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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 | September 1st 2011




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

Secret squirrel

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This hides your email address as you enter it in the username field and also removes your first name from the Welcome message that appears when you've logged in.

Hitting the headlines: education news

Free schools open their doors

24 free schools, set up as part of Education Secretary Michael Gove's plan to drive up standards, will open their doors this month.

Gove argues that ‘Too many children are being failed by fundamental flaws in our education system. The weakest schools are concentrated in our poorest towns and cities, and we are plummeting down the international education league tables. By freeing up teachers and trusting local communities to decide what is best, our reforms will help to raise standards for children in all schools.’

Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs, along with teaching unions, have opposed the introduction of free schools fearing they will take resources and pupils from other schools and destabilise the current system. Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, describes the free schools programme as a 'reckless experiment with the future of children and young people'.

First group of 24 'free' schools to open next month (The Independent)
Free schools: 24 set to open in September (BBC)

Google chairman condemns British education

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, has criticised what he sees as 'a drift to the humanities' in the UK education system and a failure to capitalise on former innovation and success in science and engineering.

Echoing sentiments expressed by Steve Jobs, Apple's former CEO, who once said ' The Macintosh turned out so well because the people working on it were musicians, artists, poets and historians – who also happened to be excellent computer scientists', Schmidt claims that for UK business to compete on a global scale, the education system needs to look back to the 'glory days' of the Victorian era to appreciate how science and the arts can work together.

'If the UK's creative businesses want to thrive in the digital future, you need people who understand all facets of it integrated from the very beginning.'

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, condemns British education system (Guardian)

Brilliant books and riveting writers

Authors in play to close Edinburgh Book Festival

In one of the closing acts of the Edinburgh Book Festival 18 writers and actors including Ian Rankin, Will Self and poet Liz Lockhead took part in a reading of Fleck, a modern version of Goethe's Faust by Scottish writer Alasdair Gray.

Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: ‘This is the most ambitious event we have ever staged at the book festival and we are delighted that it has been so well received by participants and audiences alike.’

Scotland’s wettest August on record and continuing economic uncertainty did not deter 190,000 visitors coming to the festival.

Authors in play to close Edinburgh Book Festival (BBC)

Where there's a will …

The design for the UK's first ever statue of Charles Dickens has been chosen. The statue is the creation of Martin Jennings, who has previously designed bronzes of Betjeman and Larkin, and is to be unveiled in August as part of the celebrations to mark the bicentenary of Dickens' birth.

Although monuments in his honour exist in Sydney and Philadelphia, as a result of a request in his will there has never been a statue of the author in this country. Surviving family members claim that Dickens' request related specifically to 'the mausoleums so prevalent in Victorian times'.

Ian Dickens, great great grandson of the author, said the maquette produced by Mr Jennings would show the personality of the writer. The statue is based on a photograph of Dickens reading to his daughters Mary and Catherine at his home in Gad's Hill in Kent.

What the …? Dickens to get unwanted statue (The Independent)

Competitions and other lovely things

If you’re a teacher trainer you can offer membership to your trainees for just £10 each and receive free Teachit membership yourself! This enables students (and you!) to customise all our paper-based materials, experiment with the full range of interactive tasks and tools, and gives you access to our Training Ground mini-site.

If you'd like details of the offer, simply email, with your name, college and course details. Offer closes: 31st October 2011

The RSC website is full of masses of useful information about the Bard, his times and his plays. Take a look yourself, or invite your students to ...
RSC website


Topical treasure of the week
Use these lovely Quick praise notes to let your students know you've appreciated their efforts. Hopefully the warm glow will encourage them to continue in the same vein.

Quick praise notes

Teaching tools > Resources for communicating with parents / carers

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

What's hot in the staffroom?

Cash in on that start-of-the-year enthusiasm (both yours and theirs) with a book group. Share your ideas and recommendations in the Book club / Reading group thread.

The Staffroom

Join in this and other discussions in the Staffroom.

Whizzy and wonderful

Glogster EDU

Use Glogster EDU to create beautiful posters for your classroom – or better still, get your students to do it for you!

Edexcel is recruiting Visiting Examiners for GCE/GCSE Drama

  What’s on!


House of Sand and Fog
Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly star in this adaptation of Andre Dubus III's novel.
Thursday 1st September
11:35pm – 1:40am

Neil LaBute's film version of A.S. Byatt's novel. Starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart.
Tuesday 6th September
11:35pm – 1:15am


Northanger Abbey
Dominic Power's dramatisation of the novel, starring Amanda Root and Emily Wachter.
Thursday 1st September
9:00pm – 10:00pm
BBC Radio 4 Extra

Great Lives

Poetry curator Daisy Goodwin celebrates the life and works of the Bard.
Friday 2nd September
11:00pm – 11:30pm
BBC Radio 4

Word of Mouth
Being overheard
Writers Lavinia Greenlaw, David Calcutt and Craig Taylor discuss how snippets of other people's conversation can be used as a source of inspiration.
Tuesday 6th September
4:00pm – 4:30pm
BBC Radio 4

Front Row
Mark Lawson discusses the Booker Prize shortlist.
Tuesday 6th September
7:15pm – 7:45pm
BBC Radio 4

Comp Lit
Nick Baker looks at children's literature from the 1970s, exploring the introduction of fiction focusing on the lives of children from state schools. Featuring interviews with Bernard Ashley and Gene Kemp.
Thursday 8th September
11:30am – 12:00pm
BBC Radio 4



16th April – 6th October 2011
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

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

A Midsummer Night's Dream
29th July – 5th November 2011
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Tempest
27th August – 29th October 2011
Theatre Royal Haymarket, London

The Importance of Being Earnest
9th September – 22th October 2011
Birmingham Repertory Theatre

An Inspector Calls
22nd September 2011 – January 2012

The Tragical History of Dr Faustus
12th October – 15th October 2011
Theatre Royal, York

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
28th October – 19th November 2011
Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch

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

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

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

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