Looking into Language – A Conference for Students in Years 10 and 11 (Recording)

Watch the recording here.

Donwload a worksheet to help your students to get the most from watching the Conference here.

Download the post-Conference resources here.

Main image for Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils page

Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils

Join the EMC-Cheltenham Festivals' Reading Teachers=Reading Pupils Book Group

The English and Media Centre is delighted to be working with Cheltenham Festivals in delivering the Festivals’ network of teacher book groups in London.

Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils is a Cheltenham Festivals programme delivered in partnership with like-minded organisations across the UK including Book Council of Wales, Bradford Literature Festival, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), English and Media Centre (EMC), Just Imagine, National Literacy Trust, KEAP (The Writers’ Block), Peters, Seven Stories the National Centre for Children's Books, The Reader, Wigtown Festival Company and The Story Museum.

Set up in 2016, the national network of teachers reading groups aims to inspire reading for pleasure because research shows that children who read for pleasure experience high levels of well-being, engage in learning and are successful in life.

EMC is hosting a secondary RTRP programme. 

All sessions are led by Kate Oliver and other members of our expert teaching team at EMC. The group is FREE to attend, and the shared resources are distributed throughout the year along with two copies of each of the 5 titles.

Applications for the year 2021-22 are now closed but you can keep up to date with the project on this page. 

EMC Key Dates 2021-2022

Our meetings. led by Kate Oliver​, run after school, lasting for 90 minutes. 

Launch event:

  • Tuesday 19th October 2021 4.30-6pm

Reading group meetings (4.30-6pm):

Sharing session

  • Thursday 30th June 2022

This programme is supported by Arts Council England, Thirty Percy, and the Unwin Charitable Trust.

emag at Home 3 – 5 Activities Using Language Articles

emag at home blog 3 (25th March) 5 activities using emagazine articles for A Level English Language students

5 activities using emagazine articles for A Level English Language students

(Please note: As emagazine is a subscription website, the links in the activities will not work unless you have already logged in. So before starting, please make sure you have logged in to emagazinehttps://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/e-magazine/emag-login/)

Whether you’re in Year 12 trying to keep up with the course while we’re in lockdown, or in Year 13 just keeping your hand in while you wait for more information on your ‘calculated grade’, here are some ideas about how you might use emagazine articles to keep your English Language studies at the front of your mind.

  1. Lockdown lexicography

So… you might not want to hear any more about COVID-19 as you do this work – you might just want to get on with it as a distraction from the world out there – but it’s a gift for lexicographers. If we reach the end of 2020 with any kind of functioning society, those word of the year lists are guaranteed to be packed with words related to the pandemic. We’ve featured lots of pieces about new words and how they are formed, so why not have a look at articles from Jacky Glancey in the April 2020 edition, or the pieces by Kerry Maxwell in September 2016 and February 2017 where new words are tracked and discussed? You can have a look at this year’s Coronavirus-related words and see how they fit with the usual patterns of word formation and what these tell us about our times. One thing’s for sure: we won’t be talking about ‘going viral’ in quite the same way that we used to.

  1. Techno-trauma

Many of us have had to move to online working as part of social distancing measures, and that has led to new joys: video conferencing calls with your work colleagues interrupted by teenage sons emerging from the shower singing, Catholic priests accidentally adding filters to their morning prayer TikToks and Facetiming your nan as she waits for a delivery of toilet roll. Language has changed a lot as a result of technology and we’ve covered it in many articles over the years, from pieces about texting, Twitter and Facebook to articles about the ways people present themselves online. Could you use this period of enforced distancing to gather some new data about how people of different ages and backgrounds use technology? An article like Ben Farndon’s September 2018 one about Facetime with grandparents might be a way into it.

  1. Critical lenses

The A Level course has encouraged you to read language – and read about language – with your critical faculties on full alert. When you’re pulling apart texts, you’re expected to think about the angles being offered, the positioning that’s taking place and the agendas at work. In my view, if you take nothing else from this course, the ability to critically evaluate what you read, what you hear and what you’re told is a hugely important skill to apply to what’s going around you all the time.

Several emagazine articles have focused on this kind of critical literacy. Lynne Murphy’s piece, How to Read the Language News – Sceptically from the December 2018 issue is a great introduction and sets a template for much of what you can do with any journalistic piece. Search for ‘critical discourse’ as a term in the emagazine archive and you’ll find plenty of other articles offering you the nuts and bolts of close, critical reading for any text about language. Why not gather some news articles about language from 2020 and apply a few of these approaches to them?

  1. Gathering new studies

We’ve always tried to get some of the best linguists in their fields to write for emagazine and keep students abreast of the work they’re doing or the work that’s been inspiring them. That means we’re often four or five years ahead of the published textbooks. So, if you’re looking for interesting new studies into accent bias, attitudes to particular varieties of English, or style-shifting between different types of English, you’re well-served. What’s important here is not just to gather new studies and list them on a revision tick-list, but to work out where the new stuff fits with what you already know.

For each area – gender, change, diversity etc – think about how you can integrate what’s new with your existing knowledge. Does the new research continue a particular tradition and line of thinking about that area? Does it challenge the dominant way of thinking and throw up new ways to think about it? Does it offer evidence that things are changing in new ways?

Some useful starting points might be the articles by Erin Carrie, Devyani Sharma, Carmen Llamas and Dom Watt, Rob Drummond, Christian Ilbury and Shaun Austin and Paul Kerswill.

  1. Text trawling 

Over the years, emagazine has featured lots of texts and ideas for how to analyse them. These can be used for pretty much any of the specifications and provide a useful starting point for your own work. Have a look through a few of the following and see if you can find another text to go with it for some comparative analysis. It might be an older text on the same theme, a more contemporary one to sit alongside it, or a text that offers a contrasting or complementary view to an opinion piece.

Nikolai Luck’s article, Letting Texts Talk – Developing an Analytical Mindset, has a turn of the 20th Century perfume advert as the focus. Why not compare this with a modern print advertisement, or think about transcribing a TV campaign?

The April 2020 edition features an analysis of Jess Evans’ piece on accent discrimination and some ideas about how to analyse it. Can you use this as a springboard for some more work on articles about accents or related language issues?

A charity ad such as ‘Hello… Can You Help Me’ in the February 2013 issue, or an old newspaper piece like the Daily Mirror report on D-Day from September 2007 can also offer useful places to start.




emag at Home 2 – 6 top picks of articles for A Level or IB Literature students

emag at home 2 (March 24th) – articles for AL Lit or IB

6 top picks of articles for A Level or IB Literature students

(Please note: As emagazine is a subscription website, the links in the activities will not work unless you have already logged in. So before starting, please make sure you have logged in to emagazinehttps://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/e-magazine/emag-login/)

  1. Theoretically Speaking

What can critical approaches offer you as you develop your own independent reading? In this article, Dr Andrew Green shows how theory can open up new possibilities, using Dylan Thomas's 'Do not go gentle' as an example.

  • Try reading Dylan Thomas’s poem first. Think about your own thoughts, feelings and reactions to the poem.
  • Then read Andrew Green’s article which opens up different critical angles that you can apply to any text.
  • You might want to go on to find another short text for yourself and see if you can apply the same critical approaches to that.
  1. Is It a Play? Is It an Advert? Is it a Poem? How We Decide What is Literature

In this article, George Norton asks how we know that something is literature or not. Using extracts from texts and critical comment, he offers some ways of deciding that get to the heart of what we do when we study texts.

  • This kind of article (of which there are many others in the magazine) is great for getting you thinking beyond just your set text, to help you mull over the big, important questions about what literature is and why we study them.
  1. Total Textuality – Yeats’s ‘Irish Airman’

Professor Peter Barry argues for four levels of commentary – a way of analysing any text which draws on different approaches to literary study. He exemplifies this with commentary on a poem.

You could read his article and then try to apply his methods to a poem of your own choice.

  1. Guilty Pleasures – The Value of Rubbish-reading’

Which texts are you proud to have read? And which do you keep quiet about? In this article, Carol Atherton reflects on her teenage reading to explore ideas about the canon, those that are included – and those that are not.

  • At home, working on your own and perhaps having some time for reading for pleasure yourself, you might want to think about where you’d place your chosen texts and why, as well as thinking about the different kinds of interest and pleasure they are offering you.
  • Share your choices of reading and this thinking with others in your class, to offer each other ideas for reading.
  1. English Literature at University – A More Sophisticated Way of Reading

In this article, English Lecturer Siobhán Holland explains what you can expect from an English Literature course at university – not an entirely different experience, but one that will give increasing sophistication to your ideas about texts and reading.

There are several other articles on the website that give you ideas about what studying English at university might be like. If you’re in Year 12 and will have some choices coming up, this one might be good to help you with your decision.

  1. In the Beginning – the Opening of Narrative Texts

emagazine editors, Barbara Bleiman and Lucy Webster, introduce some ideas about how narrative texts begin, drawing on the ideas of John Mullan and Blake Morrison, and provide an activity to do yourself on the openings of several well-known novels. Click to read.

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emag at Home 1 – A First Blog Introducing Ways of Using It

emag at Home 1 (24th March) How to make use of emagazine when you are learning from home.

To Teachers
emagazine’s editors will be blogging a few times over this period to suggest ways in which you and your students might use emagazine while everyone is working from home.
We’ll offer ideas for articles to read and things students might do with them. We’ll also do a blog soon about how you yourself might use emagazine, to plan for your future teaching.
But first, here’s a blog for students, with some general ideas, addressed directly to them, for what they might do with emagazine at home.
We’re also giving A Level Literature students the editors’ first ‘pick’ of articles that students might like to read, on their own, ones that aren’t associated with particular texts but will enrich their thinking in the subject and contribute to their development. These pieces are broader ones, that ask them to think about big concepts and ideas in the subject, or give them new angles on studying it, or help with their choices for degree level English. Our first picks in this blog are for English Literature but we’ll be following them with ones for the other English subjects. We’ll try to keep offering new ones from time to time, to send students back into the archive. And we’ll also be doing a blog for Year 11s, to give them a taste of what English Literature A Level or IB might be like.

6 Things to do with emagazine at home or in your virtual classroom

(Please note: As emagazine is a subscription website, the links in the activities will not work unless you have already logged in. So before starting, please make sure you have logged in to emagazinehttps://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/e-magazine/emag-login/)

  1. Browse the latest issue, available to scroll through. Pick out one idea or item drawn from the current issue. It might be:
  • A short extract of an article that you particularly liked
  • An article that you thought was particularly well written and jot down your thoughts on why
  • An idea about literature or language that you’ve not encountered before to raise and discuss with others
  • A question raised by an article that you’d like to discuss
  • Something about a text you’re studying that they want to share with the class.

In whatever way the school/college has set up (via the Virtual Learning Platform, Skype, Zoom, Teams, Google Classroom, blogging, WhatsApp), share these ideas and questions. A group blog is a brilliant way of doing this, if that’s possible.

  1. Download our guidance on using the emagazine website
  • Look for the articles on your current set texts (or use a list that your teacher gives you).
  • Go through and pick one article that take your interest. (Alternatively your teacher might allocate different articles to different individuals, pairs or small groups.)
  • Read your article and prepare a short presentation to the rest of the class (in written form or for an online conversation), presenting a few key ideas to the rest of the class.

To make this a collaborative activity, keeping up your dialogue with others in your class, you could do your presentations jointly. For instance, one person could write a first draft and then pass it on to others in the group for discussion, development and improvement. (NOTE This is how emagazine’s editors themselves often work when writing articles for the magazine!)

  1. Your teacher might choose one article for the whole class to read. Read the article and pick out any particularly interesting ideas to discuss. You could:
  • Select 3 short quotations that you think express the most interesting ideas in the piece.
  • Select 3 bits that are puzzling/confusing to ask others about
  • Pick 3 ideas that you’d like to discuss more because you agree strongly, disagree strongly or think there are debates to be had
  1. Pick one emagazine article from the selection you’ve read so far that you think is particularly well written. Share your choice, focusing less on the text or topic and more on what makes it an especially good example of writing in the subject for you.
  2.  Work on a submission of your own to be published in emagazine. We have a long history of including excellent student pieces in the magazine. Many of those student writers have gone on to study English at university, and have continued to write for us as undergraduates, or postgraduates. Follow the instructions on emagazine homepage.
  3.  Watch a series of emagclips on a broad topic that interests you. When you’ve finished watching a clip, jot down important new ideas it’s raised for you, or new information it’s offered you. Perhaps watch a second time, if the clip offers too much to absorb all in one go.

Further blogs on using emagazine at home

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An opportunity to create an animated video, using students' ideas, words, voices, drawings, music & creativity

EMC is offering one school a unique opportunity to create its own animated video, using the ideas, words, voices, drawings, music and creativity of their students, planned and taught by professionals.

This is a cross-curricular project that could unite a combination of English, Music, Drama, ICT, Media Studies, Art and Citizenship to create a professional animation in collaboration with a BAFTA award winning animator and a poet who has performed on the BBC.

‘I Come From’ – an animation created at Lammas School, London, by the team – shows what can be created when students have access to artistic professionals and the right equipment. You can watch it on the Poetry Station.

The project will result in a video that the whole school can be proud of. In a time-pressured world, this is an opportunity for your students to make a high-quality creative product that can be shared globally. The video will also be featured on EMC’s Poetry Station website. 

How Will The Project Be Structured?

Day 1 – (probably a Friday)

Students will work with spoken word educator, Cat Brogan, in their school to write a multi-voice poem. (To involve the maximum number of students, Cat can perform to an assembly and ‘crowd source’ a group poem by asking students to write on post-it notes that are collected at the end.)

She will then work with a selected group of between 10 and 20 students, to create a group poem. These could be pupil premium, EAL, SEN, gifted and talented, at risk or a mix of students. They could be from one year group or several. This project could be an opportunity to showcase great writers, performers and artists at your school, to reward students and/or to engage hard to reach students. 

The topic could be of the school’s choosing. It could address an issue that the students feel strongly about, provide a creative response to the school’s vision statement, take a look at their local area or explore what poetry, school or community means to students.

Cat will work with the school to ensure the topic is one that students, staff and parents can engage with. 

Day 2 & 3 (probably Saturday and Sunday)

Students will work at Mosaic Films studios in Dalston to record the poem with Jack Morgan, a trained music therapist and counsellor. They will also work with Eleanora Tozzi and BAFTA award-winning animator Salvador Maldonado to create backgrounds and characters to animate their words. They will have both access to equipment such as green screen, mounted cameras for stop motion and the opportunity to use industry standard techniques. Links could be made with the Art, ICT and Media Studies departments in your school.

At this point a ‘picture lock’ version of the film will be made available, providing a possible opportunity for the music department of the school to get involved, working with students to compose the musical score for the film.

Music would be recorded and post produced by Jack Morgan. 

The team will provide the finishing touches and the final animation will be delivered approximately 4 weeks after Cat’s visit to the school.

What Will It Cost?

The total cost of the project is £4000 but the participating school will only be expected to pay £1500 of this. EMC will subsidise the project and pay the remaining costs. 

How Will The School Be Chosen?

EMC will select one school to work with, on the basis of a short application letter. Our criteria will be as follows:

  • A clear sense of how the school and pupils would benefit from participating in the project, with a description of which pupils will be targeted and why and the departments that would be involved.
  • Agreement from senior management both to part-fund and support the project.
  • A teacher who will co-ordinate the project within the school and work with the professionals, organising the groups of students and logistics at the school end.
  • Easy enough access to London for the pupils to come and work in Shoreditch (East London) over a weekend.
  • Agreement to have the film posted on The Poetry Station and featured in future material to promote similar work in schools.

Interested in Applying?

Here’s a timeline for applying to EMC to be the chosen school:

  1. Deadline for applications: Friday 10th July
  2. Talk to relevant staff, consider what it would do for you and if you want to apply, identify a member of staff who will co-ordinate the project. You can download a PDF flier with this information here.
  3. Obtain permission and support from your senior management for all that’s entailed in the project.
  4. Write a letter to EMC (no more than 2 sides of A4), signed by a member of your SMT, in which you make a case for why you want to be the chosen school and how you fulfil our criteria. The letter should confirm the school’s willingness to part-fund the project. 
  5. Email your letter to Barbara Bleiman.

Email Barbara Bleiman if you have any questions or want to discuss a possible application.

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Offering Choice on National Poetry Day 2021

An activity for National Poetry Day 2021 – Choice

This year’s National Poetry Day theme is Choice. So why not offer choice to your students, in an encounter with poetry on this day? Instead of looking for poems about the theme of choice, EMC is suggesting for you a simple strategy, taken from our publication KS3 Poetry Plus, that allows you to give some choice to students in reading poetry.

All you will need is a selection of poetry anthologies, ideally enough for one per student, or one between two.  Ask students to choose a poem for someone else – a friend, a relative, a teacher – a poem that will say something to them, about them or for them. If you haven’t got enough anthologies to take into your classroom, take your students into the library, or allow them to use a device to browse a poetry collection online. The Poetry Foundation or The Poetry Archive are both excellent collections that offer opportunities to search by theme as well as by poet.

Choosing a poem could be a 20-minute activity, involving browsing and selecting a poem. It could be extended to include writing it out to actually share with someone. Or it could be an activity for a whole lesson, including, for instance sharing the poems chosen by reading them aloud across the class, or writing reasons for choosing that particular poem, or adding a message to the person it’s for, explaining the choice.

In an educational climate where students and teachers might feel that choice is often constrained, here’s a chance to offer some real choice to your students. And if you have experiences or images of what happens to share, EMC (on Twitter @EngMediaCentre) would love to know about it! For Twitter, use the hashtag #NationalPoetryDay #EMC. (If you’re tweeting, do remember not to tweet whole poems in copyright.)

EMC Year 11 Summer Term Reading and Writing Competitions – Results

The results and winning entries in our Reading and Writing Competitions

Thank you to all students who entered our Reading and Writing Competitions. We were delighted to have so many entries and of such high-quality. All the winning, highly commended and commended entries are available to read here, along with comments from the judges. 

Competition 1 – Turned

Download the winning, highly-commended and commended entries here.

Three winning entries

'Pixels Don’t Do You Justice' by Jessica Fraser, De Lisle College

'What a Functional Life' by Elizabeth Fennessey, Tonbridge Grammar School

'Then' by Seiwaah Nana Boatey, Barking Abbey School

Highly commended

'Delicate Binary' by Fahima Begum, St Anne’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College

'The New Normal' by Millie Capehorn, Wycliffe

'Stay Inside - Stay Safe' by Derya Macit, Clapton Girls' Academy


'Then: Personal Reflection' by Francesca Lane, The King Edward VI High School, Morpeth

'Before Everything' by Aaron Gillett, Wilson’s School

'Now' by Marco Lewis, KES, Stratford upon Avon

'Then' by Josie Jackson, Wellington College

Barbara Bleiman comments on her selection of winning, highly-commended and commended entries

We had over 130 entries for the competition and a wonderful array of different kinds of writing, from screenplays and poems to personal reflections, stories and even a beautifully conceived and executed extract from a graphic novel. The writing suggested the richness of what students can bring to their responses to a text when given the freedom to choose an angle or approach of their own.

I wrote my short story long before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic but its relevance to our current world is very clear and many students chose to respond to the story by making powerful and touching links to the experience of a locked-down world. Others used it as a springboard for very different ideas. Some, very successfully, chose to show their insights into the story through textual transformations and adaptations. We could have shortlisted many other entries but the ten we chose are excellent examples of the range and quality of the whole entry.

I was sent a longlist from which I picked these ten, giving special recognition to three, high commendation to three and commendation to four. The three winning entries include a poem, a playscript and a screenplay. In all three cases, the quality of the writing and the thinking shone out.

‘Pixels Don’t Do You Justice’ took up some of the themes of my short story but Jessica really made them her own. It was a beautifully crafted, thoughtfully considered poem that stood up in its own right, with a title and refrain that captured much of what all of us might be feeling in our world of Zoom, Skype and Facetime.

Elizabeth’s ‘What a Functional Life’ skilfully drew on the ideas of alienation and loss of human contact in my story, turning them into a different form, a playscript. I loved her inventive ideas, creating a strange and unfeeling world. I loved her use of stage directions and most of all her brilliant final line, ‘Have a functional day.’

Seiwaah Nana Boatey’s screenplay is an adaptation of my story. I was very impressed with the way in which she conveyed the world through her descriptions of the settings, her clever selection of phrases from the dialogue and her visualisation of how the story might look on screen. This piece showed how much a textual transformation can reveal deep understanding and thinking about the original text, as well as what can be achieved in successfully using a different form to turn it into something new.

Many congratulations to these three Year 11 writers, to all of those on the shortlist and to everyone who entered.

Competition 2 – Poetry

Congratulations to Faith-Ann Fitzpatrick from Wycliffe College for her winning poem 'There is no time', a poem which succinctly captures the speaker’s life before and after lockdown, neatly using the extended metaphor of the exam room to underline how everything changed in a moment.

EMC and Covid-19 – How You Can Support Our Work

Andrew McCallum, Director, shares how EMC is responding to the challenges brought about by the current pandemic.

The English and Media Centre is a charity, committed to supporting teachers through its publications, courses, conferences and consultancy.

We're a small team of eight consultants. All fully qualified, experienced teachers, most of us work part-time, so when you add up all of our hours, we are effectively five strong.

Like most organisations at the moment, we're suffering financially. Courses and conferences, which we will not be able to run in the foreseeable future, make up a large part of our income. For that reason, we took the difficult decision last month to furlough about half of our team. However, we're determined to keep going and to provide as much support for English and Media teachers as we possibly can. For example, during lockdown, we've provided a range of free resources for all key stages, that have been downloaded in their thousands.

We generate all our own income, with no funding from external sources. So we're relying on your continuing support to help keep us going. Here are some of the ways you can do that.

Buy our publications for your teachers and students

Our depot is continuing to distribute our books and we also have an extensive list of download publications. Many of these are licensed for sharing on your school's VLE. Students with copies of our 19th century study editions, or our KS3 anthologies are finding these particularly useful to work from at home.

Browse our print and download publications

Take out a magazine web subscription

Web subscriptions to our A Level publications, emagazine and MediaMagazine, are proving particularly useful for students during lockdown. Your school's unique username and password (set and managed by the schol) gives your students full access to the most recent edition, plus all back copies and a video archive. Schools taking out a 20/21 subscription now get access immediately and won't be invoiced until September.

Subscribe to emagazine

Subscribe to MediaMagazine

Online CPD

We were delighted by the interest in our first online CPD – Barbara Bleiman's What Matters in English Teaching: In the Classroom. It's inspired us to plan a full online CPD programme for next half term. But we'd like to take a lead from you before going ahead. Complete the SurveyMonkey telling us what you think, and we'll put your name in a prize draw - £50 voucher for EMC resources to the winner.

emag at home 4 – Close Reading

Ideas to help you write effectively and with confidence about an extract

The emagazine archive has a wide selection of ‘close readings’ from teachers, academics and students. You can use these to help you develop your own ability to write about an extract effectively and with confidence.

What Makes a Good Close Reading Response?

  1. Read this extract from Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The Jungle and think about what you would choose to write about.
  2. Now read Barbara Bleiman’s close reading, paying attention to what she chose to write about and how (just below the extract).
  3. Now read her commentary on her own work. If you can, highlight the points you find particularly helpful or which you have not thought about before.

Putting It Into Practice

The following articles all include both an extract for analysis (or point you in the direction of the extract) and one reader’s close reading response.

  1. Choose one of the articles. Read the text extract and write your own 500-word close reading response. Try to keep in mind the things you found effective in Barbara’s close reading or illuminating in her commentary.
  2. Now read the response published in emagazine. How do the two responses compare? Could each be equally valid in terms of what they discuss and how they discuss it? Is there anything you could learn from the published close reading? (For example, to establish the big picture before discussing the detail, to choose four or five big points to make throughout your close reading.)

Daphne Du Maurier: Rebecca

Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale

Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility

Mary Elizabeth Braddon: Lady Audley’s Secret

Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

Entering the Close Reading Competition

  • Draw on everything you have learned and practised here to enter the emag Close Reading Competition when it opens on 1st April!

EMC Novel Project – Mayfield English Department in Discussion

Mayfield English Department talk about taking part in EMC’s Novel Project and discuss the impact on their teaching.

In September 2018 EMC worked with teachers in Mayfield School in East London on a small classroom research project on teaching a novel at KS3. It was part of our wider project, ‘It’s Good to Talk'. The report has been widely read and shared at conferences and in EMC blogs. It has been having an impact on the way some schools are thinking about teaching texts at KS3, with many deciding to change their practices as a result. Just over one year on, we decided to go back to talk to the teachers at Mayfield about the longer term impact the project has had on their students, their teaching, their planning and their ways of thinking about KS3. Here is the 35 minute edited film of the interview.

Thanks to Rob Jehan for the filming and editing.

National Poetry Day 2019 – Truth

Celebrate National Poetry Day 2019 – Truth – with EMC's activities on Simon Armitage's Poet Laureate poems.

Poetry and Young People

In a world where truth sometimes seems to be in short supply, with fake news, political uncertainty and anxiety about climate change, young people are often our most outspoken, committed seekers after truth and justice, whether it be Greta Thunberg talking to world audiences about global warming, Emma Gonzalez in the USA speaking out against gun crime, or Malala Yousafzai, fighting for girls’ education in Pakistan. 

Poetry has also been having a resurgence among the young, as a way of expressing ideas and feelings about the world we are living in. So, it seems especially appropriate, with ‘Truth’ as the theme for National Poetry Day 2019, that we should offer something to students that allows them to read and write poems in response to the questions that seem to them to be the burning issues of the day.

Responding to Events in the Here and Now – Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage was appointed Poet Laureate in May 2019. His first five poems have been responses to events and issues in the world today. They are all available on his website via the tab ‘Poet Laureate Poems’ or directly from the links in EMC's downloadable PDF.

We think they would make a great spark for school students to read, enjoy, explore, think about and write poems of their own. Some are available in print only, others have a spoken version or a film version.

Download EMC's activities (including links to the poems) here.

Main image for EMC Just Write National Writing Day 2019 page

EMC Just Write National Writing Day 2019

This year we invited students (and teachers) to Just Write! in response to one of four activities from our beautiful new workbook

Here you can see students from Mayfield School busy writing – and then talking about the experience.

We’ve also featured writing at the end sent to our Twitter feed from School 21, Oxford Spires Academy, Aylesbury Grammar School and @KGAEnglish.

You can still take part!

  • Download the stimulus material you will need to run EMC Just Write! (available here as a printable PDF and here as a PowerPoint).
  • Set aside 30 minutes.
  • Display or print out the stimulus material.
  • Explain to students that they can write in any form they want in response to one of the prompts – and that their writing will not be assessed or marked in anyway.

Ethos of EMC Just Write!

This activity is designed so that students can write with minimal intervention from teachers. If students are stuck, we recommend that you help them to get started and then ‘let them loose’ from that point forward.

Main image for Shakespeare Hot off the Press – Presentation page

Shakespeare Hot off the Press – Presentation

At a twilight session held at the Engllish and Media Centre, Professor Emma Smith (Hertford College, University of Oxford) discussed early editions of Shakespeare and explored ways in which these might be used in the classroom. Here you can download her PowerPoint presentation.

Read Emma's blog on Shakespeare in the universities – and its implications for secondary level teachers.

Main image for EMC It’s Good to Talk – Working on a Novel at KS3 page

EMC It’s Good to Talk – Working on a Novel at KS3

Report into an EMC project on teaching a novel at KS3.

For 6 weeks, from September to the end of October 2018, an English department in outer London was involved in a Year 9 project for EMC’s group work research, ‘It’s Good To Talk.’ The project was designed by Barbara Bleiman (the author of this report) and Lucy Hinchliffe, who works four days a week at the school and one day a week at EMC. 

The idea was to re-design a scheme of work on a Year 9 novel – Fabio Geda’s In the Sea There are Crocodiles. It started with the department’s desire to build more group work and dialogic learning into their curriculum but soon became something much more all-encompassing. It led to a significant re-thinking in the department about what KS3 English should be offering to students and what kinds of experiences will best prepare them for GCSE without sacrificing a genuine and deep development of subject knowledge and capability.

You can read the report (with links to student work) here on our blog or download it here as a printable PDF.

Main image for What Jobs Do People With an English Degree End Up Doing? page

What Jobs Do People With an English Degree End Up Doing?

Here are the stories of people who did English (or combined honours degrees) at university within the last 10 years or so.

English and Humanities graduates sometimes take a while to settle on their career paths, as these stories reveal, but once they have discovered what they want to do, they often go into interesting and challenging roles in a range of different spheres. Their stories reveal what their undergraduate studies in English have contributed to their working lives.

Find out more about studying English subjects at university here.


Degree Title and Institution

English and Drama, Manchester

What I Did When I Left University

I took a long way round to the job I do now – I started out with a year in the student bar, then lived in Ireland for a few years where I worked in more bars, with theatre companies, as a freelance writer and did a Masters in English. After a few years I came back to the UK and joined the Civil Service graduate scheme, the Fast Stream.

What I’m Doing Now 

After five years in the civil service I left and joined the BBC, where I work as a Senior Adviser in the Corporate HQ. This means I’m constantly dealing with policy issues, correspondence, communications and Board papers – an eye for language, structure, evidence and tone are all essential skills in my job and are all things I can trace back to my time in the library researching papers, building arguments and interpreting classic texts.


Degree Title and Institution

English Literature with Creative Writing, University of Surrey 

What I Did When I Left University

I did a six-month paid internship in the TV & Radio department of The Telegraph – I’m not sure whether the programme is still running, but I’d really recommend it; it was a pretty amazing first professional experience to have. After the internship, I was able to freelance weekly for The Telegraph, writing weekly TV previews while doing another internship in PR. 

What I’m Doing Now

I soon realised that PR wasn’t for me, and after working as a digital writer for Now Magazine for a year and a half, I came to my current role as the Entertainment and Features Editor of Pride Magazine, the UK’s leading magazine for black women. As well as getting the chance to interview people I’ve looked up to for years (Naomi Campbell and Jennifer Hudson, to name just two!), I’ve been able to travel (covering the St Lucia Jazz Festival) and write features on topics I really care about. Without skills learned on my degree such as an ability to research well, and to use language to tell stories in a meaningful and memorable way, I doubt this all would have been possible!


Degree Title and Institution

BA English Language and Linguistics at University of Roehampton; MSc Language Sciences at University of Reading; MSc Speech and Language Sciences (also known as Speech and Language Therapy) at University College London. 

What I Did When I Left University

I always had my current profession in mind, though I knew this required some work experience and postgraduate study. Following my undergraduate degree I worked as a special needs teaching assistant supporting children with developmental language disorders, including working abroad. I also did voluntary work as a conversation partner with adults recovering from a language disorder called Aphasia following stroke. My studies have enhanced my interpersonal and listening skills and equipped me with the strong oral and written foundations to communicate effectively across my working roles and in everyday life.

What I’m Doing Now

I am a newly qualified Speech and Language Therapist, and I work for the NHS on an Acute Stroke Unit. My job involves assessment, diagnosis and treatment/ therapy of difficulties with swallowing (eating and drinking) and communication (voice, speech and language) which come as a result of acquired brain injuries. I work within a multidisciplinary team who treat patients in hospital during the earliest stages of their recovery.


Degree Title and Institution

English Language and Linguistics BA, Anglia Ruskin; MLitt Publishing, University of Stirling

What I Did When I Left University

After I completed my BA, I knew I was going to be doing a Masters later in the year so I did an internship at Sweet & Maxwell London and worked in a call centre for a short while. I then moved to Scotland to do the postgraduate degree which was a year-long course.

What I’m Doing Now

I now work in the Cases department at Thomson Reuters, and have done for about 18 months. I publish judgments from courts to our websites, as well as overseeing many day-to-day projects. I have absolutely no legal background, so my Linguistics and Publishing degrees are what got my foot in the door in the first place. Legal publishing is very interesting niche, but my university background (both transferable skills and subject knowledge) has equipped me for any issues I deal with at work.


Degree Title and Institution

English, University of Cambridge

What I Did When I Left University

I decided to focus on visual work (rather than writing-focussed work) after graduating, which is more common than you'd think! Weeks after my graduation ceremony, I completed two self-organised, expenses-paid-only internships back to back. The first was for a start-up company that no longer exists but at the time it was a video dictionary service: think YouTube but full of videos of people explaining what words mean to and for them. As someone who loves language, this job was fascinating, allowing me to develop my practical camera skills as well as use the breadth of knowledge I'd gained both from studying literature and being personally interested in slang terms. After that, I worked for the documentary film distribution agency, Journeyman Pictures, and they offered me a job on the back of that work experience. There, researching skills gained from my degree came in handy, and both internships helped me shed an academic way of writing. I was at Journeyman for a while before realising how much I missed writing-focussed work, so I returned home if you like.

What I’m Doing Now

I now work for a national Church magazine, where I write a range of material as well as conduct interviews. The skills I learned at degree level (to name a few, research skills, textual analysis, writing to argue, using quotations effectively) are put into practice daily in my current role, and I'm kind of the oracle in my office when it comes to grammar and house style. English certainly wonderfully impacts on what I do now; long may that wonderment continue.  


Degree Title and Institution

BA English at University of Birmingham 

What I Did When I Left University

Graduate Teacher Programme at Tuxford Academy, facilitated by Sheffield Hallam University. Then worked as an English teacher and pastoral leader for 4 years there. Then worked at an inner city secondary school in Birmingham as Head of English and Languages for 2 years.

What I Do Now

Curriculum Director for English and Communications at UTC Sheffield City Centre


Degree Title and Institution

BA English, Hull University; MA Modern and Contemporary Literature, Newcastle University

What I Did When I Left University

After graduating, I worked as a researcher for 2 Labour MPs in the House the Commons. This involved research, speech writing, case work and assisting with legislative scrutiny. The skills I learned in my English degrees, namely analysis, presenting considered opinions and use of primary and secondary sources of information were particularly helpful in this role.

What I’m Doing Now

I’m presently a Policy and Partnerships Manager for a housing organisation in the North of England leading work sharing best practice across the sector; working to create new relationships within and external to the sector as well as liaising closely with NGOs and Government on matters of housing policy.


Degree Title and Institution

English BA, University of Birmingham

What I Did When I Left University

I didn't know what to do for a long time after University so I waitressed whilst doing internships to figure it out. I tried an internship at a Publishing house for a couple of months and found it wasn't for me. I then got an internship for a small advertising agency who were looking for someone who was passionate about creativity, and loved it immediately. 

What I’m Doing Now

Now, I'm a Senior Client Manager at a Brand Design Agency. I've just finished a 5 month stint in our New York office and I've been living and working in Amsterdam for the past 2 years. I love working in design as I get to work with and learn about such diverse businesses (charities, FMCG, arts organizations and big corporates) on so many different types of projects; packaging, brand strategy and environmental work. Working in design feels like an unexpected move for an English graduate, but I find the creativity of the industry really appeals to my storytelling side - after all, every brand needs to tell a story to connect with consumers. And being able to formulate a strong narrative and argument are invaluable skills when you're working in client service. 


Degree Title and Institution

MA English Literature, University of Edinburgh

(Then MSc Nature, Society and Environmental Governance, University of Oxford)

What I Did When I Left University

I moved to Vancouver, Canada for two years where I worked for an outdoor equipment company, travelled around North America, spent a lot of time in the mountains, and did some volunteering and campaigning for local environmental NGOs. I moved back to England and did a Master's degree in environmental politics; it was soon after that that I got my current job. 

What I’m Doing Now 

I work for a start-up that advises governments around the world on artificial intelligence policy. I've travelled a lot with work, including almost a year in the Middle East. I find that I'm continually tested on my ability to clearly summarise lots of complex information: just what I was taught to do in my English degree. I've also learned a lot about quantitative data analysis, realising that it requires the sort of attention to detail needed in close reading. I'm having a fantastic time: every day presents a new challenge, and I'm learning all the time. 


Degree Title and Institution

English Literature and History of Art, University of Reading, 2013 

What I Did When I Left University

I started working for a top media agency in London 3 weeks after graduating. I wanted a role that was people facing and also creative. I studied English and History of Art as I have a strong creative flair and enjoy writing - these skills were very relevant to working on client pitches and generating ideas for media campaigns. 

What I’m Doing Now

I work for a marketing agency in London as an Account Director, managing all brand partnerships with many luxury fashion and beauty companies, helping come up with innovative solutions to complement their marketing goals. I think the skills gained during my English Lit degree have been transferable to a marketing role in order to present my ideas succinctly and structure all client communications in the best way to suit the client needs to win business. 


Degree Title and Institution

English Literature at The University of Reading

What I Did When I Left University

I travelled for a few months then came back and became an Administrator at a GP Surgery. I then went part time, working both at the GP surgery and at Kier Construction as a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and Bid Writer Assistant. 

What I’m Doing Now

I am now in a permanent role as a Regional CSR Coordinator. I do this for our Southern Region, which comprises of three offices. I really enjoy this role as it is varied, mixing PR, events, marketing and other skills together. My degree gave me great skills in communication and organisation which I have carried into my job. The ability to give presentations, write reports and newsletters has been extremely useful. My persuasive writing module has proved especially useful in understanding what words to use in certain circumstances. 


Degree Title and Institution

English Literature at Newcastle University

What I Did When I Left University

I moved to London to start a Publishing MA and began an internship at Hachette. This then secured my first full time job at Macmillan Publishers where I was a Rights Assistant, licensing book rights to publishers internationally. This job was a lot of fun!

What I’m Doing Now 

10 years on I’ve made the move from publishing to IT and I’m now working in software sales. I’m currently an Account Manager at Salesforce where I work with Media companies to evaluate the technology they need for their digital transformation. The communication and interpretation skills I learnt at university have been absolutely key to my success in this role!


Degree Title and Institution

English Language and Literature, Oxford University

What I Did When I Left University

I ‘converted’ to Law, undertaking two years of legal study and two years of on-the-job training with a City firm. I qualified into the Commercial Property department (Real Estate) and, in between routine matters, worked on a number of high-profile transactions. All the while, I continued to read a huge amount of literature and to write. I lived abroad for a while – on returning to the UK, I trained as an English teacher. Much of the work that I have done since graduating has been connected, in some way, with the writing, analytical and research skills that I acquired on my English degree course.

What I’m Doing Now

I am an English teacher! I am engaged, on a daily basis, with the authors and poets who inspire me. I teach at a fairly old school and I love going into the depths of the English cupboards and finding books that were signed out (and sometimes defaced) by pupils over fifty years ago!  The job is tough at times – convincing a class of Year 11 students that Victorian literature is actually great fun has been a recent challenge. I still love the Law and am glad to have access to two deeply interesting subjects – doing an English degree has given me these options. 


Degree Title and Institution

English Language and Linguistics, Anglia Ruskin University

What I Did When I Left University

When I was in my third year at university I came across Computational Linguistics and I knew I wanted to work in the tech field. After finishing university, I spent a few months looking at jobs such as becoming a technical author, then decided to focus on conversational AI. I got a job as a Temp Data Analyst at Amazon and was lucky enough to be selected to join the linguist team shorty after.

What I’m Doing Now

I am currently working as a lead linguist for Amazon Alexa, working on improving her speech. This role mainly focuses on phonetics and phonology but other modules from the course come in handy too. I was lucky enough to find a job in a department I was interested in three months after finishing university. I am now looking at improving my technical skills, with the hope of doing a Masters in Speech and Language Processing, or something similar.

Main image for Studying English at University page

Studying English at University

Where to go to find out more, how to help students make the choice

EMC is starting to collect together material to support teachers and careers staff advising students about doing English subjects at university. It is also likely to be really helpful in the recruitment process for A Level English subjects. You might want to share information about these websites, youtube videos and articles not only with A Level students but also with students lower down the school, particularly those doing GCSE, to help shape their thinking about future A Level choices and degree options.

Find out more about the jobs English graduates go on to have here.

What A Levels You Need to Study Different Subjects at University

In May 2019, the influential Russell Group of universities created a new website to give accurate information and advice to students wishing to apply to their universities about which A Levels would be most helpful to students. The website makes it very clear whether subjects are either required or desirable. For most degree courses, while a single particular subject may be necessary or desirable, the choice of other subjects is open and flexible. This is a significant change from the idea of ‘facilitating subjects’.



Why Study English at University?’ Professor Katy Shaw, University of Northumbria

Why Study English Language at A Level and Beyond?’ Dr Erika Darics, Aston University

18 Reasons for Doing an English Degree Poster


English Subject Centre website: ‘Why Study English’

This site is for those students who are choosing a subject to study at degree level. It contains information and advice about preparing for uni, what it’s like to study English, and the opportunities an English degree may create for them.


Royal Holloway University of London Teacher Hub

The site provides: teaching resources, including many video lectures of popular A Level texts; CPD opportunities and teacher visits; engagement with schools and their needs. For students considering either A Level English, or a degree in English Literature or Creative Writing, the videos provide a taste of what it’s like to hear lectures from experts in their field.

Philip Seargeant (Open University) Videos

Brilliant animations and films about language and communication, covering topics from Shakespeare and swearing to emoji and robotics, and from fake news and filter bubbles to comedy and creativity. 

As well as being excellent for use in secondary school classrooms generally, not just A Level, these films and animations give a really good idea of what language study can involve, so would be great to show GCSE students to alert them to the fascinations of doing Language A Level or a degree in English Language or Linguistics.

Reading University – A Taster of Our Teaching

Reading University English Department have 5 short 8-10 minute videos – on White Teeth, Small Island, Othello, Mrs Dalloway and Fugitive Pieces. They feature lecturers in the department and give a good flavour of what university teaching can be like.

English at Southampton University – Support for A Level Studies 

This site has downloadable podcasts on several popular set texts, in a specially-designed series where staff and students from the English Department discuss texts, approaches, and study tips to support learning at A Level and GCSE. The series includes a podcast by the playwright Evan Placey, Creative Writing Fellow at Southampton, whose play 'Girls Like That' is a set text for GCSE drama. There is also a podcast on approaching unseen texts at A Level.

English at Oxford –  A Level and Undergraduate Resources on Contemporary Black and Asian British Writing

Writers Make Worlds

The English Faculty at Oxford University have been responding to debates about the curriculum, not only in schools but also in Higher Education. They have developed a brilliant site offering resources and ideas to support developments in diversifying the English curriculum. This will give A Level students a great idea of what’s happening in English at university level as well as some fantastic resources on a wide range of BAME British writers they might be studying, from poets Daljit Nagra and Moniza Alvi to novelists Andrea Levy or Zadie Smith, as well as ideas for other writers who may be of interest. 

And also...

Great Writers Inspire Series

The Oxford English faculty has a great series of podcasts in the Great Writers Inspire series. Though aimed primarily at first year undergraduates, they give a very good sense of what university lectures have to offer and may be specially helpful if one of them, by good fortune, happens to be on a text being studied for A Level. 


The Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB) Map & List – Where Can I Study Linguistics?

This site gives a map of all the Linguistics and English Language courses in the UK, along with a list giving instant click-throughs to all the individual departments. If you’re thinking of doing a course in this subject and want to browse what’s available looking at the differences between courses, it will save you hours of searching the web!

Dr Michelle Sheehan, Reader in Linguistics at Anglia Ruskin University, suggests three websites that explain what linguistics is, to help inform your decision:




Main image for EMC Activities for National Poetry Day 4th October 2018 – Change page

EMC Activities for National Poetry Day 4th October 2018 – Change

National Poetry Day 2018 is on 4th October. The theme this year is ‘Change’.

We think it can be interpreted loosely and widely, to include:

  • Poems about the many themes of change, such as growing up, growing old, looking back on how life has changed, historical change, the changing seasons and so on…
  • Poems urging change– polemics, arguments for a different kind of society, a different kind of world
  • Poems that change other poems– re-writings of old myths, re-workings of well-known poems, poems speaking back to others
  • Poems that change the rules– game-changing poems that reinvent genres, mix and mashup or find brand new ways of writing poetry.

On the Poetry Station, we’ve made a page of all the poem performances that explore these different kinds of change, so that you can select from them ones to share with your students on National Poetry Day. Each video is a short experience of a poem, mostly read by the poets themselves, bringing the poem off the page and making a performance of it. They’re a great introduction to the rich variety of poems and poetry available, both from past periods and the here and now.

We’ve created a set of teaching ideas to go with it, to allow you to do some great poetry reading and writing activities on the day, with the minimum of fuss or advance preparation. Most of these activities can be done by simply watching Poetry Station videos and then setting students off on one of the suggested tasks.

You can also download these activities as a PDF here.

Change – EMC’s National Poetry Day Activities

1. Poems ABOUT change

  • Watch some of the videos of poems that deal with the theme of change. Among others, you might want to look at:
    • Owen Sheers: Calendar
    • Jenny Joseph: Warning
    • Maura Dooley: History
    • Seamus Heaney:‘Digging
    • Sophie Hannah: Trainers all Turn Grey
  • Talk about what aspect of change each poem is exploring – for instance, the changing seasons, or how one changes from childhood to adulthood, or the idea of coming to terms with things changing and dying.
  • Pick the poem you were most interested in and write your own poem about that theme. For instance, you might write your own ‘Warning’ poem, imagining what you might be like in your twenties, thirties or forties! Or, if you liked ‘Trainers all Turn Grey’, you might write a poem about the disappointment of something you’ve really liked disappearing or changing.

2. Poems URGING change

Poetry is a great way of arguing for change. As a spoken form, it can speak to people directly, and act as a powerful call for action. 

  • Watch a few of these poems:
    • Maya Angelou: Still I Rise
    • John Agard: Listen Mr Oxford Don
    • Eastbury School Students: Making Sense of Me
    • Natalie Stewart: Her Story
  • Think about, or talk about:
    • What change they seem to be arguing for
    • Which you find most powerful and persuasive
    • Which you personally find most inspiring and why.
  • Is there something that you feel strongly about and would like to see changed? It might be something to do with the environment or young people, or perhaps even something in your own life that you’d like to change. Using ideas from the poems you’ve heard, try to write a poem about the thing you’d like to change. Draw on the poetic techniques you found most powerful and persuasive.

3. CHANGING poems – remixes, mashups, updates, transformations

  • Watch a poem that changes another poem, for instance:
    • Patience Agbabi: Wife of Bath remix or The Canterbury Tales remix
    • Sophie Hannah: Trainers all Turn Grey
  • Pick any poem that you like, from watching Poetry Station videos, from work you’ve done in class, from an anthology, or a favourite poem. 
  • Remix it in whatever way you want. Update it, answer back to it, give it your own spin.
  • Share your ‘changed’ poems by reading/watching the original and then reading your own out loud.

4. Poems that CHANGE THE RULES

Some poems do something so differently that they could be seen as changing the whole way poetry works. One example of this is prose poems, poems that look like prose but have many of the other qualities of poetry. Here are two ways of experimenting with poetry and prose to make new kinds of poetry.

Create a prose poem

  • Try taking a poem you like and writing it out as prose. What difference does this make to it? Does it still seem to be a poem?


Create a poem out of everyday prose

  • Find a short bit of everyday prose, for instance a short news story in a newspaper, or a public notice or advert, or something in a school newsletter, or an extract from a factual book like an encyclopaedia or science textbook. 
  • See if you can turn it into poetry. What happens if you:
    • Repeat words and phrases
    • Cut out words that seem superfluous 
    • Break up the text into poetic lines to make some words stand out
    • Use stanza breaks to make individual lines stand out
    • Add in lines of your own to make the point, or create the feeling you want to make.
Main image for Reading for Pleasure – EMC and Walker Books page

Reading for Pleasure – EMC and Walker Books

EMC was delighted to write the summaries for the titles featured in Walker Books’ secondary catalogue. There are some brilliant reads here for all secondary level students. Download the catalogue here.

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Main image for Let Them Loose! National Writing Day 2017 – The Exhibition page

Let Them Loose! National Writing Day 2017 – The Exhibition

Reflections on a wonderful day of writing and sharing writing!

Here Barbara Bleiman introduces EMC’s exhibition of examples of writing from Let Them Loose! The exhibition gives a flavour of what happened on the day. With 1000s of pieces of writing being tweeted and sent to us for display on Flickr, it’s only been possible to select a few. True to the spirit of the event, Barbara, Simon Wrigley (of the National Writing Project) and playwright, Sarah Hehir, chose pieces that caught our attention and spoke strongly and freshly to us, rather than applying any fixed criteria or being overly concerned about technical accuracy or a highly polished final product. Following on from Barbara’s introduction and the exhibition is a reflective report by Simon about what he took from the day.

Wednesday 21st June was National Writing Day, the first of many, I hope. The English and Media Centre discussed what we could offer on that day and decided to set up an event called ‘Let Them Loose!’ We wanted to encourage English teachers to allow their students to write without the constraints of assessment, to write for its own sake, for pleasure and for themselves, without teacher intervention or marking. We have observed, over the past few years, how a data-driven accountability culture has been transforming the teaching of writing – and not in a good way! When everything is assessed to within an inch of its life, and students are given highly prescriptive (and proscriptive) instructions for everything they write, then students start to write in stilted, formulaic and inauthentic ways. ‘Let Them Loose!’ was an open offer to write unfettered by these strictures. Students were to be given 30-45 minutes to write, on a choice of mystery stimuli provided by EMC on the day. The stimuli included two intriguing photographs, plus a selection of poetry fragments, from which they could select as many or as few as they liked to spark off their imaginations. A fourth option was ‘Write whatever you’d like to!’ The poetry fragments included unusual phrases like ‘I can only half-hear you John’ and ‘The vacuum cleaner sulked’. Teachers were also encouraged to write alongside their pupils. (You can download the stimulus PDF here.)

In the run-up to National Writing Day, we began to realise that we had hit on something big. Hundreds of English teachers were getting in touch by email, or via Twitter, to say that they were going to take part. We encouraged them to do it with whole classes, year groups and even whole schools and one or two started to tell us that not only teachers and pupils would be taking part, but the whole school community. We had clearly touched a nerve.

Why had this event so captured English teachers’ imagination? It tells us something important, and rather sad, about the state of play in schools at the moment. For many of these teachers, the idea of 30-45 minutes of free writing was clearly an exciting opportunity, a chance to break free of some of the shackles. To those outside our pressure cooker world, this might this seem rather strange. It is strange! Creative writing and freedom to express yourself, making choices about what to write and how to write it, have always been at the heart of English lessons. Pupils have loved English for the pleasure of discovering themselves as writers. As most published writers will tell you, writing is only ever partly planned. What is generated often emerges in semi-conscious or even sub-conscious ways and can often take even the writer by surprise. Now, endless rules and regulations, and the fear of risk, playfulness and experimentation, have brought the shutters down and rather than opening up possibilities, avenues for inventiveness and individuality are, all too often, closed off. English was always a favourite subject for pupils. Sadly, this may be changing. Colleagues who teach A Level are reporting that numbers are likely to be significantly down in September because students associate English with boredom, anxiety and lack of pleasure.

On National Writing Day ‘Let Them Loose!’ happened and it was even more vast and magnificent than we had imagined. By mid-morning, our Twitterfeed was full of images of writing and photographs of students engrossed in writing – at desks and under desks, in the playground and on benches, under trees, along with their teachers and alone, in Scotland, London and all over the UK, as well as India, Italy, Pakistan and Shanghai! 


Students were writing poems, playscripts, filmscripts, graphic novels, stories, diaries, speeches and personal pieces. Thousands of children wrote. They wrote crime, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, realist stories and ones drawn from experience – in fact anything and everything one could imagine, and more. They were unfettered, unencumbered with concerns about what mark they’d get. The writing was often inspiringly clever, moving, witty and fresh. That sulking vacuum cleaner caught the imagination of more than one student and teacher and produced surprisingly brilliant writing. Some students wrote in Polish, Mandarin or Shona, and then translated their home language pieces for their classmates. In one school, a photo popped up on Twitter of a canteen worker writing to our prompts, and the Headteacher of that same school posted his bit of writing on Twitter (in response to an image of a pair of boots), so that the whole school, and everyone else doing ‘Let Them Loose!’ could read it. Thousands of pieces of writing have now been shared via EMC on Flickr.

If the writing has been stunning, the reactions of staff and students have been equally so. ‘We took our paper and imaginations outside and wrote in the playground’ said one teacher. For some, there were initial nerves. ‘The concept of no rules/success criteria/mark scheme was initially daunting’ but then found to be ‘LIBERATING!’ Freedom was the recurring motif – ‘the girls said they loved writing without restriction’, it was ‘a fabulously freeing afternoon’. It wasn’t just the more able students who took up the baton. ‘Our students have had many barriers to their learning,’ said one teacher. ‘I wasn’t sure how they would react to this challenge, but they rose to it and were very successful!’ Reading their writing, we agreed.

We hope that ‘Let Them Loose!’ will take place again next year. But more importantly, we want the message to ring out up and down the country that this is what should be happening in our schools all of the time, not just once a year, but for every pupil, in every classroom. Giving pupils choice, the chance to experiment, to write for themselves, to write (at least sometimes) without explicit teaching or lists of what to include or avoid, are all vital aspects of learning how to write with confidence and a strong, authentic voice. We saw them do this last Wednesday. Let’s see it happening every day of the week.

Barbara Bleiman, Education Consultant, English and Media Centre

Thank you!

To all the teachers and students who took part – thank you! And an especially big thank you to the following who tweeted during the day or submitted their writing for our Flickr gallery (apologies if we missed you on Twitter):

Acland Burghley (Camden), AESG, All Saints C of E School (Wyke), Anand Niketan Shilaj Campus (Ahmedabad), Angmering School, Astor College (Dover), Avonbourne College, Aylesbury Grammar School, Barnard Castle School, Barton Court School, Bishop Challoner, Bishop Luffa School, The Blandford School, Bishop Challoner, Shadwell, Bishop Challoner School (Tower Hamlets), Bloxham School, Bourne Grammar School, Breadalbane Academy, Aberfeldy, British School of Milan, Bullers Wood, Carr Hill School, Chesham Grammar, Chiswick School, Christopher Whitehead Language College, The City School – Gulshan Campus A (Pakistan), Collingwood College, Cooper’s School, Cotswold School, Darrick Wood School, Dartford Grammar School For Girls, Debden High, Driffield School, Dorothy Stringer School, Durrington High, Eastbourne College, Eastbury School, ECC, Elm Green School, Tulse Hill, Exmouth Community College, Farrington’s School, Furze Platt School, Gosford Hill School, Greenacre Academy, Haberdashers’ Girls School, Haggerston School, Harris Beckenham, Heathfield Community College, Heathside School, Heckmondwike School, Hellesdon High School, High Storrs, Holcombe Grammar, Holmer Green Senior School, Hornsey School for Girls, Horsforth School, Ilkley Grammar School, Isleworth and Syon School for Boys Yr 7, Ivybridge Community College, JCoSS, Kemnay Academy, Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, Kimbolton School, Kimberley School, Kings School (Chester), Kingston Grammar School, Kirkbie Kendal School, Langley School, Solihull, Langley Park Girls School, The Latymer School (Enfield), Lea Valley High School, Liskeard School (Cornwall), Loreto Grammar School, Manchester High School for Girls, Mayfield School, Millfield School (Somerset), Mount School York, Mountbatten School, Moorbridge PRU (Shiremoor), The Norwood School, Newstead Wood School, Notre Dame Roman Catholic Girls School, Southwark, Orleans Park, Ormiston Six Villages Academy, Oxford High School, Parkstone Grammar School, Portobello, QE, QKS Kendal, Pont High, The Priory City of Lincoln Academy, Portland Place School, Raine’s School, Rainham Girls School, Ramsey Academy (Halstead), Reaz Kurimbux, Royal Latin School, Buckingham, Sewell Park Academy, Sharnbrook School, Sittingbourne Community College, St Christopher’s Letchworth, Suffolk One, St Anne's Academy Winchester, St. Anthony's Girls' Catholic Academy, Sunderland, St Bernard's, St Francis’ College, Hertfordshire, St John’s College (Southsea), St Joseph’s (Wokingham), St Michael's, Suffolk One, Surbiton High School, Sutton High, South Wilts Grammar School, Swanwick Hall, Teeside High School, The Burgess Hill Academy, The City School, Gulshan Campus A Pakistan, The Co-operative Academy of Manchester, Thomas Cowley (Donnington), Thomas Tallis School, University of Birmingham School, Uppingham Community College, Uxbridge High School, Wallingford School, Wanstead High, Westonbirt School, Whitgift School – A Curtis Rouse, William Hulmes Grammar School, Wimbledon High School, Wirral Grammar School for Boys, Wren Academy, Writer’s Club Norwood, Wyedean English

And the schools at which the following teachers work: M Harrison, Tiffany Yates, Dawn Yardley, Amika Salter, Sharon Stead, Neil, Miss Bish, Anton Viesel (Northampton)

For the full Let Them Loose! experience, visit our Flickr gallery ...


... search #EMCLetThemLoose and #LetThemLoose on Twitter or scroll through the feed for @EngMediaCentre (scroll down to 21st-24th June).

The Exhibition

To view the writing full size, click on the image.

Acland Burghley School

Bishop Luffa School

Bourne Grammar School

Carr Hill School


Chiswick School

Conisborough College School

Christopher Whitehead Language College 

Eastbourne College

Ellen Wilkinson School

Exmouth Community College



Haggerston School

Holmer Green Senior School

Horsforth School

Ilkley School

Kemnay Academy


Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School

Kingston Grammar School


Mayfield School

Moorbridge Pru

Mount School, York

Parkstone Grammar School

Portobello School, Edinburgh

Ramsey Academy, Halstead 

Royal Latin School, Buckingham

St Michael's, High Wycombe

Sutton High


South Wilts Grammar School

The Cotswold School

The Thomas Cowley High School

Wimbledon High School

Wren Academy


Simon Wrigley reflects on his experience of Let Them Loose!

On Thursday 22nd June, while more and more writing was arriving by the hour – from all across the UK and as far away as India and China, I sat alongside Sarah Hehir and Barbara Bleiman and read page after page of pupil writing. It was a privilege and an insight.

Writing on the summer solstice evoked, unsurprisingly, fantastic tales of heat and Gaian matters: ‘fighting a goblin called Morte on the summer solstice’. Many wrote passionately, with a fierce morality about our weak stewardship of the environment:

This is what Earth is doing to us. He is giving up on us. All of us.

There were touching personal pieces about human relations – discord in families, sick relatives, as well as the loss of uncles, parents and siblings:

Unable to sleep, I watched as the dusk began to coop in my great uncle John’s wild and overgrown garden – as it did in him.

Some writers told horrific apocalyptic and dystopian stories – trains were hijacked, killer dolls roamed the streets leaving pools of blood in their wake, and there was even one darkly humorous story which drew on the fears of our times, ending:

... and that is how North Korea became a deserted radio-active country that no-one had ever heard of.

But however far away the young writers travelled, and whichever prompts they responded to, it was wonderful that, for forty-five minutes or so, they had been allowed to unleash their imaginations and reconnect with things that rose in them, rather than struggle with things imposed from outside. Whether they approached this directly or obliquely, it felt healthy – even when they wrote from the ontological heart of teenage angst: ‘No one understands me. I’m going to die.’ Of course contemporary events, film and fiction were ‘re-processed’, and one hoped that it had been cathartic for them to recreate painful pasts and step into possible futures and to listen to oneself without fear of judgement: 'Meandering, aimless, he is the wanderer' wrote one; ‘The window is me,’ wrote another.

‘Let Them Loose’ was a chance for each student to choose their own pathway, assume the mantle of the expert, and discover what might be possible when they followed their own imaginations – rather than obeyed someone else’s requirements.

Writers across many schools wrote with an ease and fluency that implied they were more used to taking responsibility: they ploughed their own furrows with confidence. They seemed quite capable of harnessing what they knew of writing, consciously or unconsciously, and set off straight away, borrowing and extemporising at will. (eg: ‘And so it begins ...’ Gruzorok exclaimed, eyeing the spear-wielding man stood before him’) Some found voices and structures to hold their thoughts about identity crises, fires, orphanages and other monsters. One used the last word of each paragraph to springboard a whole new paragraph in a scintillating leap-frog. Another dived straight into powerful self-reflection, ending unashamedly ‘Because that’s the way I am.’ And yet another projected herself confidently into an orphan’s mind and wrote an electric piece which sparkled with attitude and hybrid patois worthy of Anthony Burgess:

I have the power to read minds and I can see all the pity you wretched creatures have for me. Thoughts flying here and there, some saying ‘Lord, deliver this demonic soul!’ I’ll have you know I’m being delivered right now. I am all packaged up like a present on my way to Cellwick Avenue. The old plonkers needed a squidge buddy, reckons I’m the one. Excuse my English, my first language is Jibberish – after all it’s the only thing I understand. My parents are a lost cause – probably some earl halfway across the world. I couldn’t give a toss about them. When I am a star like Iggle Piggle they come at me like a wrecking ball – the only known knook and crannies. Being an orphan is hard – not being able to have a slave (referred to as mum) and a bachelor (also known as dad). Could life be any easier? Hope Cellwick ain’t that bad – it’s the least an orphan like me could wish for.

After an eternity and a half I am here. I don’t think the grannies can see me. Should’ve gone to Specsavers.

Free writing of this kind should regularly open and extend learning. Writers will also benefit from discussion of personal processes and of the many affordances of writing (not just grades), from listening to what is distinctive rather than conventional in each other’s writing, and from reflection on what may help and hinder. If we can cultivate different writing spaces for students and allow them to take a full part in the cultural conversation about conventions and values, they will become the writers they can be and democracy can be the stronger. ‘Let Them Loose’ was a powerful reminder of what lies inside young people – and how good it is for their confidence, their learning and their emerging agency for them to have opportunities to express themselves independently.

Simon Wrigley, National Writing Project – Opening and Extending Learning

For more on the National Writing Project.


Main image for Animate – The Animated Poem! page

Animate – The Animated Poem!

A project to create an animated video, using students' words, voices, drawings & music.

Working with poet and spoken-word educator, Cat Brogan, students at Eastbury Community School created 'Making Sense of Me', a collaboarative animated poem. You can enjoy the poem here on EMC's Poetry Station.

Why not explore this poem, then have a go at creating a group or individual poem?

Activities on Animate!

A group poem with a message – Animate!

KS3 students at Eastbury school in London, worked with a spoken word educator and a team of animators to write a group poem with a strong shared message. They then went on to make it into an animated film. Their ‘message’, ‘Making Sense of Me’ was all about developing the confidence to overcome hurdles and achieve your dream. 

  • Watch the poem and discuss your first reactions. 
  • Talk about the metaphors the pupils chose to express the idea of feeling low confidence and then breaking through that, and the visual images they created to go with the words.
  • Which bits of the film did you like best? Which images, which words?

Writing a group poem

  • Write a group poem of your own, following these steps. (You could, if you have time, go on to produce visual images to accompany it.)
  • Agree a theme, a message, that you, as a group, want to write about. Here are some possible ideas to get you started on finding a message:
    • We should reach out to the world and be open, rather than closed
    • Everyone has the right to be respected and treated fairly
    • Bullying needs to be tackled, not ignored
    • Doing well at school is more than just getting good grades and doing well in exams
    • People have different cultures, faiths and origins – it doesn’t mean that they can’t get on with each other
    • Adults should listen more to young people.
  • Agree a basic structure for the poem e.g.
    • Starting each line with the same phrase ‘I used to…’ for the first half followed by ‘Now…. for the second half, or ‘We all…’ followed by ‘But…’ for the second half, or ‘When you’re feeling…’ all the way through.
  • On a sticky, each individually write one or two phrases, or lines about your chosen message. You could think of metaphors to express what you feel, like the Eastbury pupils did.
  • Read aloud what’s written on all your stickies and spread them out on a table. Try to sequence them and iron out any awkward differences, make improvements, or add in words to make them connect well with each other e.g. if everyone has started with ‘I hate it when….’ except for one person, you might want to work together to rephrase their line. Read aloud again what you have now got, in order, and see if you want to re-write or add anything or change the structure. Here’s an example of the kind of conversation you might have:

A: It’s great the way all of the lines start ‘I hate it when…’ but it’s a bit depressing.

B: How about having five or six lines at the end starting ‘But I love it when…’, so it ends more hopefully?

C: Or how about alternating it?  One line saying ‘I hate it when…’ followed by one line saying ‘I love it when…’ and so on.

D: Let’s do that! And can we also do it more like the Eastbury poem, with more unusual images? Like, ‘I hate it when you go on and on, like a siren in a traffic jam.  I love it when you stop, and all the street is empty and still.’

  • When you’re happy with your structure, your order and your lines, write it out on a sheet of paper, ready to read out to the rest of the class.
  • If you can, now add visual images to create a series of still pictures to go with the words. (You could also choose some music, ot even go on to do a fully animated film like ‘Making Sense of Me’ if your school has the facilities to allow you to do this, and the time available to make it happen!)

Writing a poem of your own

  • Having watched the ‘Making Sense of Me’ video, you could have a go at writing a poem of your own, on any of the topics suggested for the group poem, or another topic that you personally feel strongly about. You might want to write it as a message to yourself, or to parents, teachers or politicians, or other students.  Your message could be to a younger brother or sister, giving them advice and ideas about their life e.g. ‘When you start at secondary school…’ or ‘How to stay strong when things are worrying you…’
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It’s Good to Talk – Developing Group Work in English

An overview of EMC's 'It's Good to Talk' research project into group work in English.

What is it?

A self-funded project set up in 2015 by EMC, to investigate group work in English – what it has to offer, what makes it successful (or less so), what it’s good for (and conversely what it isn’t good for).

We wanted to go beyond the broad, sweep of pedagogical comment and research, which is rarely focused on subjects, and most often offers ideas about issues such as group size, composition, rules and etiquette, structures for group activities and so on. Instead, we are looking more closely and analytically at how group work operates in the subject of English. In doing so, we are exploring a range of other issues, with 10 key themes emerging from our early work. (See below).

The project is led by EMC staff, Barbara Bleiman and Kate Oliver. We are currently working with a group of about 10 teachers in secondary schools. New members have joined along the way, having seen presentations about the work at conferences or in CPD. We welcome others interested in taking part.

What kind of research is it?

It is genuinely investigative and open-ended, responsive to the thinking of the teachers involved, and to what we observe. EMC staff give structure to the project, providing a steer and drawing on our own experience and other research to support its development. The data is largely in the form of classroom filming, observation, reflection, discussion, questionnaires and interviews. It is not based on randomised controlled trials or on quantitative data. It does not start out with a hypothesis to prove or disprove, tied closely to proof of ‘impact’. Rather, it is a quest for greater understanding, a collection of evidence that can be shared between teachers, and a form of research firmly rooted in classrooms that evolves as our thinking changes. It is not looking for a single answer but for answers; it is looking for ways of improving our own reflective and analytical skills when it comes to judging what is good group work in English; it is searching for insights that can help us become more skilled users of it as an element of classroom activity.

What themes have we been addressing?

In English classrooms…

  1. What kinds of things is group work good for, and conversely, what kinds of things isn’t it good for? 
  2. What’s the role of the teacher? In setting it up, in establishing the parameters and the purpose of the task, in pausing/re-directing, in building the framework for future learning
  3. Time allocated and pacing of activities
  4. The role of report-backs and whole class feedback 
  5. What’s the right level of challenge in group work?
  6. What kinds of tasks work best in group work?
  7. What if students don’t seem to be making good progress all the time?
  8. The value of creative work in group work on texts 
  9. The collaborative classroom – what insights group work offers into how and what children are learning. What students can tell teachers about their learning. 
  10. Setting v mixed ability – does this make a difference to group work?

What research material and new ideas have been emerging?

This project page collects together some of the material we have been sharing with teachers so far, largely in the form of blogposts on the EMC blog but also some separate videoclips and other material from our work in schools. The blogs are mainly written by Barbara Bleiman but also include several guest blogs by Richard Long, one of the teachers we worked with. More blogs will follow.

Video clip

Year 7 students discuss poetry in groups.

Mayfield teachers in discussion about the KS3 Novel project.


  1. It’s good to talk – Changing practice in English: the start of something big
  2. Group work – had we but time enough…
  3. Creating as well as thinking in group work
  4. Group work or teacher transmission of knowledge – a false dichotomy?
  5. Exploratory talk, exploratory writing and pupil progress at KS3
  6. Is it really group work?
  7. A group work activity to teach GCSE poetry
  8. Teaching a Novel With Four Year 9 Classes

Dissemination of project findings – articles and forthcoming CPD and Conferences

Previous presentations and dissemination of project findings

  • NAAE Conference (2016)
  • NATE Conference (2016)
  • Training for ASEICA, Nice (2016)
  • Training for École Jeannine Manuel, Paris (2016)
  • Twilight session for NQTs at EMC (June 2016)
  •  NATE Conference Workshop on Group Work, led by Barbara Bleiman (June 2016)
  • ResearchEd National Conference 2017, presentation by Barbara Bleiman (September 2017, see below)
  • Presentation and workshop for Hertfordshire Heads of English (December 2017)
  • LATE Conference: Becoming our own experts: English Teachers and Research, Keynote by Barbara Bleiman and Richard Long (March 2018)
  • ELSA Conference, Paris, two sessions on group work by Kate Oliver (March 2018)

ResearchEd National Conference 2017

Barbara Bleiman presented at ResearchEd at Chobham Academy, Stratford on September 9th 2017. Here is her PowerPoint presentation (with the large videoclips omitted but some tasters available on this page). Her handout is also available, offering useful references to research papers, websites and other material about group work and dialogic learning in the classroom.

How can I find out more?

Email Barbara Bleiman for more information, for details of how to request CPD or a conference presentation on our work, or if you’d like to take part in the project yourself.

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Your MediaMagazine subscription has now expired

Your school's MediaMagazine subscription has now expired. All MediaMagazine subscriptions run to the academic year (1st September to 31st August). To access the online subscription content, you will need to renew your subscription for the new academic year.

How to renew your MediaMagazine subscription to get immediate access to the online content

  1. Sign in to the school user/admin account used to set up your MediaMagazine subscription: https://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/login
  • If you have forgotten your school user/admin account logins, use the 'Username reminder' and 'Password reset' links on this sign in page.
  1. Once you have signed in to your account, go to https://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/subscribe-mediamag/
  2. Place your order by adding the Print & Web subscription (or Overseas PDF & Web subscription) to your basket.
  3. Check out. (If logged in as a UK school user, the default payment method is 'Invoice'. You can choose to pay by credit or debit card, if you wish.)
  4. As soon as your order has been completed, your MediaMagazine logins will work again. 
  • If you want to change your MediaMagazine username/password, go to 'My Account' while signed in to your school user/admin account and follow the link.


If you are a student, please let your English teacher or librarian know that you arrived at the 'Expired subscription' page when trying to log in to the MediaMagazine website.

Need help?

If you have any difficulty renewing your subscription, the quickest way to get help is to email Lucy.

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Your emagazine subscription has expired

Your school's emagazine subscription has now expired. All emagazine subscriptions run to the academic year (1st September to 31st August). To access the online subscription content, you will need to renew your subscription for the new academic year.

How to renew your emagazine subscription to get immediate access to the online content

  1. Sign in to the school user/admin account used to set up your emagazine subscription: https://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/login
    • If you have forgotten your school user/admin account logins, use the 'Username reminder' and 'Password reset' links on this sign in page.
  2. Once you have signed in to your account, go to https://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/subscribe-emag/ 
  3. Place your order by adding the Print & Web subscription (or Overseas PDF & Web subscription) to your basket.
  4. Check out. (If logged in as a UK school user, the default payment method is 'Invoice'. You can choose to pay by credit or debit card, if you wish.)
  5. As soon as your order has been completed, your emagazine logins will work again.
  • If you want to change your emagazine username/password, go to 'My Account' while signed in to your school user/admin account and follow the link.


If you are a student, please let your English teacher or librarian know that you arrived at the 'Expired subscription' page when trying to log in to the emagazine website.

Need help?

If you have any difficulty renewing your subscription, the quickest way to get help is to email Lucy.

EMC Twilights

EMC and Teacher Training

PGCE in English 

Emma Barker, course leader, introduces the PGCE.

September 2015 saw the start of an exciting new era for the English and Media Centre as we launched our own PGCE course for Secondary English. The course was the first of its kind for EMC.  Designed and delivered on the same principles as our CPD courses, it offers students a comprehensive training in all aspects of English teaching, as well as providing specialist workshops in media and drama.  Alongside their school-based teaching practice, our students test pedagogical theory and research in practical workshop sessions at the Centre and our university partner, experiencing and reflecting as learners, as they develop as teachers.

The first year has been exhilarating and enjoyable.  One of the first intake of teacher trainees shares his experiences mid-way through the course:

It’s the end of what’s been an exciting and absorbing first term of my PGCE. It began three and a half months ago with a flurry of engaging, energising and exhausting days at the EMC and London Met: three very intense but seemingly short weeks saw us doing all sorts of writing exercises, discussing poetry, making adverts. There was a (sometimes daunting, always interesting) steady flow of reading materials provoking new ideas, making us consider new perspectives. There were fantastic focus days on at the EMC with Globe performer Tom Davey and EMC media expert Jenny Grahame, and we spent an afternoon at the British Library. We team-taught our first lessons in a local secondary school.

Our placements began, and it suddenly felt strange not to share a room with my fellow trainees and Emma each day. Soon school life grabbed us all up, but we’d see each other every Friday at lectures and excitedly talk over the week’s events. We’ve now all completed our first placement and are enjoying well-earned rests before it all starts again in January. Here’s to 2016!

Read more about the students' reasons for choosing the course – and why they'd recommend it to others.

PGCE in Media Studies

We were delighted to be offered the opportunity to be partners with Goldsmiths for a new PGCE for Media Studies with English, which started in September 2015. The first cohort of 13 teachers are now out on their placements, returning to the centre on Fridays for Media sessions here. As many people will know, Media Studies teachers have often tended to be enthusiasts willing to have a go rather than specifically trained in the subject, so for the EMC it is really important that we are able to take the lead in the provision in this area.

We had over 70 applicants for the first course, most of whom had a first degree in Media or a related area, as well as classroom experience, often as a TA or media technician; we are very confident that by the end of the year we will have a group absolutely ready to become the next generation of leading media teachers. In order to ensure that they are all in a position to apply for a range of jobs, as well as undertaking a long placement specialising in media, all the students will do a five week Key Stage 3 English placement at a second school. They also do two days a week at the start of the course at Goldsmiths being taught alongside the PGCE English students and a half day each week throughout the autumn term of professional studies along with PGCE students in all subjects.

At EMC, the top floor has now been transformed into a flexible learning space with part of the area housing eight Macs, each equipped with Adobe Creative Suite; we have DSLR cameras and Zoom mics, giving the students the opportunity to undertake collaborative practical activities of the kind they would do in the classroom with students. We have also been able to run a number of twilight teachmeets up there in association with the Media Education Association, each featuring guest speakers and involving teachers from all over London. The enthusiasm for the whole course amongst the students has been infectious, as you can read for yourself here.


From the very beginning of the course, my colleagues and I were thrown straight in at the deep end, taking on high paced activities that allowed us to explore Media Studies in depth.

We have spent much time at EMC, which has been extremely beneficial. All of the equipment we have used has been top of the range, which we have access to throughout the week. Andrew, and all of the staff at EMC, the publishers of MediaMagazine, have also run sessions, giving invaluable advice as well as resources we could adapt and use in our own teaching. We have met other Media teachers as well as having talks from acclaimed writers and researchers such as: David Buckingham, Julian Sefton-Green, Julian McDougal and Jenny Grahame, media consultant at EMC.


As a mature student, I was slightly hesitant before I decided to register for the course but I can say that signing up for the Media and English course is one of the best decisions I have made. We are privileged that the course is run out of the English and Media Centre in Islington. The facilities include a state of the art suite of iMacs, with all the equipment that one could wish for on a course that combines practical skills with relevant theory.

The course leader is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about media.


The course has been fun and varied, the support has been second to none and I have made some great friends along the way. It's been fantastic working with EMC and they have provided a wealth of resources and tips that will help me with my teaching. We have been given all the advice and inspiration needed to go on to become top Media teachers.


When making the decision to have a career change and to become a teacher, I was rather nervous. However, as soon as I started my PGCE with EMC, all my worries and fears went straight out of the window. We’ve been immersed in the world of media teaching, with practical sessions from the course leader and guest speakers on different aspects of Media Studies.


The Media with English PGCE is one of the most challenging and rewarding academic years you could possibly undertake. Be prepared to work hard – this course isn't easy and you will be forced out of your comfort zone. But don’t worry either – the EMC instruction is well thought out, and the staff will provide a supportive working and learning environment for you (continuing to offer you plenty of support when you are out on placement).


The first term is over and I couldn't have hoped for better support and guidance from my tutor, mentors and peers. It's been a truly enjoyable experience so far, even if the paperwork and teaching has been demanding. Completing the initial section of work has definitely been rewarding (and very satisfying!). Bring on the next term!

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- This field is now hard-coded into the S24 EMC module. You will need to contact Studio 24 to instruct them to update the text used on this page. Please quote reference: ee2/expressionengine/third_party/s24_emc/mod.s24_emc.php -

Set or update your emagazine username and password

- This field is now hard-coded into the S24 EMC module. -

- This field is now hard-coded into the S24 EMC module. You will need to contact Studio 24 to instruct them to update the text used on this page. Please quote reference: ee2/expressionengine/third_party/s24_emc/mod.s24_emc.php -

Confirm order

Confirm order page

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EMC's student competitions

To see the student competitions we are currently running, see the emagazine or MediaMagazine home pages (Years 12 and 13) and the EMC Projects for details of competitions for Year 11.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions for use of this website

Please read these terms of use carefully before you start to use the site. By using our site, you indicate that you accept these terms of use and that you agree to abide by them. If you do not agree to these terms of use, please refrain from using our site.

1. The English and Media Cenre

1.1. The English and Media Centre website is a site operated by the English and Media Centre; we are a non-profit making company limited by guarantee [Reg No. 2466244] and a charity registered in England and Wales under charity number [Registered charity number: 803031] Our registered office is THE ENGLISH AND MEDIA CENTRE, 18, COMPTON TERRACE, LONDON, N1 2UN.
1.2. Access to our site is permitted on a temporary basis, and we reserve the right to withdraw or amend the service we provide on our site without notice (for example to update it). We will not be liable if for any reason our site is unavailable at any time or for any period.
1.3. Where our site contains links to other sites and resources provided by third parties, these links are provided for your information only. We have no control over the contents of those sites or resources, and accept no responsibility for them or for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of them.
1.4. If you have any concerns about material which appears on our site, please contact web@englishandmedia.co.uk

2. Your details

2.1. When you register with the English and Media Centre website in order To buy publications, book courses and conferences and subscribe to magazines you will be required to register on the site. As part of this, you will need to provide a contact postal and email address and choose a username and password. You are responsible for all sessions and transactions taken under these details. You should keep your password safe and not disclose it to anyone. You should change it immediately if you feel it has been compromised.
2.2. By registering on the site and providing an email address you agree to receiving emails from the English and Media Centre.
2.3. You may close your account at any time. Please ensure you have downloaded all your PDF and Video PDF purchases as you will no longer be able to access your downloads.

3. Postage

3.1 UK postage and packaging is free for print publications.
3.2 UK subscriptions to emagazine and MediaMagazine: there is no postage added.
3.3 Overseas customers requiring print publications or magazines must ring 01634 729835.

4. Payment

4.1. The English and Media Centre website uses the secure payment system provided by Worldpay (RBS).
4.2. Credit and debit card details are not stored by the English and Media Centre or Worldpay.
4.3. Payment by invoice is available for UK educational institutions registered on the site.
4.4. Individuals and educational institutions overseas are required to pay by debit card or credit card.
4.5 The English and Media Centre is not VAT registered. A VAT receipt will not be issued.
4.6 Copies of receipts can be downloaded by signing in via 'Account sign in', then 'My Account' and viewing 'Order History'.

5. Buying publications, booking courses and conferences, subscribing to magazines on the website

5.1. Prices of all publications, courses, conferences and magazines are subject to change at any time.
5.2. We may occasionally offer discount codes. Discount codes are issued for limited periods of time and may not be used retrospectively.
5.3. You will receive an automated email confirming your purchase, subscription or application for a course/conference place.
5.4. A receipt from Worldpay will also be sent by email for orders and bookings paid for by credit/debit card.
5.5. Confirmation of your application for a course or conference place will be made within 5 days (UK term-time only).
5.6. We aim to deliver print publications within 5 working days but please wait 10 days before querying non-delivery.
5.7. All downloadable publications will be delivered to your account immediately your order has been placed.
5.8. Invoices for publications will be sent from: EMC -EdCo, Denne Court, Hengist Field, Oad Street, Borden, Sittingbourne, ME9 8LT; Tel: 01634 729835 Fax: 01634 290175
5.9. Invoices for course bookings, conference bookings and magazine subscriptions will be sent from: The English and Media Centre 18 Compton Terrace London N1 2UN Tel: 020 73598080 Email: web@englishandmedia.co.uk
5.10. We are unable to invoice schools for online courses. Courses must be booked and paid for online.
5.11. You bear all risk of loss for completing the download of download publications after purchase, once we have made such content available to you within your account, and for any loss of download content you have downloaded, including any loss due to a file corruption or a computer or hard drive crash. We encourage you to save downloadable publications promptly after purchase and to make back-up copies.

6. Cancellation and refund policies

6.1. Publications – print
6.1.1  The English and Media Centre is unable to provide inspection copies.
6.1.2. The English and Media Centre website includes samples of all print and video materials, where applicable, allowing you to view the publication before purchase.
6.1.3. Refunds are offered within 14 days of purchase, provided goods are returned in perfect condition. Please contact if you wish to be refunded for a print publication: EMC Publications PO Box 105 Rochester Kent ME2 4BE Tel: 01634 729835 Fax: 01634 290175
6.2 Publications – download
6.2.1. If you have a problem regarding a PDF or Video PDF downloaded from the English and Media Centre, please contact us by email (web@englishandmedia.co.uk) within 48 hours.
6.2.2. If you have bought a download publication in error, please contact web@englishandmedia.co.uk Refunds for download publications are given at the discretion of the director.
6.3. Magazines
6.3.1. If you have subscribed to a magazine in error, please contact admin@englishandmedia.co.uk
6.3.2. Please query non-delivery of magazines within 6 weeks of publication date.
6.4. Courses 
6.4.1. For face to face courses held at EMC's offices, 10 working days’ notice of cancellation is required, otherwise the full fee will be charged.
6.4.2.  Please note: We will be unable to make refunds in the case of weather, transport difficulties or other circumstances beyond our control.
6.4.3. Online courses must be booked and paid for online and are non-refundable.
6.5. Conferences
6.5.1. Please see the Conference pages for details of cancellation dates.
6.5.2.  Please note: We will be unable to make refunds in the case of weather, transport difficulties or other circumstances beyond our control.

7. Copyrighted publications and licensing details

7.1. Print and download publications
7.1.1. Publications, including downloadable PDFs and Video PDFs, are copyrighted publications. Where a publication states it is photocopiable (including download publications), permission is granted to the purchaser (individual teacher or department) to reproduce the materials for personal and educational use within the institution in which they are teaching. This includes displaying PDFs and Video PDFs on the institutions VLE and intranet. Redistribution by any means including electronic, will constitute an infringement of copyright.
7.1.2. You must not modify the paper or digital copies of any materials you have downloaded, and you must not use any illustrations, photographs, video or audio sequences or any graphics separately from any accompanying text.
7.1.3. Our status (and that of any identified contributors) as the authors of material on our site must always be acknowledged.
7.1.4. You must not use any part of the materials on our site for commercial purposes without obtaining a licence to do so from us.
7.2. Magazines
7.2.1. Print copies of the magazines are not photocopiable.
7.2.2. Access to the emagazine and MediaMagazine subscription websites is restricted to subscribing institutions (and individuals employed by or studying at the institution). Material from these sections may be downloaded and photocopied for use within the subscribing institution.
7.2.3. Magazine username and passwords must not be passed on to other institutions.
7.2.4. Magazine subscriptions, including access to the subscription websites, runs from 1st September to 31st August, regardless of when the subscription is taken out. Access to the subscription website will be cut off on 31st August unless the subscription has been renewed for the following academic year.

8. Privacy

8.1. We process information about you in accordance with our Privacy Policy. By using our site, you consent to such processing and you warrant that all data provided by you is accurate.

Media Magazine Archive

Search the MediaMagazine archive by keyword and category.

emagazine Archive

Search the emagazine archive by keyword and category.

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EMC working with departments, students and schools

Our consultancy work is suspended at the moment while we put all our efforts into moving our CPD online. When this changes, we will let you know. Do feel free to contact Kate Oliver (info@englishandmedia.co.uk) with expressions of interest in the meantime.

Redeem your emag or MediaMag voucher

Subscribed to emagazine or MediaMagazine by email, post or telephone? Redeem your subscription here.

To redeem your emagazine or MediaMagazine Print & Web subscription, you will need the unique voucher code you have been sent. You will need this only once.

After you have redeemed the subscription, you will be able to set the magazine username and password to give your students and colleagues access to the magazine website. You should not use the same username and password as for your primary account.

Please enter your voucher code below.

Thank you from EMC

Your order was a success! Your order number is

Paid by card?

You will also receive an email from Worldpay. 

Requested an invoice?

The invoice for this order will be sent to the Finance Office. If you have ordered a mixture of products, you may receive separate invoices from both the English and Media and EMC publications.

Ordered a download publication?

Click here to access your downloads. You can access this page at any time by signing in to your primary account via 'Account sign in', going to ‘My Account’ and choosing ‘View my EMC orders and downloads’. Full instructions on accessing and using download products are included in the email sent to your registered email address.



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EMC’s Trustees & Patrons


  • Laura Worsley (Chair)
  • Elizabeth Crump
  • David Sheppard
  • Kabir Miah
  • Richard Long


  • Geoff Barton
  • Professor Deborah Cameron
  • Professor John Mullan
  • Professor Deborah Myhill
  • Daljit Nagra
  • Sir Peter Newsam
  • Eddie Playfair
  • Michael Rosen

The EMC Team

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XML Sitemap



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Answers to some frequently asked questions about the English and Media Centre

Use our Frequently Asked Questions to find the answers some common queries about EMC's print and download publications, courses & consultancy, magazine subscriptions and much more.

If you can't find the answer to your question, please email Lucy.

Contact Us

Interested in receiving EMC email updates about blogs, courses, publications and conferences?

Register an individual or school account here, opting in to email updates.

If you would like to receive emails but do not want to register an account, please contact web@englishandmedia.co.uk, confirming that you are happy to receive emails from us.

Opening Hours

We are open from 9-6pm, Monday to Friday, during term time.

The English and Media Centre,
18 Compton Terrace,
N1 2UN


The best way to contact us is by email. If you have a specific query about the website, magazines, courses or publications, see the contact details below. For general enquires, use this email. Please include details of your query or problem and how we can best get in touch with you. We will get back to you within 3 working days.

EMC website

Any problems using the website, registering your school, choosing passwords for your magazine subscriptions, downloading resources and using download publications, try the advice in the FAQs. If your query is not dealt with here, please email Lucy

Publications – order enquiries

All enquiries regarding orders for publications should be made to our distributors:

EdCo – EMC 
Denne Court
Hengist Field
Oad Street
email: emc@education.co.uk

Publications – editorial comments and queries

Email Lucy with editorial enquiries or for help using download publications

Courses and consultancy



Getting to the Centre

The English and Media Centre is based in Compton Terrace just off Upper Street in Islington.

  • The closest station is Highbury and Islington (Victoria line underground and London Overground) – a 2-minute walk from the Centre.
  • The Angel underground station (Northern line) is a 15-minute walk from the Centre. There are frequent buses in the direction of Highbury Corner (4, 19, 43).
  • Holloway Road underground station on the Piccadilly line is a 15-minute walk from the Centre; frequent buses in the direction of Highbury Corner (43).
  • There is no parking.
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About EMC

The English and Media Centre is an independent educational charity with a national and international reputation as a Centre of Excellence. It is a development centre, serving the needs of secondary and FE teachers and students of English and Media Studies in the UK and beyond. We are unique in being a group of teachers, working in a voluntary sector organisation and able to draw on our close connections with colleagues in the classroom.

What do we do?

Watch a recording of our Introduction to EMC webinar. (55 mins)

The different sections of the webinar are also available separately:

EMC offers:

  • a variety of professional development courses
  • print and downloadable publications
  • emagazine and MediaMagazine, quarterly magazines for A Level students with subscription websites
  • consultancy/advisory work
  • expert contributions to national initiatives and debates on English and Media teaching.

What do we stand for?

At the English and Media Centre we integrate theory and practice in all areas of our work. We aim to develop and disseminate best practice and innovative approaches to language, literature and media, in all their forms. We support teachers in raising attainment and helping their students to become confident, articulate, critical, creative readers, writers, speakers and listeners for the 21st century.

Our approach combines creativity with rigour and we value our reputation for expertise and quality. In our CPD offer, we try to give teachers memorable and challenging experiences that inspire them and let them, in turn, inspire generations of students.

We aspire to reach the parts that commercial providers fail to reach.

Download our vision and mission statement here.


  • ERA AWARD 2018 – Finalist of the Best Secondary Resource (Non-ICT) category for Studying Hamlet
  • ERA AWARD 2017 – Winner of the Best Secondary Resource (Non-ICT) category for 19th Century Full Text Study Editions
  • ERA AWARD 2015 – Finalist of the Best Secondary Resource (Non-ICT) category for Literary Shorts Anthology & Teacher Resource
  • ERA AWARD 2014 – Winner of the Best Secondary Resource (Non-ICT) category for Spotlight on Literacy
  • BETT AWARD 2014 – Finalist in the Secondary Digital Content category for Arctic Adventure – Reading and Writing in Real World Contexts (multitouch book for iPads)
  • ERA AWARD 2012 – Winner of the Best Secondary Resource (Non-ICT) category for Investigating Spoken Language for GCSE
  • BETT Awards 2011: Winner in the Digital Collections and Resources Category for The Poetry Station
  • BETT AWARDS 2010: Finalist in the Digital Collections and Resource Banks Category: emagazine website
  • ERA AWARD 2009 – Winner: Doing Ads
  • ERA AWARD 2008 – Finalist: English Allsorts
  • ERA AWARD 2007 – Finalist: Picture Power 3
  • Learning on Screen 2006 (Short-listed) 'Macbeth in the Classroom' for Teachers TV
  • Adobe/A.P.E Award 2003 for best magazine for emagazine
  • Learning on Screen Award for 2002 for the KS3 Poetry Video
  • Education Show Resources Award 2002: Winner Best Secondary Resource for the ‘EMC KS3 English Series’
  • BETT Award 2000, Winner Best Secondary Software
  • British Film Institute, Paddy Whannel Award 1995 for The Advertising Pack
  • TES Educational Book Award Winner 1990 and 1997

Blog & News

News and views from EMC


You can subscribe to a live feed of our blog updates using the RSS feed below.

http://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/rss/blog.xml (copy and paste the URL into your news reader)

To find out more about RSS feeds and how to use them, the BBC has a useful guide, which will explain the basics and what you need to get started.