English in the News
Below is a selection of articles which are archived online and may be of interest to NATE members. If you know of others please let us know. Keep up to date with our Twitter feed, too.
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- Reading for purpose and pleasure - The Guardian, Tuesday April 5, 2005
Literacy is not just about recognising words - children will only read for pleasure when they respond to them, says Ruth Kelly....
To make the most of education and fulfil their potential, the next generation will need secure phonics skills. But they also deserve to enjoy a wide range of literature and poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing; to develop a rich vocabulary; and to acquire the skills that enable them to make sense of, and respond to, what they read. This is what educating a child to be literate means.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Football stars to promote reading - BBC, Saturday April 2, 2005
English Premiership footballers have named their favourite books in a drive to encourage families to read together.
Stars such as John Terry, Ryan Giggs and David James have teamed up with the National Literacy Trust in a scheme involving all 20 top flight clubs. ...
Trevor Millum, director of the National Association of English Teachers said the project was a great way of encouraging reading.
(Read the full list of books on the BBC site.)Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Fresh blow to ministers over A-levels - and QCA head advocates teacher assessment - The Guardian, Thursday March 24, 2005
The government's plans to retain A-levels were dealt a fresh blow yesterday when one of its key education advisers predicted that the so-called "gold standard" exams could disappear in a new diploma framework within 10 years.
In another significant development, Dr Boston said it was feasible for the bulk of compulsory national tests to be assessed by teachers, with some external moderation. Such a move would hugely reduce the burden on external markers, he said.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Tests asking to be abolished - Times Educational Supplement, Friday March 18, 2005
Few teachers believe in the reliability of this distinctly dodgy English test, that was incompetently designed, poorly administered and relied on a rag-tag army of inadequately qualified markers. The resultant league tables are deeply suspect.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Performance warning over 3Rs - BBC, Wednesday March 16, 2005
An education minister says secondary school performance in England will appear to be "going backwards" because of a new focus on maths and English.
Ivan Lewis said there had to be a "raising of the bar" in those subjects. It was "quite a radical and brave thing for a government to do", including them in the key secondary school benchmark of five good GCSE grades.
Currently, it is not necessary for children to pass maths and English to achieve this. Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Schools 'fail to teach the joy of reading' - The Guardian, Thursday March 3, 2005
Children are being deprived of the opportunity to enjoy books because schools are obsessed with their position in league tables, the head of Ofsted said yesterday. David Bell said he found it "worrying" that many reading problems identified 30 years ago had not improved. Reading should be about pleasure, but teachers could lose sight of this under pressure to improve test results, he said. Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Culture online gets £3m bonus - The Guardian, Thursday March 3, 2005
The arts minister Estelle Morris has confirmed that the arts and heritage project Culture Online will receive an additional £3m to spend on interactive projects in 2005/06. ....
The news follows a series of BAFTA Interactive wins for Culture Online projects, announced last night. Stagework won the top prize in the best factual and best learning categoriesLink broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Call for national English centre - BBC, Wednesday March 2, 2005
A national centre of English should be set up to promote good teaching of the subject, Ofsted head David Bell says.
In a speech to mark World Book Day, he said children in many schools derived "little pleasure" from literacy training designed for passing tests. Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- 1.2m pupils 'unable to read properly' - The Guardian, Wednesday March 2, 2005
More than a million children have been failed by Labour's national literacy strategy, which has left them unable to meet basic standards of English, according to a new report out today from the Centre for Policy Studies which warns that the number unable to read properly could be even higher.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Kelly defends plans to reform school exams - The Guardian, Wednesday March 2, 2005
The education secretary, Ruth Kelly, clashed with MPs today over her plans for reforming school exams.
Ms Kelly defended her decision to reject proposals from the former chief schools inspector, Sir Mike Tomlinson, to replace A-levels and GCSEs with a new diploma.
Despite near-universal criticism from teachers, students and school inspectors last week, Ms Kelly insisted the support for the diploma had been "greatly overestimated". Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Help pupils make sense of literature - Times Educational Supplement, Friday February 25, 2005
English A-levels are too prescriptive, narrow and out-of-date, says teaching association. Joseph Lee reports
English teachers are calling for literary theory to be taught at A-level because the exams are not preparing pupils for university studies.
Questions about the nature and purpose of literature should join practical criticism and Shakespeare in the curriculum, says the National Association for the Teaching of English's post-16 committee.
Note The article is in response to text : message - The future of A Level English published by NATE earlier this year and available from NATE bookshop.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Markers spurn 'discredited tests' - Times Educational Supplement, Friday February 11, 2005
A leading figure in the drive to recruit thousands of examiners for this year's national tests has admitted that there is a shortage of key stage 3 English markers, writes Stephen Lucas.
Mick Walker,director of exams management at the National Assessment Agency, told the TES:"We are right on the edge in terms of recruitment and I would like to have spare markers."He said many teachers felt too busy to join the marking effort.
The NAA needs to recruit 12,500 markers for national tests this year and KS3 English is the biggest challenge. Teachers at the National Association for the Teaching of English's annual conference in Manchester blamed the the shortage on the collapse in the tests' credibility after last year's marking fiasco.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Formal grammar is 'ineffective' - BBC, Tuesday January 18, 2005
Formal grammar is not an effective way of teaching children to write, say researchers at the University of York. The government-funded study claims this resolves the longstanding debate as to whether drilling pupils in grammar improves their writing skills. "There are better ways of teaching writing," says Richard Andrews of the university's English Review Group.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Texting 'is no bar to literacy' - The Guardian, Thursday December 16, 2004
It's gr8 news 4 skools. Claims that the explosion in text messaging among children is eroding youngsters' literacy skills appear to be unfounded, according to research. A study comparing the punctuation and spelling of 11- and 12-year-olds who use mobile phone text messaging with another group of non-texters conducting the same written tests found no significant differences between the two.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Collins launches online dictionary to debate new words - The Guardian, Thursday December 16, 2004
Ever since Dr Johnson compiled his highly opinionated dictionary in 1755 (excise: "a hateful tax levied upon commodities"; oat: "a grain which in England is generally given to horses but in Scotland supports the people"), language has been a battlefield. Collins Dictionaries today recognises that fact with the launch of an online Living Dictionary, in which netheads can suggest new words and argue over whether they should be added to the print version of the dictionary.
The Collins Word Exchange site can be found here.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Ofsted warns of gulf in reading levels - The Guardian, Wednesday December 15, 2004
The head of the government's education watchdog called yesterday for action to improve the standards of reading in England's primary schools, warning that the gap between children who could read and those who could not was widening. Ofsted's chief inspector, David Bell, criticised "lacklustre" teaching in the worst-performing schools, claiming teachers were often too ready to blame low attainment on children's background or poor parental involvement.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Four out of five adults 'lack basic skills' - The Guardian, Wednesday December 15, 2004
Most adults lack the basic skills expected of GCSE pupils in reading, writing and maths, the body scrutinising government expediture said in a report today. A critical report from the National Audit Office (NAO) follows last week's celebrations after the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) announced it had met its basic skills targets.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Doubts about school computer use - BBC, Wednesday November 24, 2004
Students who use computers a lot at school have worse maths and reading performance, research suggests.Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- Results fiasco test chief quits - BBC, Wednesday November 17, 2004
The head of England's testing agency has resigned following a critical report on this year's English tests. The QCA qualifications watchdog said "a myriad of issues and errors" caused the chaos in the tests for teenagers. Its review was critical of senior management and concluded "the whole test operations process is not robust in any sense".Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here
- English exams bypass Bard - Times Educational Supplement, Friday May 14, 2004
Is this the worst exam question ever set about Shakespeare? Teachers of key stage 3 pupils think so. Link broken or innaccurate? Please report here