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Gazza signs up for a side with a strong pedigree

ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE Edited by Mike Hamlin Stanley Thornes Pounds 39.99 ( three issues)

English Language and Literature, confidently subtitled "the complete support service for classroom teachers of English" was, as they say, a cracking idea waiting to happen.

Congratulations to Thornes for acting on it. The essential plan is that each term subscribers are provided with around eight photocopiable units of work for all ages and abilities at key stages 3 and 4. As last September's launch was successful, this unique enterprise looks set to run.

The materials are commissioned from experienced teachers, advisers, etc. Some will contribute regularly, such as the admirable Jonothan Neelands, whose drama units alone repay the subscription.

Roy Blatchford, Fred Sedgwick and John Keen are others who indicate the pedigree. A feature of the scheme, however, is that participating schools submit their own units (for payment!) or ideas for future issues. The outcome shouldherald English departmental resource banks stacked with a cornucopia of proven classroom practice.

Among the first year's offerings are drama work arising from a short story, poetry and Robert Swindells' novel Stone Cold; information and editing tasks; writing love poetry and autobiography; varieties of grammar; literature work on form and genre.

National curriculum links are omnipresent, but as starting points not self-sufficient ends.

Pre-20th-century writers (Shakespeare, Keats, Wordsworth, Austen, Rossetti, Tennyson) mingle with McGough and Gazza (sobbing not writing). The materials are well-designed and presented, including the photographs and illustrations. The venture holds rich potential: subscribe now.

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