Research and analysis

Improving literacy: moving English forward

This report looks at how schools can raise pupils' attainment in English.


Moving English forward


English is a major world language; it is at the heart of our culture and it is the language medium by which most of our pupils think and communicate. Literacy skills are also crucial to pupils’ learning in other subjects across the curriculum.

Recent reports on English have focused on good practice: the previous triennial report included a section that identified the features of outstanding provision in English. Since then, Ofsted has published a series of case studies of schools that achieved excellence in English. The survey also found much effective practice in English in the schools visited.

However, standards are not yet high enough for all pupils and there has been too little improvement in primary schools. Therefore this report sets out to answer the question: how can attainment in English be raised in order to move English forward?

The report is based on evidence from inspections of English between April 2008 and March 2011 in 133 primary schools, 128 secondary schools and 4 special schools in England, supplemented by 3 additional good practice visits. It also draws on evidence from 6 college inspections, other reports published by Ofsted, discussions with teachers and others, and national test and examination results. It reviews developments in the subject in the 3 years since Ofsted’s previous English report.

Published 22 April 2013