Planning, curriculums and frameworks
English teaching, learning and planning in the UK are driven by initiatives which seem to rewrite themselves with increasing frequency. The Framework for Teaching English in Years 7, 8 and 9 (DFEE 2001) (which I will call the first Framework) was a fabulously well supported system with extensive training and lorry-loads of materials, and, though it has been superseded by the Framework for Secondary English (DFE 2008) (the second Framework) it remains a powerful and for the most part benign influence. Our current notion of what a lesson looks like – starter, main course, plenary – derives from the first Framework, as does the habit of planning in the short,
medium and long terms. The consideration of English at word, sentence and text levels was propagated by the first Framework. Though not officially current, it is in these respects immensely influential and the second Framework is a continuation or refinement rather than a contradiction. Together with the evolving National Curriculums, these detailed documents present a formidable body of guidance and the teacher’s job is to take ownership of them and exploit them in the most productive way. If you don’t do this, then the relationship may be exactly the reverse!