18th September 1998 at 01:00

* Teaching Shakespeare at A-level and key stage 4 is the theme of an English Association teachers' conference on October 17 at The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Speakers include Kiernan Ryan from Royal Holloway, London University, on 'Hamlet: a kind of sighting'; and Catherine Alexander of the Shakespeare Centre on race and gender in 'Othello' and 'The Merchant of Venice'. Fee: Pounds 40, Pounds 35 members. Details: The English Association, Leicester University, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH. Tel: 0116 252 3982.

* Between September 29 and November 26 the National Association for the Teaching of English is running practical regional conferences on literacy in the primary or secondary school. Those for primary teachers, in Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Bristol, will cover such topics as devising a literacy action plan and speaking and listening within the literacy hour.

Secondary conferences in Bedford, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford and Telford will concentrate on specific aspects of literacy including the teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling and the use of information technology. Others in Leicester and Doncaster will examine ways of getting the most out of the GCSE literature syllabus. Fee: Pounds 95, Pounds 85 members. Details: NATE, 50 Broadfield Road, Sheffield S8 OXJ. Tel: 0114 255 5419.

* The Poetry School offers a comprehensive programme of poetry courses and writing workshops throughout the year for beginners and experienced writers. Details from: 130c Evering Road, London N16 7BD. Tel: 0181 985 0090.

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