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Manchester date for Nate

Andrew Davies, the prolific television screenwriter, will be the star turn at a revamped National Association for the Teaching of English (Nate) annual conference over Easter.

Mr Davies, famous for racy BBC adaptations such as Pride and Prejudice and Tipping the Velvet, will close the conference in Manchester, which the association hopes will re-invigorate its flagship event.

In recent years, the get-together has struggled to attract all but the most committed teachers - its timing over a weekend in January and location at often inaccessible rural venues making attendance difficult for many.

This year, it has been moved to the first week of the Easter holidays and sited in central Manchester. The presence of Mr Davies is seen as a coup.

Other speakers are Jackie Kay, the poet, and academics Deborah Cameron, Gunther Kress and Jackie Marsh.

The conference, Nate's 44th, also includes 68 seminars and workshops, the subjects ranging from animated poetry to how English teachers can become writers.

There will also be a session on teaching the international baccalaureate, following the Government's recent decision to support IB courses in every local authority.

The association, which has 5,000 members, is also unveiling a new magazine for primary and secondary teachers: Nate classroom. It is particularly keen to encourage more primary teachers to join.

Ian McNeilly, Nate spokesman, said: "The conference will mark a bit of a relaunch for the association. It is the most important function for everyone working in English education in this country."

* www.nate.org.uk

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