English in England and Wales

Knowledge and ownership

Authored by: Sue Brindley

The Routledge International Handbook of English, Language and Literacy Teaching

Print publication date:  February  2010
Online publication date:  February  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415469036
eBook ISBN: 9780203863091
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183141


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It is, of course, perfectly possible to track the changes to the English curriculum in England and Wales through a linear account of the various government level policy decisions that produced the English national curriculum, currently, and by law, taught in English schools. But to do so would be only a partial account of events. What would be missing would be an understanding of the ways in which the wider context of changes in education has driven English curriculum changes in quite particular ways. Most notable has been the emergence of the accountability agenda, first evident with the ‘secret garden’ challenge of the government of Callaghan in the 1970s (discussed in detail elsewhere in this book) and based on claims of a crisis in ‘falling standards’. The resulting impact of the accountability movement has been profound, both on the subject English and on the very identity of those who teach it.

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