views updated

BULLOCK REPORT. A British report on TEACHING ENGLISH as a mother tongue, presented by the Committee of Inquiry set up by the Secretary of State for EDUCATION and Science, Margaret Thatcher, in 1972. The Committee was chaired by the historian Sir Alan Bullock, and reported in 1975. Its remit was ‘to consider in relation to schools: (a) all aspects of teaching the use of English, including reading, writing, and speech; (b) how present practice might be improved and the role that initial and in-service training might play; (c) to what extent arrangements for monitoring the general level of attainment in these skills can be introduced or improved; and to make recommendations’. In a report of over 600 pages, with 333 recommendations, the Committee summarized much of the consensus of the 1970s on the nature of English teaching, particularly reflecting attitudes associated with the work of James N. Britton. Although sceptical about claims that literacy rates had fallen substantially, the Committee called for a major investment in training and development to improve linguistic skills and linguistic awareness among both teachers and learners, and drew attention to the number of English teachers whose training was not specifically for teaching in this area. The report has been criticized for its optimism, but reflects clearly the views on language which underlay the moves to a mass, comprehensive system of schooling through the 1960s–70s. See KINGMAN REPORT, LANGUAGE AWARENESS, NEWBOLT REPORT.