NATE News October 2015: What do English teachers really need?

The view from the new Chair

New NATE Chair Alison SmithAlison Smith, NATE’s new Chair, reflects on the issues facing teachers of English today.

When we named our Annual Conference Brave New World? we were making a very deliberate choice: we wanted to afford people the time and the opportunity to address the challenges that we face on a daily basis.

What was very clear from this conference was that, whether the world of English teaching really is “new” or not, we are facing it more than bravely.  We are passionate, enthusiastic and determined to ensure that every child in every classroom is offered the best possible teaching of English.  We are, as Geoff Barton reminded us, part of a great tradition of English teachers – and that means that the future is extremely bright. I am proud to be part of NATE, honoured to be its Chair, and determined to continue the work started by Douglas Barnes, James Britton and Harold Rosen more than fifty years ago.

Read Alison’s View from the Chair in full here.

Geoff Barton: What do English teachers need today?

Geoff Barton delivers NATE keynoteGeoff Barton’s opening talk at Conference this year surveyed the challenges facing teachers of English today. His wide-ranging talk was realistic about the demands, explicit about the standards and optimistic about the opportunities.

Afterwards, Geoff gave NATE a short video interview. Young teachers Amy Forrester and Laura Wilson were interested in what Geoff, a headteacher as well as an English teacher, looks for in new teachers. Learn what Geoff has to say to English teachers, young and old, in the video here.

Got something to share at NATE Conference 2016?

Are you inspired to share your ideas at next year’s Conference? The organisers are always looking for proposals for sessions to inspire or inform. Whether you are an experienced trainer or presenter or wanting to run a session for the first time, do consider submitting a proposal. If you would like to talk to someone before submitting a form, please do not hesitate to contact Paul Clayton.

The call for workshop and seminar propsals for 2016 is out now: full details here.

Writers blocked

The DfE’s has turned down AQA’s Creative Writing as an AS and A Level subject from 2017. In response, NATE’s Post-16 and HE Committee has set out the value of the course, with a link to the petition by the National Association for Writers in Education that has already reached over 4000 signatures. Do read our statement, as well as NAWE’s comments, student Alexia Kirov’w heartfelt words on the EMC blog and the letter by Susan Bruce, the Chair of University English and Professor, English literature at Keele University in the Times Higher Education Supplement – and consider adding your signature to the petition.

IllumiNATE-ing resources for members

Creating treasure from pound shop tat!Tat boxes – treasure from pound shop finds – is just one of our IllumiNATE series of resources for members, which has now reached number 10. Do let us know how you’re using the ideas in your classroom.

Haven’t seen them yet? There’s a free sample here; members receive a new resource every two weeks and have access to the complete archive. Join now to see them all!

Teaching English – and our new primary magazine

Members will receive not only the latest issue of our stimulating magazine Teaching English later this month; but also a bonus special publication – Teaching English: Primary Matters. This new magazine is full of news and ideas for those teaching in the primary sector but there’s lots to interest those working with older students too. There’s a good deal about that perennial issue of ‘spelling, punctuation and grammar’ and also a competition with a prize of some of the best resources around for teaching ‘SPaG’ – or filling in the ‘GaPS’. We are keen to receive feedback on this new venture so please let us know what you think about the new magazine.

English and Global Citizenship from Oxfam and NATE

English and Global Citizenship is a new publication full of ideas for primary and secondary classes. It’s another publication from Oxfam Education and NATE and joins the comprehensive teaching materials, Stories from Haiti.

Still getting a kick out of the Rugby World Cup? The Global Learning Programme has some teaching resources to help Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils develop their understanding and skills while learning about some key global development issues.

Assessment without levels

The DfE’s Commission on Assessment Without Levels has finally published its report offering guidance for schools. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many schools continue to find this challenging in the light of the need to demonstrate student progress in comprehensible ways.

T S Eliot Prize Writing Competition 2015

The English and Media Centre’s annual T S Eliot writing competition opens on 3rd November. This year there’s a new category, allowing students to write a poem of their own in response to one of the poems from the shortlisted collections, so students can either write critically or creatively.

EMC’s Barabara Bleiman says, ‘This is a big change and we’re really hoping it will encourage creative responses to poetry.’ The competition closes on 11th December.

Inspired by National Poetry Day?

Poetry by Heart 2016If National Poetry Day has inspired you, why not sign up for Poetry by Heart? It will inspire your students and you too, with rich resources on all aspects of poetry on the website. Registrations for the 2016 Competition are now open here.

The Definite Article

This new blog on A Level Lang/lit from AQA begins with an interesting post on gendered language in Jane Austen and suggested reading on stylistics.

Playing Shakespeare 2016 – free tickets and more

Twelfth Night will be the 2016 Globe Education schools’ production.  This scheme, sponsored by Deutsche Bank, offers free tickets, workshops and resources for every London and Birmingham secondary school.

Alongside the production there are free workshops for schools, CPD for teachers, classroom resources and a dedicated website going live in January. Independent schools, colleges and schools outside of these cities can book tickets at reduced rates. More details here.

Dates for your diary

Keep visiting our courses page for updates, as we add both our own events and those developed by NATE consultants.

We hope that this Autumn is indeed a season of fruitfulness for you.

Do get in touch with your own news and comments.


Signature: Tom Rank: Newsletter Editor
Tom Rank, Newsletter Editor