pupils of different abilities. For English, which is a core subject, I expect close defmition of the requirements. The programmes of study should certainly be detailed enough to ensure a proper balance between learning about the grammatical structure of the English language and about its use and the study of English literature including poetry and drama. In particular they should ensure that pupils have proper exposure to the great works of our literary heritage and are able to draw upon such works in learning about language. They should also pay due regard to the importance of the spoken word, of good writing and of reading.

    4 However, within the overall programmes of study there must be space to accommodate the enterprise of teachers, offering them sufficient flexibility in the choice of content to adapt what they teach to the needs of the individual pupil, and scope for different teaching approaches.

    Differentiation

    5 Attainment targets should allow scope for the very able, those of average ability, and the less able to show what they can do. In general I seek targets which may be attempted and assessed at a range of levels, as a child progresses and according to his or her ability. The targets should challenge each child to do the best that he or she can. The broad framework recommended in the Report of the Task Group on Assessment and Testing illustrates how this task may be tackled. I hope that you will give particular thought to the application of attainment targets to lower-attaining pupils and those with special educational needs.

    Assessment and examinations

    6 Attainment targets will provide objectives against which pupils' progress and performance can be assessed and tested. The main purpose of such assessment will be to show what a pupil has learnt and mastered, so as to enable teachers and parents to ensure that he or she is making adequate progress and to inform a decision about the next steps.

    7 At present I envisage that some of the assessment at ages 7, 11 and 14 will be school-based. It will be done by teachers as an integral part of normal classroom work. But a vital part of assessment will be nationally prescribed tests done by all pupils to supplement the individual teachers' assessments. Teachers will administer and mark these, but their marking - and their assessments overall - will be externally moderated. I may offer you further guidance later in the light of consideration of TGAT's recommendations. However, in the meantime you should be prepared to offer advice in broad terms about assessment, having regard to the TGAT Report, in relation to the attainment targets recommended, particularly what might appropriately be measured by nationally prescribed tests.

    GCSE

    8 The Government expects that all pupils will take GCSE examinations in English or equivalent examinations approved against GCSE criteria. It does not, therefore, anticipate the need for alternative assessment arrangements at age 16 in English. We will look, in due course, to the newly formed School Examinations and Assessment Council (SEAC) to advise on whether, and if so how, the GCSE criteria need to be revised to reflect the National Curriculum attainment targets and programmes of study for ages 14 to 16, and to approve syllabuses accordingly.


    [page 127]

    Special needs

    9 The Government proposes that where a pupil has a statement of special needs under the 1981 Education Act, the statement should specify any National Curriculum requirements which should not apply or should be modified for that individual pupil. In addition, orders may define circumstances in which the application of the National Curriculum provisions to individual pupils might be modified or lifted for any foundation subject. For example, the modern languages orders might indicate that pupils with severe difficulties in English should be introduced to a foreign language later than, or on a different basis from, most children. I should be grateful if you would consider whether exceptions of this kind for categories of pupils can be justified in the case of English.

    TVEI

    10 The TVEI [Technical and Vocational Education Initiative] pilot projects are providing valuable experience in identifying the most effective ways in which the education of 14 to 18 year olds can be made more relevant to the demands of employment and adult life. From September 1987, authorities are progressively involved in extending the TVEI pilots into a national scheme. The objective will be to give young people aged 14 to 18 in all maintained schools and colleges access to a wider and richer curriculum based on the lessons emerging from the pilot TVEI projects. In drawing up their plans, LEAs are required to reflect the Government's policy for the school curriculum in England and Wales as summarised in the curricular criteria based on Better Schools, and issued by the DES in July 1986.

    11 Authorities will want to use TVEI to build on the framework offered by the National Curriculum and to take forward its objectives. The Government intends that the legislation should leave full scope for schools to determine how teaching is organised and the teaching approaches used so that the curriculum is delivered in the best way suited to their pupils. This flexibility should enable schools to accommodate any special emphasis within their TVEI plans, while still meeting the requirements of the National Curriculum. The Group will wish to consider developments so far under TVEI so that they inform its deliberations.

    General principles

    12 Generally in framing your recommendations, I expect you to consider the need for:

    • continuity and progression throughout the period of compulsory schooling and beyond;
    • breadth and balance;
    • relevance;
    • all elements of the curriculum to contribute to the development of general personal qualities and competencies in young people which will be of value to them in adult and working life - for example, self-reliance and self-discipline, a spirit of enterprise, a sense of social responsibility, the ability to work harmoniously with others, an ability to apply knowledge and use it to solve practical real-life problems.
    13 It will also be important to bear in mind that the curriculum should provide equal opportunities for boys and girls. The Group should also take account of the ethnic diversity of the school population and society at large, bearing in mind the cardinal point that English should be the first language and medium of instruction for all pupils in England.

    Wales

    14 You will need to bear in mind that your recommendations will relate to the whole of England and Wales and should allow enough flexibility for schools to give weight, where appropriate, to local circumstances. There will be arrangements in Wales for separate consideration of, and consultations about, the Group's report. These will take account of any particular Welsh needs.

    Ages and stages; time allocations

    15 You should assume that all pupils other than those with statements of special need under the Education Act 1981 which specify otherwise will study English throughout their compulsory schooling and take a GCSE examination in English or equivalent examination approved against relevant GCSE criteria.

    16 In framing your recommendations, you should assume that on average eight periods a week are available for English in the primary phase, six periods a week in years 1 to 3 of secondary school and five periods in years 4 and 5.

    Links with other subjects

    17 There are a number of important subjects, themes and skills which can be taught and developed through the foundation subjects. You are expected to consider the place of these aspects within the English curriculum and to cover them within your consideration of attainment targets and programmes of study. English will provide one appropriate context for the development of drama across the curriculum, for an introduction to the classical world through its literature, for developing information handling skills such as the use of libraries and reference books, and for media studies. Time for covering such aspects within English will


    [page 128]

    need to be found within the overall time available for English as indicated above. The links between English literature and drama and the other expressive arts subjects are important. The practical use of word processors in developing writing provides an introduction to information technology. You may have further suggestions for links with other subjects, and about the contributions which these subjects can make to learning English.

    Implementation

    18 The Government aims to make the Orders relating to attainment targets and programmes of study for English for the primary stages early in the first half of 1989, and for the secondary stages towards the end of 1989, following wide consultation through the proposed National Curriculum Council (NCC). On this timetable, schools may expect to begin implementing the primary Orders at the start of the academic year 1989-90 and the secondary Orders at the start of the academic year 1990-91.





    [page 129]

    Appendix 4 Secretary of State's announcement on assessment

    Mr Robert Key (Salisbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science, whether he is now able to publish the supplementary advice from the Task Group on Assessment and Testing, and if he will make a statement.

    Mr Kenneth Baker

    When my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I published in January the Report of the Task Group on Assessment and Testing, I asked the Group to give further advice on the administrative and other arrangements needed to support their recommendations, on the application of the framework they proposed to the full range of National Curriculum core and other foundation subjects, and on any modifications they might suggest in the light of comment on their Report. They have submitted that advice, and we are publishing it today.

    The recommendations of the Group have been well received. The Government has therefore decided, in the light of the responses to TGAT's recommendations, and to the interim reports of the Mathematics and Science Working Groups, and to consultations on the National Curriculum, to adopt the following main principles as the basis for a national system of assessment and testing related to the National Curriculum attainment targets:

    (a) attainment targets will be set which establish what children should normally be expected to know, understand and be able to do at the ages of 7, 11, 14 and 16; these will enable the progress of each child to be measured against national standards;

    (b) pupils' performance in relation to attainment targets should be assessed and reported on at ages 7, 11, 14 and 16. Attainment targets should be grouped for this purpose to make the assessment and reporting manageable;

    (c) different levels of attainment and overall pupil progress demonstrated by tests and assessment should be registered on a 10-point scale covering all the years of compulsory schooling;

    (d) assessment should be by a combination of national external tests and assessment by teachers. At age 16 the GCSE will be the main form of assessment, especially in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science;

    (e) the results of tests and other assessments should be used both formatively to help better teaching and to inform decisions about next steps for a pupil, and summatively at ages 7, 11, 14 and 16 to inform parents about their child's progress;

    (f) detailed results of assessments of individual pupils should be given in full to parents, and the Government attaches great importance to the principle that these reports should be simple and clear. Individuals' results should not be published, but aggregated results at the ages of 11, 14 and 16 should be so that the wider public can make informed judgements about attainment in a school or LEA. There should be no legal requirement for schools to publish such results for 7 year olds, though it is strongly recommended that schools should do so;

    (g) in order to safeguard standards, assessments made by teachers should be compared with the results of the national tests and with the judgements of other teachers.

    We expect these principles to inform the consultations which will take place later this year on the recommendations of the National Curriculum Mathematics and Science Working Groups, and likewise to inform the thinking of the Working Groups on English and on Design and Technology which we announced last month.

    There is a considerable amount of work to be done on the detail of cost-effective arrangements needed to support such a system. The suggestions made by the Task Group on Assessment and Testing in its third supplementary report on the moderation system appear complicated and costly; whilst the Government recognises that the issues involved are complex, the support arrangements adopted must be sufficiently simple to enable good progress to be made in introducing the national assessment system. We shall be discussing the issues with the School Examinations and Assessment Council and the National Curriculum Council and also with the local education authorities, the examining groups and other appropriate organisations. We shall also set in hand work on the development of in-service training for teachers, and on the development and piloting of national tests, starting with an examination of available tests to see whether they can appropriately be used.

    As I have already informed the House, our intention is that the first cohort of pupils in primary schools should begin work in autumn 1989 on National Curriculum attainment targets and programmes of study for the three core subjects of mathematics, science and English and if possible on technology which is closely linked with science in the primary phase. We also expect first year pupils in secondary school - 11 to 12 year olds - to start work on attainment targets and programmes of


    [page 130]

    study for mathematics and science in autumn 1989. These subjects will be introduced in Wales on a similar timetable. In addition my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Wales expects to introduce Welsh for the early years of both primary and secondary school in autumn 1990. We shall give priority to developing assessment and testing arrangements for these subjects and age groups with first results expected for 7 year olds in 1991 and 14 year olds in 1992. However, the arrangements will be tried out in schools before there is any formal public reporting of results. We therefore expect that the first results of assessment and testing for 7 year olds will be available to parents and for publication in the summer of 1992, and for 14 year olds in the summer of 1993. Assessment in other subjects and for other age groups will be brought in progressively thereafter.





    [page 131]

    Appendix 5 Sources of evidence

    Organisations, associations, institutions and other bodies which submitted evidence

    Almondbury High School, Almondbury, Huddersfield
    Association for Science Education
    Association of County Councils
    Association of Teachers of Mathematics
    Berkshire Local Education Authority
    Book Marketing Council
    Book Trust
    British Film Institute
    BFI/DES National Working Party for Primary Media Education
    Birmingham Local Education Authority
    Brighton Polytechnic, Faculty of Education
    British Broadcasting Corporation, Educational Broadcasting Services
    British Dyslexia Association
    Centre for Development in Education Overseas, University Newcastle upon Tyne
    Centre for English Language Education, Department of English Studies, The University of Nottingham
    Cheshire Local Education Authority
    Clwyd Media Studies Unit, Clwyd County Council
    Mrs P A Cooper, Head Teacher and Mr D Kelly, Head of English, and members of staff of William Brookes School, Much Wenlock, Shropshire
    Cumbria Local Education Authority
    Mrs L A Dearman, Moor End High School, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
    Defining Dyslexia
    Derbyshire Local Education Authority, Advisers Office
    Drama Curriculum Development Task Group, Newcastle upon Tyne
    EPIC Europe, Education Policy Information Centre
    The English Centre, Ebury Teachers Centre, London
    English Teachers in University Departments of Education
    Mr K Fitzell, Head of English, The Emmbrook School, Wokingham, Berkshire
    Mrs D J Gawthorpe, Head Teacher and Mr Paul Close, Head of Department, and members of staff of Priory School, Landwood, Barnsley
    Mrs D J Gould, Head Teacher and Miss Geraldine Purcell, Head of Department, and members of staff of Mulberry School, London
    Heinemann Educational Books Ltd
    Inner London Education Authority, Primary Inspectorate
    Inner London Education Authority, Centre for Language in Primary Education
    Inner London Education Authority, English Advisory Team
    Journal of Educational Television, The Television Literary Project, Humberside
    Knutsford County High School
    The Language Reading Team, INSEC, London Borough of Newham
    Language Variety Working Party c/o Birmingham Oracy Project
    Liverpool Institute of Higher Education
    London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Advisory and Inspection Service
    London Borough of Croydon, Education Department
    London Borough of Enfield
    London Borough of Merton, Education Department
    London Borough of Waltham Forest
    Macmillan Assessment, Macmillan Educational Limited
    Martineau Education Centre Birmingham
    Mathematical Association
    Merton Association for the Teaching of English
    Mrs E Morgan, Acting Head Teacher and Mrs Ruth Harker, Head of English, and members of staff of Holte School, Birmingham
    National Association for Remedial Education
    National Association for the Teaching of English
    National Association of Advisers in English
    National Association of Advisory Officers for Special Education
    National Association of Inspectors and Educational Advisers
    National Association of Teacher Educators and Advisers in Media Education
    NATE Computer Working Party
    National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations
    National Conference on the Teaching of Poetry in Schools
    National Council for Special Education
    National Foundation for Educational Research, Centre for Research into Language And Communication
    Norfolk Oracy Project
    North East Association for the Teaching of English
    Northamptonshire Advisory Team, Northarnpronshire Local Education Authority
    Northern Examining Association, Joint Matriculation Board
    Nottinghamshire Local Education Authority, Advisory and Inspection Service
    Oxford Development Education Unit, on behalf of a consortium of non-governmental organisations concerned with overseas development
    Padgate County High School
    Paired Reading Project, Huddersfield
    Professional Association of Teachers
    Queen's English Society


    [page 132]

    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
    School Curriculum Development Committee, National Oracy Project
    School Curriculum Development Committee, National Writing Project
    School Library Association
    Shakespeare and Schools, Cambridge Institute of Education
    Sheffield Local Education Authority
    Mr K Roberts, Head of English, Shelley High School, Huddersfield
    Shevington High School, Widnes
    Simplified Spelling Society
    Society for Education in Film and Television Limited
    Society of Education Officers
    Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Education Department
    Somerset Education Centre
    Somerset Local Education Authority, Education Department
    Southern Examining Group
    TEAME, c/o Media Studies Section, Joint Department of English and Media Studies, University of London Institute of Education
    Thames Television
    TVEI, A3 Training Agency, London
    United Kingdom Reading Association
    The University of Birmingham, School of Education
    University of Cambridge, Department of Education
    University of Exeter School of Education, Arts Education Forum
    University of London Institute of Education, English Department MA Students
    University of London Institute of Education, Joint Department of English and Media Studies
    University of London School Examinations Board
    University of Reading School of Education, Council for Environmental Education
    University of Reading School of Education, Reading and Language Information Centre
    Welsh Joint Education Committee
    Mr C White, Great Sankey County High School, Great Sankey,Warrington
    Whitley Abbey Secondary School, Coventry
    Willows High School, Morden, Surrey
    Wilmslow County High School

    Individuals who submitted evidence

    Dr Clem Adelman, The Research Centre, Bulmershe College of Higher Education
    MrsJoan Baker, Ms Shirley Davis and Ms Barbara Hubberstey, teachers, Cestreham County Secondary School, Chesham, Buckinghamshire
    Ms Jo Balcombe, Head of Redbridge Drama Centre
    Mr Geoff Barton, English teacher, Leeds
    Dr Roger Beard, Lecturer in Primary Education, School of Education, University of Leeds
    Dr Catherine Belsey, Lecturer, University of Wales College of Cardiff
    Mr John Blanchard, Dorset County Assessment Unit, Dorset County Council
    Ms Jill Bourne, Research Officer, Department of Language, National Foundation for Educational Research
    Mr John Boyland, Drama Adviser, Cambridgeshire
    Dr Ronald Carter MA PhD MIL, University of Nottingham
    Jean-Claude Chevalier, Universite Paris 7, Unite de Formation, Et De Recherches Linguistiques, Paris
    Ms Gillian Clark, Llandyssul, Dyfed
    Mr Leo Corcoran, Stockport, Cheshire
    Mr David Corson, Education Department, Massey University, New Zealand
    Mr B Cunningham, Advisory Teacher for English in Derbyshire
    Ms Helen Davitt, London
    Mr Doug Dennis, Director of Studies, Worcester College of Higher Education
    Mr John Dixon, ex English teacher, London
    Dr Henrietta Dombey, Department of Primary Education, Brighton Polytechnic
    Mr Philip Drummond and Mr David Buckingham, Lecturers, Joint Department of English and Media Studies, University of London Institute of Education
    Ms Kate Frood, MA Student, Department of English, University of London Institute of Education
    Mrs Sue Galloway, on behalf of a group of primary school language consultants from North East Hampshire
    Mr B Gardner, Miss L Larman, Miss J Leach, Mrs S Watson of the Bradford and Humberside joint project under the Education Support Grant for educational needs in multi-ethnic society
    Dr Caroline Gipps, University of London Institute of Education
    Professor Harvey Goldstein, University of London Institute of Education
    Ken Gouge, Adviser for the Performing Arts, Wigan
    Alison Grainger, Senior Lecturer in Drama, Westminster College, Oxford
    Professor Terence Hawkes, Department of English, University of Wales College of Cardiff
    Dr Roger Hewitt, Department of Sociology of Education, University of London Institute of Education
    Mr Brian M Hogarth, County Road Safety Officer, Lincoln
    Ms Sue Homer, Curriculum Development Officer for English, Sheffield Local Education Authority
    Ms Guizar Kanji, Acting Senior Staff Inspector/Primary, Inner London Education Authority
    Mr Neil Kitson, Northamptonshire Advisory Team
    Ms Rosemary Leeke, Head of English and Ms Naela Akharware, Tamworth Manor School, Mitcham, Surrey
    Ms Josie Levine, Senior Lecturer in Education, Joint Department of English and Media Studies, Institute of Education University of London


    [page 133]

    Mrs S Lloyd, Woods Loke Primary School, Lowestoft, Suffolk
    Mr David Mace, Author, Galgate, Lancaster
    Mr Len Masterman, School of Education, University of Nottingham
    Mr P J May, Head of English and Communication, Hawarden High School, Clwyd
    Mr Frank McCombie, teacher, King Edward VI School, Morpeth, Northumberland
    Dr W H Mittins, Newcastle upon Tyne
    Ms Marion Molteno, Tutor Organiser, Croydon English Language Scheme
    Professor Christopher Norris, University of Wales College of Cardiff
    Mr David Orme, Schools Poetry Association, Twyford School, Winchester
    Keith Palmer, Senior Lecturer in Drama in Education, Rolle Faculty of Education, Polytechnic South West
    Ms Mary Picardo, Language Co-ordinator, Mount Pleasant Primary School, West Midlands
    Mr Robert Protherough, Senior Lecturer, The University of Hull
    Professor Sir Randolph Quirk, President, The British Academy
    Dr M B H Rampton, West Dean, West Sussex
    Mr Malcom Ross, University of Exeter, School of Education
    Ms Wendy Selby, Cornwall
    Chris Threlfall, BFI/TASC Adviser for Media Education, Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds
    Mr AJ Tinkel MA, The Oratory School, Woodcote, Reading
    Ms Barbara Tizard, Director, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Coram's Children's Centre and Adoption Project, London
    Mr Mike Torbe, Educational Adviser for Coventry
    Mr J L Trim, ex-Director of the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research
    Professor Peter Trudgill, Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex
    Ms Hazel Underwood, Infant Teacher, Hamsey County Primary School, East Sussex
    Mr T Watkins, Head of English Division, Bulmershe College of Higher Education
    Professor A M Wilkinson, School of Education, University of East Anglia
    Mr Eric Williams, Adviser for English and Drama, Avon Local Education Authority
    Mrs Joyce Worley, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear

    Evidence from individual members of H M Inspectorate

    HMI Mr D J Allen
    HMI Mrs C M Bond
    HMI Mr M J Convey
    HMI Mr D A Denegri
    HMI Mr D J Halligan
    SI Mr D G Labon
    HMI Mr J W F Learmonth
    HMI Mr S J A Rogers
    HMI Mr J R Williams




    [page 134]

    Appendix 6 Approaches to the "class novel"

    The following table, from which we have made selections, was produced by a Heads of English Group from Northamptonshire LEA. (1) The table outlines a number of approaches to the class-sharing of a novel. They are designed to reflect the purpose and nature of teaching literature in the shared context of the "class-reader". They concentrate on forms of response and interaction with the text that are characteristically different from forms that a reader might use in tackling a text privately. The overall purpose is to bring readers into active participation with the text, and to promote the text as a rich and vital source of meaning, which can be related to the needs, interests, purposes and motivations of the group as developing individual and social beings.

    The approaches are framed in such a way as to recognise the levels at which a fictional text operates and to aid groups of readers in becoming aware of these levels, whilst accepting that in a mixed ability class there will be different degrees of appreciation and understanding:

    • narrative: being aware of the story, particularly how it is sequenced; being able to follow the book at the level of its story;
    • symbolic: being aware of what the story stands forthe universal meanings, and circumstances illustrated by the particular narrative; being aware of the metaphors and imagery used in the construction of the narrative and the descriptive passages;
    • stylistic/linguistic: being aware of the "crafting", particularly the structuring of the book, selection of literary devices and vocabulary, use of syntactic conventions; developing a critical awareness of the relationship between form and content.
    It should be stressed that the approaches which follow should be seen as complementing other forms of reading activity, including pupils' independent reading and structured classroom discussion. This idea is developed in chapter 16: Reading.




    (1) Kate Buttler, Tony Buttler, Liz Gifford, Simon Langley, Clare Matthews, Brendan Mulcahy, Jonothan Neelands, David Pryke, Maurice Quirke, Mary Rich, Carol Sanderson.


    [page 135]

    APPROACHES TO THE CLASS NOVEL

    ApproachesMethodology/examplesLearning features
    1 Author's visitReal visits arranged through "writers in school" scheme, or imagined as in framing questions to ask the author or in correspondence with author.Access to a professional writer. Seeing text in the writer's terms, readers communicating directly with writer, with texts as middle ground.
    2 Reading logsExercise book or folder containing rough jottings, reflections, personal connections, reviews, in relation to books read in class and in private.Developing personal responses. Valuing the reader'sjudgements and insights into text. Providing a cumulative record of reading experiences; developing leamer's autonomy.
    3 ClozeAn extract represented with deletions in text in order to focus on author's style and vocalv dary. In groups class make suggestions about deleted words by drawing on their understanding of style and language used in text so far.Highlighting stylistic/linguistic features of text, drawing attention to syntax. Encouraging hypothetical/speculative talk as well as problem-solving activity. Developing reflective awareness of how a text is constructed, encouraging awareness of selection and alternatives.
    4 PredictionFormal: extract is "cut up" into sections, groups speculate on what's going to happen in next section by reference to text in section before.
    Informal: breaking the reading in order to invite speculation on where the narrative is going.
    Confirming and giving confidence in leamer's existing sense of story. Developing logical sequencing skills. Encouraging close reading and awareness of contextual clues; to provide evidence from text.
    5 Active comprehensionGroups frame their own questions about a passage and select key question to explore as a group or to offer to rest of class.Developing ability to frame appropriate questions. Encouraging readers to adopt an active, interrogative attitude to the text.
    6 Spider diagramsTo map out ideas, further questionsrelating to key question, or factors affecting a key event; or relationships between central characters and other characters; or relating events to central theme.Finding patterns and relationships of meaning in a complete text. Drawing attention to structure and form; identifying themes and issues underpinning the text.


    [page 136]

    ApproachesMethodology/examplesLearning features
    7 MapsRepresenting journeys or a particular environment - building, street, etc. Whole wall maps with room for quotations, pictures, events to be pasted on to form spatial relationships.Making the text "concrete". Visualising the text. Awareness of structure, developing sense of place. Tracking events. Matching events to places.
    8 Family treesParticularly when many characters are involved in narrative. "Tree" may represent blood ties, may have theme to do with who knows who; how people have met; what interests they serve or promote, etc.Aiding the reader. Providing a structure to facilitate reader's progress with text. Holding the structure of the book; looking for relationships in the text.
    9 Storyboard for TV/filmSeries of drawings representing the way the camera would portray an event or passage from the bookcamera angles, close-ups, long shots etc.Translating from one medium to another, working in familiar forms; selectivity of symbol. Matching images to event. Enabling reader to "realise" perspective on the text.
    10 AdvertisersPromoting the book "as if" the group were advertisers - choosing what to highlight about the book; target audiences, form of advertising, bookshop posters, jacket illustrations, blurbs, etc.Developing critical awareness. Highlighting concepts of audience, register, writer's intentions, etc. selecting appropriate symbols, images, quotations, "marketing" literature, providing motivation and sustaining interest.
    11 IllustratorsWorking "as if" illustrators to discuss or execute illustrations of text, jacket covers, etc. Emphasis on matching form of illustration to sense of text.Working as "experts" rather than as learners. Emphasis on style and atmosphere of text. Selecting events or moments to capture. Justifying and making decisions in relation to how the text should be represented. Close reading.
    12 Casting directorsWhat sort of actor would have the right "image" for the character in the book - tall/short; assertive; young; deep voiced, etc?"Filling out" characters. Making inferences. Stereotypic/original interpretations. Collective image of how a character would appear. Dwelling on aspects of character.
    13 NewsIncidents from the story written as news; front pages with a composite of stories relating to central event. Emphasis on reporting from outside the event; what should be selected as "news".Translating events into familiar forms. Popularising the text. Reporting and journalistic conventions. Creating a distance between characters' perceptions of events and the readers'.


    [page 137]

    ApproachesMethodology/examplesLearning features
    14 Investigative journalismIn form of a documentary exposing an issue, or presenting an issue that is important in the book - maybe a number of related items drawing on background material beyond that offered in text; public inquiry, expose, etc.Emphasising issues in book. Relating text to other material dealing with same theme. Presenting, selecting, arranging material. Authorial intention and bias. Airing values, making judgements.
    15 Diaries or journalsWritten "as if" by characters in book, reflecting their reactions to events of the narrative. Daily diaries, log of a journey, prison journals or extra instalments for journals and diaries that appear in the story."Personalising" the characters and events. Imagining what people and events would be like. As an aid to reflection, filling out the text. Active participation with narrative.
    16 Time lineRepresenting temporal relationships between events, places, characters, etc, as a linear sequence. Events in a character's life, frequency and proximity of events within time span of book.Drawing attention to sequencing and structure. Establishing cause and effect relationships. Providing a framework of book's events for quick reference.
    17 Alternative narratorsIn groups, re-telling events from point of view other than that used by author - peripheral characters; third person, first person. Carrying on the re-telling in a variety of different registers, etc.Highlighting characterisation. Offering fresh perspectives on story. "Playing" with text. Demonstrating relationships between viewpoints and attitudes. Emphasising selectivity of style and language in the original form.
    18 Costume, set designDeciding on how a character, or groups of characters, should be costumed, including personal props. Or how a set should be designed for a particular event or place in the text. Designs discussed, illustrated, made, or written as notes.Dwelling on aspects of character and awareness of descriptive imagery. Making people and places more concrete and immediate. Attention to detail and contextual clues. Establishing a cultural context.
    19 CorrespondenceWriting letters from characters to imagined people outside the text, or between characters, or between peripheral characters about behaviour or personality of a central character.Becoming actively involved with the people and events in text. Demonstrating comprehension of aspects of characters. Commentating on text as a reader but from viewpoint of the characters.


    [page 138]

    ApproachesMethodology/examplesLearning features
    20 Waxworks, still images, photosGroup work to produce tableaux representing gesture, spatial relationships, body language at a particular moment, or to illustrate a quote; others can guess which moment or line is being presented and why.Freezing action to allow time for detailed discussion and reflection on the significance of the selected moment. Allowing a greater variety of forms of communication to represent group's "meanings", beyond verbal forms. Develops "Iconic" creativity and response.
    21 Alternative chaptersPlanning in talk or writing "missing chapters" that fill out the original, or foreground peripheral characters not present in the central events.Developing sense of alternatives and emphasising role of writer. Matching new material to existing forms in text - vocabulary, syntax, register, conventions, etc.
    22 SpringboardingFiction is used as a starting point and focus for detailed analysis of an important issue. Fiction compared against factual material relating to the issue, or in comparison with other fiction which has an alternative bias on the issue.Book used as a starting point for issuebased teaching. Story helps to personalise the issues and allows for effective response to issue. Developing empathy for characters faced with an issue from a different perspective to reader's eg disability, race, gender, poverty, etc.
    23 SoundtrackingIn groups, composing and performing sounds to accompany a sequence of action or to establish a sense of place.Emphasising descriptive imagery. Matching non-verbal form to sense of text. Developing sense of "atmosphere" and the "environment" of the book.
    24 Thought-trackingCreating "interior speech" for each character at critical moments or in crucial passages of dialogue. Contrasting inner dialogue (what is thought) with outer dialogue (what is said).Encouraging reflective awareness of characters' feelings and thoughts. Recognising characters' relationships with others. Making inferences. Bringing readers into closer, more active participation with events and characters. Encouraging readers' insights into character.
    25 Visual interrogationDrawing introduced as a means of making sense of a problematic passage. Building an image from clues in text. Accurately portraying textual description. Collective drawing. Representing negotiated consensus of how some thing, place, or person, would appear.Using alternative iconic form to gain access to the text. Discovering from others as a result of mutual activity. Matching intuitions and hunches to what's actually represented in the text. Accessible form for less able reader.


    [page 139]

    ApproachesMethodology/examplesLearning features
    26 Starting in the middleAs a way into book, or introduction to new section - a message, letter or fragment of text is presented and group asked to build speculations as to meaning, context, consequence.Motivating readers' interest prior to reading of whole text. Encouraging intuitive speculation about narrative, characters, style. Extending range of possibilities offered by text. Looking for clues, problem-solving activity.
    27 Cultural contextsReconstructuring and inferring a broader cultural context for characters or events, type of housing, likely occupations, cultural pursuits, class/ gender attitudes - how far are the events and characters socially constructed? How would a change of cultural context affect the effects?Identifying social and cultural pressures and influences on characters and events. Identifying cultural and social assumptions underpinning book. Identifying authorial bias, purpose and intention. Filling out the world of the book. Testing credibility of book's context, examining stereotype and social cliche.
    28 Meetings, courts, inquiriesImprovised re-enactments of crucial meetings in story, or imagined meetings to deal with issues or events in story, or as post-mortem to events, or to establish motivations, consequences as in court case.Bringing readers into active participation with text. Examining pressures and conflicts affecting decisions in book. Examining cause and effect relationships.
    29 Hot-seatingIndividually, or collectively, taking on role of a character to answer questions posed by rest of group, who may also have a role, eg detectives, scientists, etc.Highlighting character's motivation and personality disposition. Encouraging insights. Making readers participants in the action. Encouraging reflective awareness.