Give us time to read poetry

18th July 2003 at 01:00
Further to the debate about how schools can specialise in English, I have represented the English Association in talks with the Government about the proposed strategy for the subject ("More uses of English", TES, July 4).

Much discussion centred on the need for teachers to be passionate. To my mind, this passion is kept alive when teachers are given time to read and re-read literature.

Along with this, they need more flexible assessment and greater trust in their judgments. They also need more sabbatical work such as School-teacher Fellowships and residential courses that allow reading of poetry and prose which is not simply for exam purposes.

We also need funding for schools to bring in poets, writers of children's fiction and academic speakers, all of whom contribute to the sense of wonder and enthusiasm in schools.

Ian Brinton, Chair, Secondary committee, The English Association, Brescia House 2 Capel Road Faversham, Kent

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