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Teachers tap into creativity

A trio of teachers has written a call-to-arms for English teachers, urging them to restore creativity to the curriculum and fight attempts to stifle their subject. The polemical pamphlet by Sue Palmer, Geoff Barton and Peter Barry has been written to mark the 100th anniversary of the English Association.

The teachers said that action was urgently needed after an Ofsted report showed that English pupils were less interested in reading for pleasure than children in other countries.

They stressed that the pamphlet was "not just another whinge-fest, bleating about how awful the world has become" but a detached look at the state of primary, secondary and higher education.

In a statement, they said: "Back in 1922 school inspector and writer George Sampson complained that the fledgling subject of English was seen solely as something that could be 'examined, tested, marked'.

"That obsession with testing remains an enduring characteristic of English here at the start of the twenty-first century. It has led to a narrowing of the curriculum and an apparent loss of confidence by teachers in how to teach the subject in a way that ignites the enthusiasm of youngsters."

The teachers said that Britain could not afford to lose critical reading skills, and pupils' passion for literature, in an age of internet knowledge and global competition for jobs.

Details of 100 Years of English Teaching: the problems that can't be ignored, which is being sold for pound;3.50, can be found at www.le.ac.ukengassoc.

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