primary & secondary education

Providing Outstanding English Teaching in Schools

primary & secondary education

08:45 - 16:55

Thursday 16 May 2019

Prospero House- etc Venues, Central London

This Forum will provide an opportunity to discuss best practice teaching and learning for both English Language and Literacy, from Key Stage 3 (KS3) to Key Stage 5 (KS5). Key stakeholders, including the English Association and the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE), will share successful professional development methods for teaching English and discuss key issues facing the profession. In addition, a range of outstanding case studies will share proven ways of raising standards of English teaching through utilising technology, adopting innovative teaching methods, and developing outstanding curricula.


This Forum is specifically designed for Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Colleges. Typical job titles will include:

  • Heads of English
  • Directors of English
  • Deputy Directors of English
  • Headteachers
  • Deputy and Assistant Headteachers
  • Faculty Leaders for English
  • Teachers of English Language and Literature
  • Subject Leaders
  • Curriculum Leaders
  • Curriculum and Qualification Specialists
  • English Language and Literature Education Consultants

This Forum is also open to Higher Education, Local Government and the Voluntary and Private Sectors to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Tracey Parvin, President, UKLA 
  • Clare Haviland, English Subject Advisor, Pearson 
  • Peter Thomas, Chair, National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE) 
  • Professor Martin Halliwell, President, English Association
  • Bethan Marshall, Former Chair, National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE) and Senior Lecturer, Kings College London
  • Dr John Gordon, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of East Anglia, and Author, “Teaching English in Secondary Schools” 
  • Nick Wallace, Director of Curriculum, English Mastery 
View the agenda and additional speakers


The first set of English GCSEs were marked under the new numerical scale in the summer of 2017. However, significant concerns were raised in the autumn as an alarming number of student grades were reported to have changed upon re-marking. With respect to student outcomes, whilst GCSE English results dropped last year under the new 1-9 marking scheme, the proportion receiving 7 or above increased by 0.7% in 2018. It is imperative that this uptick continues year on year. Worryingly though, uptake of English as a discipline at A-Level has declined, with a survey by the English and Media Centre revealing a 16% reduction in English Literature enrolment and 17% reduction in English Language enrolment between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Furthermore, since 2017, Government reforms meant that the GCSE English curriculum saw significant changes. Concerns have been expressed across the profession about the perceived “narrowing” of the curriculum and the marginalisation of elements such as poetry writing and teaching on the media. Further changes include a greater emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as a shift towards unseen 19th century prose in exams. Moreover, English Literature and Language is now assessed 100% through terminal exams, something which Kevin Courtney, the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has suggested “values rapid reading and rote learning above deeper understanding”.

Given the changes to GCSE English in terms of both curriculum and assessment, along with the declining numbers of students studying the subject at A-Level, it is imperative that English teachers and subject leads work together now to ensure high-quality, evidence-based and engaging teaching to successfully improve pupil attainment.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Kate Sida-Nicholls, PGCE Course Leader, Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT, and Author, “Becoming an Outstanding English Teacher” (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Understanding English Assessment to Deliver Exceptional Teaching and Learning

  • Discussing how Pearson’s GCSE and A level specifications facilitate enjoyment and excellence in English teaching 
  • Examining the challenges of GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature, how teachers are addressing them, and what can awarding organisations do to support them
  • Evaluating the impact of the new 2019 Oftsed inspections framework on English teaching and learning  
  • A level English Literature: advocating for a ‘living literature’ approach to the curriculum and assessing the benefits of a broad choice of texts for students
  • Understanding how studying English cultivates the independent skills in pupils that Higher Education institutions are looking for

Clare Haviland, English Subject Advisor, Pearson (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Supporting Schools to Improve English Teaching Standards

  • Promoting the Use of English publication as a vital tool for secondary school English teachers to enhance their practical skills and pedagogical understandings of teaching English as a subject
  • Supporting the enhancement of English teaching practice in primary schools through the English 4-11 publication, which provides resources, materials and successful projects to assist in raising standards and quality through English Key Stages 1 and 2
  • Facilitating the continuing professional development of English teachers to Chartered status to enhance the quality of English teaching in schools
  • Developing partnerships and networks with organisations dedicated to bolstering the quality of English teaching, to better enable the sharing of best practice

Professor Martin Halliwell, President, English Association (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Utilising Technology in English Teaching to Engage Pupils and Improve Outcomes

  • Integrating technology into the classroom to enable interactive, collaborative and innovative learning experiences for students of English KS3 and KS4
  • Driving the move towards a “bookless” classroom through the use of tablet devices in lessons; sharing how this enhances teaching practice and supports student engagement, comprehension and progression
  • Articulating the benefits of technology when marking, assessing and sharing feedback with students, as well as monitoring progress
  • Showcasing how the use of technology enables teachers to collaborate and work with colleagues from other schools to make teaching and learning more innovative, integrated and effective
  • Outlining the process of acquiring educational technology resources, including securing buy-in from the school’s relevant senior leadership

Winner of the 2018 Silver Pearson Teaching Award for “Outstanding Use of Technology in Education” 

Louise Paul, English Teacher, Ribblesdale High School (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Improving English Literature Teaching Through Shared Novel Reading

  • Sharing lessons learnt from the year-long research project Literature’s Lasting Impression which studied student responses to texts elaborated collectively through the interplay of multiple responses across a classroom
  • Analysing how shared reading can stimulate deeper and more thoughtful responses to a given text, and what teachers can do to embed this knowledge and ensure it translates into higher standards of work
  • Examining the impact on student comprehension and engagement of the shared reading pedagogy over time by looking at conversation analysis of recorded classroom interactions, as well as survey and interview data
  • Considering the value of Pedagogic Literary Narration in the context of the new English Literature GCSE specification and assessment framework; how can teachers adapt this technique to an ever-evolving syllabus?

Dr John Gordon, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of East Anglia, and Author, “Teaching English in Secondary Schools” (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Turning Curriculum Intent into Implementation with a Knowledge-Rich English Curriculum

  • Designing a clear evidence-informed intention for a knowledge-rich English curriculum
  • Delivering an innovative, high-impact English KS3 curriculum at scale to secondary schools to improve student progression, boost educational mobility and reduce the attainment gap
  • Identifying opportunities and ways to measure the implementation of a curriculum within a department, across a Multi Academy Trust and beyond
  • Implementing a curriculum with fidelity, rigour and success
  • Developing teachers and school leaders to be curriculum experts in their schools
  • Sharing best practice in planning, teaching and assessment to reduce teacher workload
  • Demonstrating impact on students and teachers

Nick Wallace, Director of Curriculum, English Mastery (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers


Lunch and Networking


Interview: Discussing Pathways Towards Raising Standards in English Teaching

  • What has been the impact, both short-term and long-term, on teachers and students of English GCSE in light of Government reforms to the curriculum?
  • How can schools reinvigorate English as a discipline to encourage greater student engagement with the subject?
  • How should teachers engage in reciprocal learning and dissemination of best practice in terms of effective pedagogy?
  • What can be done to improve A-Level enrolment rates in English Literature and English Language, and how does this relate to student experience of the subject at GCSE?

Bethan Marshall, Former Chair, National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE) and Senior Lecturer, Kings College London (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Integrating Theory, Research and Practice to Raise Standards of Literacy

  • Supporting high-quality English teaching underpinned by rigorous pedagogical research through award-winning CPD courses
  • Working closely with the sector to share research-informed resources and advice on enhancing student literacy with practising English teachers
  • Offering research grants of up to £3000 to support the development of evidence-based literacy policy and practice; sharing guidance on the research application process
  • Demonstrating how UKLA-funded research efforts have raised literacy standards through enhancing English teaching, such as the award-winning Teachers as Readers project
  • Providing clear, workable guidance on English language and literacy teaching and learning, as well as professional and curriculum development, through UKLA’s Ideas in Practice booklets

Tracy Parvin, President, UKLA (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Interactive Workshop: Developing Visual and Verbal Literacy in the KS3 Classroom

  • Restoring creativity and criticality to KS3 English by working through some resources developed in partnership with the Ideas Foundation and some leading advertising agencies
  • Enhancing students’ visual literacy by inserting a media studies element into KS3 English, featuring video material based on adverts from Nike and John Lewis
  • Importing non-cognitive skills into KS3 English such as collaboration, creativity, empathy and adaptability to develop soft skills in students for the real world 
  • Examining how to prompt and cultivate students’ own creative development in visual and verbal literacy
  • Using the creative resources to promote active groupwork and oracy, as well as an understanding of how English works in real-life contexts 

Peter Thomas, Chair, National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing a Rigorous, Challenging and Extract-Based KS3 English Curriculum to Enhance Literacy and Improve Student Outcomes

  • Successfully implementing a whole-curriculum transformation emphasising academic language, vocabulary and grammar knowledge to empower students and improve literacy
  • Developing an extract-based English curriculum to minimise resource expenditure whilst still ensuring students are learning critical skills and knowledge
  • Underpinning the curriculum with fortnightly grammar lessons to ensure students are highly literate as they transition to KS4
  • Observing a noticeable improvement in English outcomes across KS3 and KS4 as a result of whole-scale curriculum change; exploring the reasons behind this change
  • Understanding the importance of grounding curriculum development and transformation in a robust pedagogical rationale to secure buy-in from colleagues

Rated “Outstanding” in their most recent Ofsted inspection

Helen Howell, English AST and Lead for Literacy, The Radclyffe School (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing Evidence-Based Practice to Enhance English Teaching in Mixed-Attainment Classes

  • Sharing evidence from research, and UCL’s award-winning project ‘Best Practice in Mixed Attainment’, suggesting students with lower prior attainment can perform better in mixed-attainment settings
  • Developing a set of research-informed principles and outlining how these can be practically implemented to improve learning outcomes for KS3 English in mixed-attainment classes
  • Working in partnership with English teachers from 3 secondary schools to develop curriculum plans and teaching strategies to support other schools improve their mixed-attainment teaching
  • Exploring what works; looking at how professional dialogue, high expectations, flexible within-class groupings and differentiation all contribute to better teaching and learning outcomes
  • Sharing guidance on how schools can develop an evidence-base and intervention plan suitable for their particular institution which effectively meets student needs

Awarded the 2016 BERA BCF Routledge Curriculum Journal Prize for ‘Best Practice in Mixed-Attainment’ research project 

Dr Becky Taylor, Project Lead and Senior Research Associate, UCL Institute of Education (CONFIRMED)

Athena Pitsillis, Assistant Headteacher, Sandringham School (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

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