Policy mechanisms of the standard language ideology in England’s education system

I. Cushing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
126 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines textual traces of the standard language ideology within current education policy in England, focusing on post-2010 reforms which are characterised by a (re)shift towards conservatism, discipline, and standards. Using tools and methods from critical stylistics and the critical discourse analysis of language policy, I interrogate a number of mechanisms which textually reinforce and reproduce the standard language ideology:
curriculum documents, assessment instruments, national test materials and guidance for teachers. Whilst previous criticisms of current policy have focused on individual policy mechanisms, in this article I examine these mechanisms as a cluster, showing how they work together as de facto language policy. I show how teachers are presented with a de-historicised and de-politicised version of standardised English which masks the structural
power relations that are embedded in language, and how they are constructed as standard language role-models who have a professional duty to reproduce the standard language ideology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Language, Identity and Education
Early online date4 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2021


  • Critical language Policy
  • England
  • language ideology
  • schools
  • standardised English

Research Centres

  • International Centre on Racism


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