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"Bridging the gulf: the English literature syllabus from A-level to university" is the theme of an English Association conference for teachers and university admissions tutors at St Catherine's College, Oxford, on October 11. Speakers include Adrian Barlow, chair of examiners, OCR Examinations Board, on how A-level is constructed and how the syllabus should develop and Martin Blocksidge, EA president, on the future of the subject. Fee: pound;100; pound;60 members. EA, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH.Tel: 0116 252 3982


"Getting writing right" and "Keeping up with children's books" are among autumn courses offered by the National Centre for Language and Literacy at Reading University, Bulmershe Court. The first takes place on October 11, 9.30am-4pm, fee pound;85, pound;75 members. It will explore how to help young learners up to Year 8 gain confidence as authors. Fee: pound;85, pound;75 members. The second course, on November 4, 4.30-5.45pm, will introduce the Literacy goes MADD resource which links literacy work with high quality books to music, art, dance and drama. Fee pound;10, members free.

Tel: 0118 378 8820


"Reading is magic!", the 13th Dorset teaching reading conference will be held at Bovington Middle School, near Wareham, November 8. Speakers include award-winning writers Beverley Naidoo and Tim Bowler and presentations will be given by Dorset literacy teachers and children's book publishers.

Tel, Philip Browne: 01929 405060


The National Association for the Teaching of English is holding its annual conference at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derby, January 16-18.

Workshops will include Shakespeare and the moving image; improving performance in English literature at GCSE; using, studying and creating radio programmes, using short films at KS3; cinematic storytelling - using visual texts; drama, the key to unlocking student potential. Fee: pound;150-pound;295 residential.

NATE, 50 Broadfield Road, Sheffield S8 0XJ

Tel: 0114 255 5419


Posy Simmonds, Michael Rosen, Kevin Crossley-Holland and Quentin Blake are among the children's writers, poets and illustrators taking part in The Children's Bookshow from October 7 to November 20. It coincides with Children's Book Week, October 6-12, organised by Booktrust, and National Poetry Day, October 9, organised by The Poetry Society. Venues include Maidenhead, Manchester, Leicester, Cheltenham, Guildford, London (Royal Festival Hall), Sheffield and Newcastle. The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education has published an accompanying guide to the best of children's literature.

Tel: 020 7249 4858


The Poetry Society

Tel: 020 7420 9880 Booktrust

Tel: 0906 5161193


As part of National Poetry Day, October 9, Christian Aid and Divine Fairtrade are inviting children and adults to write a persuasive poem by December 15. It should encourage people to choose Fairtrade to help ensure poor farmers in the developing world receive a fair price for their cocoa.

Winners in the 7-11 and 12-15 age ranges will be awarded enough chocolate and refreshments to throw a chocolate extravaganza for their friends.

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