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I hope the new term so far hasn't been a washout for you. Whatever the weather, please spare a few minutes to brighten our Research Officer's day. John is collecting responses on the new phonics test: whatever age you teach or have taught, please complete our short survey. I hear from NATE HQ that Conference bookings are now coming in fast, so don't leave it too late to reserve your place! Writing and writers feature in our other news items too....
Please help us shape the debate on phonics. NATE, along with the United Kingdom Literacy Association and several other professional associations, has made strong representations in connection with the government's insistence on certain methods of teaching reading in the early years, and especially with respect to the statutory 'phonics check' for Key Stage 1 pupils that will be introduced in June of this year. There is concern that this agenda may increasingly affect work in language, literacy and English at all stages of the curriculum.
In whichever sector of education you work or have an interest, we should like to know your considered views on these issues. The questionnaire is short and responses will be anonymous, but your opinion will help to shape the Association's engagement with these crucial developments.
Follow this link to take the survey - it will only take a few minutes. Please do it today - or at the latest by 4 May (he said, more or less phonically).
Bookings for NATE's 2012 Conference are now coming in fast and if you want to be sure of a place, and your pick of the workshops, you need to act soon. To be guaranteed accommodation at the conference venue, you must book by midday on Thursday 31st May. Any unreserved rooms left then will be claimed by the hotel - and as York has a festival celebrating its 800th anniversary this summer it's likely that these rooms will be sold.
To find out more, visit the Conference web page, where you can see full details, download the booking form and even book online. Of course you can also book by post or over the phone.
A reminder that these excellent resources to help your students with grammar are free to members. Find out about them here. Non-members can buy copies through the NATE Bookshop. If you haven't joined NATE, or renewed your subscription, here's yet another reason to do so.
This free session on Saturday 26th May at the British Library is also filling up fast. Focusing on teachers as writers, the keynote speakers are Simon Wrigley (former Chair of NATE and joint co-ordinator of the NATE National Writing Project) and the author Romesh Gunesekaraand. The conference includes free entry to the exhibition Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands - and free lunch too! See the event page on the British Library site for how to book.
The nation's gloom thickensWitty as ever, Ian McMillan invites us to forget the Dickens centenary and remember Lear's. I'm not sure I could ever forget Dickens, but Edward Lear's bicentenary on 12th May 1812 could easily be overlooked, so it's most timely that NATE (and Equity) member Peter Casey is offering to spend a full day with students in role, delivering the great man's verse and helping them to create their own poems in the style of Lear. Find out more on his Blindseer site.
Like a fog straight from Dickens
But please don't forget Edward Lear!
Have a bright summer - don't forget to complete the phonics survey and book your Conference place! If this gives you a taste for completing surveys, the BBC would like your views on Bitesize English too.
If you've missed an earlier edition of our newsletter, you can find them all online here.
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