This work offers a comprehensive account of the development of English as a school subject. It also examines the debates over English which have centred on the National Curriculum and its assessment. Drawing on data from two recent studies, it investigates what is taught in the English curriculum. Particular attention has been given to the divisions between language and literature in English as well as the debates about the teaching of grammar and Standard English. Underpinning the analysis is a concentration on the differences and similarities between the primary and secondary curricula. Promoting the importance of English language in contemporary society, the book provides an overview of the current scene.