Ofsted English reports and materials for schools

  • Moving English forward - 15 March 2012. This report sets out to answer the question: how can attainment in English be raised in order to move English forward in schools? It is recommended to all who teach the subject, those who lead the subject, and headteachers of primary and secondary schools. The findings are based principally on evidence from inspections of English between April 2008 and March 2011 in 268 maintained schools in England. Part A highlights the main strengths and weaknesses in English and presents the evidence from the survey inspection visits. Part B draws on this inspection evidence to analyse 10 areas of weakness and recommend appropriate action to improve practice in each area.
  • Excellence in English - 13 May 2011. One of the most pressing issues in English teaching facing a large number of schools today is how to improve from being good to outstanding. The aim of this report is to improve practice in English across all schools and particularly to help them become outstanding. The report includes 12 case studies of successful schools that help their pupils to make outstanding progress in English.
  • Removing barriers to literacy - 21 January 2011. This survey sets out effective approaches that might help others to improve their practice in literacy. Inspectors visited providers of childcare, education and post-16 learning. The providers were selected because previous inspection evidence and data on achievement and attainment showed that they were particularly successful in helping children and learners from disadvantaged backgrounds to make better than average progress and to achieve good standards of literacy.
  • Reading by six: how the best schools do it - 14 November 2010. The best primary schools in England teach virtually every child to read, regardless of the social and economic circumstances of their neighbourhoods, the ethnicity of their pupils, the language spoken at home and most special educational needs or disabilities. A sample of 12 of these schools finds that their success is based on a determination that every child will learn to read, together with a very rigorous and sequential approach to developing speaking and listening, and teaching reading, writing and spelling through systematic phonics. This approach is applied and sustained consistently.
  • English at the crossroads: an evaluation of English in primary and secondary schools 2005/08 - 19 June 2009. This report is based on evidence from inspections of English between April 2005 and March 2008 in 122 primary schools and 120 secondary schools in England. It also draws on other reports published by Ofsted, evaluations of the national strategies, discussions with teachers and others, and national test and examination results. It reviews developments since Ofsted’s previous English report in 2005. 
  • Identifying good practice: a survey of college provision in English language and literature, and modern foreign languages - 3 April 2009. This report is a survey of factors that enable post-16 learners to make good progress in sector subject area 12: languages, literature and culture, and specifically, in English and modern foreign languages. Inspectors visited 18 colleges where provision in English and/or modern foreign languages had been judged to be good or outstanding at their most recent inspection. There are examples of good practice and recommendations for further improvement.

Inspectors visit 150 schools each year to inform Ofsted’s subject surveys in English, mathematics and science. Survey visits for other subjects are less frequent but continue to take place from time to time.

Our latest English feedback letters can be found on the English subject survey visits page.

Case studies of good practice in English in schools 

Literacy across the curriculum: Aston Manor Academy - 9 July 2012. The development of students’ literacy skills across the curriculum has been a significant focus of the school’s work for a number of years. Explicit planning for, and teaching of, the literacy skills developed initially by English teachers is supported by a senior leader and the literacy coordinator.

Functional skills: DV8 Training Ltd - 2 March 2012. This example demonstrates the excellent integration of functional skills with learners’ vocational subjects and a particularly effective approach to overcoming barriers to learning and raising learners’ aspirations.

An innovative approach to personalised learning for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1 of the National Curriculum - 8 February 2012. The Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum are structured around children’s expressed needs and desires. Reception and Year 1 pupils share a large unit divided into learning zones. Children democratically choose their own learning topic each week. All elements of literacy and numeracy are taught in this context, which helps each child understand what they are learning and why.

Raising the achievement of students for whom English is an additional language: Belle Vue Girls’ School - 17 January 2012. Students learning English as an additional language at Belle Vue Girls’ School achieve extremely well in Urdu and Arabic because the school uses these languages to help students develop their thinking and literacy skills, which enables them to succeed in their examinations.

'Making English real' – creating independent learners in English: The Peele Community College - 6 October 2011. English at Peele Community College places independent learning skills at the centre of its developing Key Stage 3 curriculum. Innovative schemes of work are supported by enrichment activities, homework projects and other initiatives, such as the use of student subject leaders to provide a distinctive and unusual approach to teaching and learning.

Promoting reading in a secondary school - 17 May 2011. This school has focused on improving students’ attitudes to reading in order to enhance their progress in English and their literacy skills across other areas of the curriculum. Much of this work centres around library projects, but the school has also sought to develop enjoyment of reading within the English curriculum and promoted a wide range of reading initiatives across the curriculum.

Provision for new arrivals learning English as an additional language - 16 May 2011. The school provides a welcoming environment for parents and children who are new to the UK so that they settle well. Pupils make rapid progress in learning English as an additional language through opportunities for speaking, including in their home language, and a well trained school community.

Raising the achievement of students learning English as an additional language - 1 April 2011. Studentslearning English as an additional language at this college make outstanding progress through a combination of good teaching, rigorous assessment and monitoring procedures, and a tailored curriculum.

Annual Report 2012/13