English in Education – Curriculum and Assessment

This one-day event provides a forum for researchers, teacher-educators and teachers to discuss our current English curriculum and the ways in which the subject is assessed in school and FE/HE contexts.

It is framed particularly by the alarming decline in the uptake of English at A level and degree level: an issue which begs the question of whether this is in part a consequence of a narrowing of the curriculum and particularly of how the subject is assessed. It is also designed to respond to the recent statement from Amanda Spielman of Ofsted that “too many teachers and leaders have not been trained to think deeply about what they want their pupils to learn and how they are going to teach it,” by offering a forum for teachers and those who work closely with them to discuss how schools can develop curricula and assessment practices which are creative and research-informed. Debates around the divergence of the curriculum from contemporary forms of communication, the concepts of ‘quality’ inherent in the curriculum and the privileging of certain aspects of the subject will all be highly relevant.

Keynote speakers include Cathy Burnett, Professor of Literacy and Education at Sheffield Hallam University.

Call for abstracts

Abstracts may be for an individual paper, roundtable, symposium or workshop. They should focus on exploring aspects of the curriculum or assessment relevant to the subject of English within any educational phase. Individual papers will be given 20 minutes, and other formats between 45 minutes and an hour.

The call for papers is open until Friday 15th February.

Each proposal should provide:

  •     a title, up to 25 words
  •     a 250 word abstract [excluding references]
  •     and up to 5 key words

Please send your proposals to Dr Annabel Watson [a.m.watson@exeter.ac.uk]. Anyone who would like to discuss ideas for presentations, workshops or other formats is very welcome to contact her directly.

Draft programme

09:30 Registration and refreshments
10:00 Introduction: Why focus on curriculum and assessment?
Dr Annabel Watson, University of Exeter
10:15 Curriculum and Assessment in English 3 to 16:
a Better Plan
John Richmond
11:20 Parallel session 1 (workshops, presentations, symposia)
12:20 Lunch and networking
13:00 The messiness of literacy: unsettling simple accounts of literacy through a baroque perspective on virtual play
Professor Cathy Burnett, Sheffield Hallam University
14:15 Refreshments break
14:45 Parallel session 2 (workshops, presentations, roundtables)
15:45 Interactive Plenary session: Where next for teachers and researchers?
Dr Annabel Watson, University of Exeter
16:25 Completion of evaluation forms
16:30 Close of conference


The BERA Early Career Researcher Network offers a limited amount of bursaries to the value of £75 towards travel for BERA Student Members only.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please email events@bera.ac.uk with a 250 word statement on why you want to attend this event and why you need the financial assistance. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA.

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