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Future of English

English as a school subject in basic education: Influencing future policy directions

The project is funded by the British Council, and the formal title is: English as a school subject in basic education: Influencing future policy directions. The project is funded as part of the British Council’s Future of English programme.

The study is led by Fiona Copland, as Principal Investigator (University of Warwick), and Sue Garton (Aston University) and Marina Shapira (University of Stirling) as Co-investigators in the UK. The data collection is taking place in four global regions – Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean – each region is represented by a Co-investigator.

Meet the research team

Project aim and scope

The project responds to a funding call by the British Council for projects designed to:

  • Provide insights on trends that will define the role of English as a global language over the next decade
  • Inform language policy and education reform interventions
  • Lay out a research agenda capable of generating hard evidence and data to inform those policy decisions and evaluate their impact.

The project aims to establish a baseline core curriculum of language systems and skills (content) and classroom activities (pedagogy). It will then draft a set of basic descriptors for English as a School Subject in Basic Education. These descriptors will be modelled on the Common European Framework of Reference for LanguagesLink opens in a new window (CEFR) and will therefore take the form of ‘can do’ statements.

Of the forty-one countries included, twenty-one are A-spokes, and twenty are B-spokes. Each of the four hubs have 10 spokes, apart from Latin America and the Caribbean, which has eleven. Each co-investigator acts as the lead (Hub) for their region and must also collect data as all other B-spokes.

Find out more about the hubs and spokes

Research strands

This project aims to respond to this call by performing two strands of research:

  1. By tracking keys trends in English as a School Subject in Basic Education by performing a set of longitudinal surveys over a period of 5 years, completed by partners in all forty-one partner countries. As well as tracking trends identified by the British Council, the project will also examine how trends identified in other research will behave over the same period and highlight further trends which may now be emerging.
  2. By identifying the characteristics of English as a School Subject in Basic Education in ODA countries. This will be achieved by analysing curriculum/syllabus documents and course books, conducting interviews with teachers, and performing classroom observations in twenty of the partner countries.