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Follow Teachit on Twitter  Like Teachit on Facebook - the original English teaching site created for teachers by teachers. 12,000 pages of downloadable worksheets, lesson plans, audio materials, ICT tools, and much more.Teachit Talk | November 24th 2011




Welcome to Teachit's fortnightly round-up of all things English and educational!

Hitting the headlines: education news

Schools still not good enough, say Ofsted

In its annual report, Ofsted reported that 30 percent of primary and secondary schools were merely 'satisfactory' and that too many schools were 'stubbornly' under-performing.

According to the report, 44 percent of schools inspected in the last year were given the bottom two ratings (satisfactory and inadequate), compared with 45 percent the previous year.

Acting Chief Inspector, Miriam Rosen, said it was 'of great concern' that high numbers of schools, colleges and childcare providers are 'consistently' no better than satisfactory.

Ofsted: Nearly a third of schools 'not good enough' (The Telegraph)
Ofsted wants more ambition from 'coasting schools' (BBC)

Morris concerned about exempting schools from Ofsted

Estelle Morris pointed out in The Guardian this week that as of next year, schools judged by Ofsted to be outstanding will no longer be inspected.

The school itself can request an inspection, but it will have to pay – which, according to Morris, is another indication that this measure is purely about saving money.

Morris argues that 'schools have been subject to significant and relentless change over the last 30 years' and asks whether as more freedoms are granted to individual schools, the government will have to give up some of its accountability measures.

Exempting schools from Ofsted inspection is a worrying policy (The Guardian )

Brilliant books and riveting writers

Costa children's book award shortlist announced

Four books are set to battle it out for this year's Costa children's prize:

Flip by Martyn Bedford (teen)
Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans (8+)
The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce (8+)
Blood Red Road by Moira Young (teen)

Discover the Costa children's book award shortlist (The Guardian)
Costa Book Awards

Competitions and other lovely things

Penguin competitionPenguin is offering you the chance to win 16 books just in time for Christmas. There is a wide assortment on offer, from biographies and cook books to some of Penguins favourite gift books, including a new centenary edition of the children’s classic The Secret Garden.

A bit of fun for your younger students – join Jeff Kinney as the best-selling creator of Diary of a Wimpy Kid brings his children's books to life on 2nd December

There’s still time to enter Year 7 and 8 students in the National Short Story Week competition. Stories should be between 900 and 1000 words with the title ‘The Choice’. The winning entry will be recorded by a professional actor and broadcast online. School libraries can register for the competition at The deadline for entries is 9th January 2012.

Topical treasure of the week

Encourage your students to improve their writing skills with Strategies for tackling writing weaknesses.

Homophone maze

KS3, KS4 > Teaching tools > Observation, advice and teaching tips

For the latest (and lovely) Teachit resources, visit our Latest additions page.

What's hot in the staffroom?

This week we are discussing whether to plump for the Relationships or Conflict cluster from the AQA poetry anthology. What have you and your department chosen and why?

Come and share your ideas!

The Staffroom

Join in with a discussion, or start one of your own in the Staffroom.

Whizzy and wonderful

If the crime fits

Try our free interactive whizzy, If the crime fits and rank Macbeth's evil crimes. Great as a pre-reading activity or for a speaking and listening task.

Creative revision

Revision central resources

Try our growing collection of fun, innovative and engaging approaches to help your students enjoy revision.  


  What’s on!


The Review Show
Kirsty Wark and a panel of guests discuss the best books to buy this Christmas.
Friday 2nd December
11:00pm – 11:45pm

The Master of Ballantrae
An adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson story, starring Errol Flynn.
Saturday 3rd December
1:30pm – 3:00pm

The Golden Compass
The film version of Philip Pullman's novel.
Sunday 4th December
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Channel 4


The Verb
Ian McMillan and Toby Litt explore the use of the word 'darkling' in the works of Hardy, Keats and Milton.
Friday 25th November
10:00pm – 10:45pm
BBC Radio 3

Something Understood
A discussion about how people come to terms with unresolved events. With poetry by Carol Ann Duffy and George Herbert.
Sunday 27th November
11:45am – 12:00pm
BBC Radio 4 extra

Charles Dickens: A Life
Part one of Claire Tomalin's biography of the author.
Monday 28th November
9:45am – 10:00am
BBC Radio 4



The Woman In Black
7th June – 17th December 2011
Fortune Theatre, London

An Inspector Calls
22nd September 2011 – January 2012

28th October – 21st January 2012
Young Vic, London

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
29th October – 28th January 2012
New Red Lion Theatre, London

A Midsummer Night's Dream
31st October – 17th March 2011

Twelfth Night
5th November – 1st December 2011

Measure for Measure
17th November 2011 – 10th March 2012
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Winter's Tale
30th November – 18th December 2011
The Space, London

The Importance of Being Earnest
6th December – 31st December 2011
Old Red Lion Theatre, Islington

The Taming of the Shrew
19th January 2012 – 18th February 2012
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Blood Brothers
20th February 2012 – 3rd March 2012
The Hippodrome, Bristol

Romeo and Juliet
29th February 2012 – 17th March 2012
The Questors Theatre, Ealing, London

29th February 2012 – 17th March 2012
The Questors Theatre, Ealing, London

Recently published

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

There Is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

How the Light Gets In by M.J. Hyland