One voice

November 7, 2013

In their comprehensive article on current threats to the discipline of English (“What happens in the tempest?”, 31 October), Robert Eaglestone and Simon Kövesi make a number of points that require further comment.

They lament the absence of communication between teachers in schools and those in higher education, and mourn the absence of a “unified national voice for English”, believing that the subject is weakened by a bewildering variety of interest groups, none of which appears to represent practitioners as a whole. However, they note that the Common English Forum brings some of these groups together and “offers potential links”.

In fact, the forum does much more than that. It represents all seven of the subject’s professional interest groups and one of its original raisons d’être was to bring together teachers of English at all levels. It has been extremely busy over the past year, addressing several of the concerns that Eaglestone and Kövesi raise. In particular, it has met with Department for Education officials on three occasions to discuss national developments, as well as talking to Ofqual.

The various organisations that speak for the subject of English are currently acting unanimously and in concert, and have, through the Common English Forum, been able to make their representations at the highest levels.

Martin Blocksidge
Chair
Common English Forum

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