How do publishers react to the arrival of a new initiative? Do they leap with alacrity on to the bandwagon, or groan as they abandon that promising series of textbooks whose market had been building nicely in order to pursue what might prove to be a six-term wonder?
The English Frameworking series splices itself confidently into the complex rigging of the new key stage 3 literacy framework. The series has been put together by an impressive team comprising a head of English, a KS3 literacy consultant and the deputy director of the National Literacy Trust, and it carries the NLT logo.
It sets out to address the framework objectives and cross-curricular aspects with enthusiasm, draws in the parallel universe of the national curriculum, and covers formative assessment, KS2 KS3 links and Smart targeting.
The student book and teacher's resource book (which includes a CD-Rom with lesson plan templates) are clearly designed to be used together, and those who are fluent in literacy-speak will probably find them easy to navigate. I'm not quite there yet and at times felt as if I was trying to build a complex balsa-wood model.
I also found the web page-style layout of the student book fussy, with a plethora of sub-headings, icons and links.
The teacher's book contains a wealth of resources, from a word list to test the retention of your new Year 7 cohort, to writing frames, reading logs and lesson-ready worksheets. It is worth the cover price on its own.
The student book contains much well-chosen material and thoughtfully constructed activities, but the package as a whole will be of most interest to those departments that are buying into the new framework.
Iain MacDonald teaches English in Cornwall