Teaching gender balanced English at KS3 and KS4 - image of coffee, a pen, and a blank notepad

How to teach a gender balanced English curriculum

We are proud to introduce our free gender balanced English CPD for teachers of KS4 and KS3 English. The sessions are led by Rachel Fenn, campaign leader for End Sexism in Schools. Read on for upcoming dates and registration information.

English is a subject in crisis

End Sexism in School’s research into what is being taught in our English classrooms at KS3 and KS4 has revealed that not only are women either invisible or victims in the texts we teach, but that the pool of texts being taught to young people is vanishingly small.

With this narrow diet of white male authored texts, featuring characters and worlds that feel very far from students’ own, is it any wonder that so many students are being turned off English as a subject, despite its vital importance to the development of critical thinking and communication skills?

The numbers of A Level English Literature students are rapidly declining, falling 15% between 2017-2021, with less than 30,000 entries expected next academic year. Major universities are closing their English departments or reducing their English degree options due to lack of applicants. English is a subject in crisis, and our text choices are part of the problem.

Empowering educators to teach gender balanced English

This is all very depressing, but it is a situation that can be turned around.

As an organisation, we don’t want to just keep telling people about sexism in education; we want to empower educators to do something about the problem. We recognise that many teachers aren’t happy with the status quo, and feel passionate about ensuring their curricula are as diverse as the children in their classrooms. However, we also recognise that time, money and resources are short, and that many teachers feel overwhelmed and unsure as to how to effect meaningful change.

This is why we’re launching our very own free Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions, at first specifically for English teachers, from January 2024.

These CPD sessions will take place online, and be led by our English campaign leader, Rachel Fenn, who has authored both of our reports into sexism in the English curriculum.

Rachel is a practicing English teacher with over a decade’s classroom experience, including six years as Head of Faculty, and is also the author of two books for English teachers; Teaching Grammar Through Literature (Routledge, 2018) and Teaching Nineteenth Century Literature (Routledge, 2019).

The CPD sessions will offer teachers an opportunity to share experiences and ideas, as well as develop their subject knowledge of book choices, teaching techniques and theoretical approaches to literature teaching.

All of this will enable attendees to go back into their classrooms to make positive change. No matter whether you are a trainee teacher, ECT, experienced teacher or Head of Department, this CPD will inspire and support you to build a curriculum and classroom practice that is centred on ending sexism.

Sign up for our gender balanced English CPD

Our gender balanced English CPD sessions will take place on:

All CPD sessions will cover the same material and be delivered via Zoom.

End Sexism in Schools will be happy to provide a certificate of attendance for teachers to use as evidence of professional development.

Sign up to the first session on January 17 here: https://bit.ly/47jsvyb

Rachel Fenn
Rachel Fenn
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