The Trouble with English and How to Address It : A Practical Guide to Implementing a Concept-Led Curriculum book cover
1st Edition

The Trouble with English and How to Address It
A Practical Guide to Implementing a Concept-Led Curriculum

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 10, 2022
ISBN 9780367470647
February 10, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This essential book will help English teachers to address the challenges and opportunities in creating a powerful, knowledge-rich curriculum, which draws on lived experience and engages with cognitive science and other educational research. It explores persistent problems in the teaching of English, why we have struggled to address them and how we can go about creating a curriculum which enables all pupils to achieve.

Written by experienced English teachers and teacher educators, the book empowers teachers to reclaim their subject as one which has the power to change lives, and to deliver it with passion and authenticity. The Trouble with English and How to Address It contains:

  • A detailed exploration of the challenges English teachers face in designing and delivering a rigorous, coherent, sequenced curriculum
  • An overview of the implications of cognitive science research for the teaching of English
  • Approaches to building a powerful, knowledge-rich curriculum which encompasses threshold concepts, contexts and content in English
  • Suggestions for how to use curriculum design and implementation as a training opportunity in departments
  • Practical strategies for English teachers which provide the link between cognitive science research and their classroom practice

To equip leaders and classroom teachers with everything they might need to improve their provision, this book provides a forensic account of what to change, why and how, moving from the big picture into fine details about what we might see in a highly successful English classroom.

Table of Contents


Mary Myatt


1.What are the persistent problems in English?

2. How do pupils make meaning in English?

3. Teaching abstract concepts

4. What are the implications for English curriculum design?

5. Curating a curriculum

6. How should pupils be assessed?

7. Evidence-informed approaches to enacting the curriculum

8. How should we implement change?

9. Resource design – supporting teachers to enact the curriculum

10. How can we measure impact?

11. Sustaining high standards

Conclusion: A Vision for English



David Didau

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Zoe Helman is a highly experienced teacher and Education Consultant from West Yorkshire. She is co-founder of English-Ed and works with secondary schools to transform their English provision. Her main interest is in using CPD to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. She was also involved, as an Advisor and Assessor, with the CPD Assessment Pilot set up by the Wellcome Trust.

Sam Gibbs taught English in secondary schools across West Yorkshire for twelve years and now works in teacher education. She is co-founder of English-Ed and a Regional Tutor for Ambition Institute, supporting schools across the country through training and coaching. Sam is a governor of a Primary school in Leeds, where she lives with her husband and three children.


"A clear and accessible journey through the planning and implementation of a coherent English curriculum, from curriculum vision and design to subject-specialist classroom practice, drawing on real classroom experience. I would recommend this book to any English teacher who wants practical, research-led advice to inform and improve their practice."

Michael Conley, CIT Leader, Runshaw Sixth Form College