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The NATE Conference 2015


The following blog is a combination of the delegate feedback, and my own reflections on the session Implementing a Successful KS3 Curriculum for NATE on Friday 26th June 2015. The session was split into two 1 h 15 minute slots.

On arrival at the Gateshead Hilton, the organisers informed me that my session was ‘by far the most popular’, and although this is flattering, it also adds to the pressure! Having 30 delegates who were a mix of international, private, catholic, state, academy schools – as well as publishers, consultants, NQTs and HODs, made it difficult to pitch and I made a conscious decision to target the teachers in the audience. The feedback suggests that the majority of the attendees benefitted hugely from the session.

Delegate Feedback:

Presentation – very personable approach, clearly inspirational for attendees.
•I will feedback relevant info to my clients as we look to support English departments we work with.

Good overview of the new demands at KS4 and how the curriculum links. I enjoyed sharing Long Term Plans and hearing model examples.
•Make some changes to our KS3 LTP
•Share some of the resources with my department

Breaking down of the progress levels and how to incorporate KS4 criteria into KS3
•Work on KS3 planning
•Writing long term plans

Improve practice by writing long term plans with cross curricular links.

Needed a longer session!
•Lots of ideas
•- Will have more clarity and focus in redeveloping long term plans to fit mew spec.

The group discussion tasks were very useful in the sharing of ideas and problem solving
•Embedding SOLO taxonomy into the KS3 mastery curriculum

Strengths – the varied resources
•Ideas are helpful to inform KS3 planning and resources for Teachit

Practical examples delivered with clarity

– I will begin discussions in my department about the logic of half term changes – also marks for \SPAG to run up to the GCSEs

Helpful ideas for how to deal with KS3 changes and assessments
•I will share what I have with the department and KS3 leader

Allowed me to reflect on my practice through the resources used, I liked the emphasis on creative teaching in English

– More interactive activities, planning SOW
•How to work without levels and assessments.

Very thought provoking, friendly and full of useful ideas to take away
•I am going to spend time in the next 4 weeks planning new assessments in KS3
•Thought provoking
•Encouraging resilience leading to GCSE
•Keeping curriculum simple but incorporating depth

Practical and not patronising – assumed we knew about the changes – I liked that, THANKS! Good pace.
•INSET with the English department

The presenter was passionate about the topic, but I felt that it could have been structured better to make sure we properly tackled the difficult nature of writing a new curriculum
•I will use the idea of using numbers to track progress – it is like APP but helps to keep it somewhat different.

(In 2 hours!!! – My focus was adapting not creating…)

Stress on creative approach
•References on our literacy website – focus on functional literacy.

International school:
•Update of UK developments
•Streamlining of KS3
•Emphasis on SPAG and linear development through key stages
•Looking at assessment and moderation for 2015-2016

Really useful – I am a publisher looking into upcoming issues for KS3 and this really helped outline some of the new challenges. Thank you!

Very clear and accessible.

Discussions regarding new KS3 levels – changes to NC and Government links

I will take the ideas for assessments and the updates regarding Ofsted.

Examples and practical applications were a strength

– I will be re-evaluating long term plans and schemes of work.

One verbal comment that I received was form a well established international teacher, and he said he had been coming to such conferences for years, and it was the first time he had received an introductory email with a pre conference task. He said he liked this approach and it had got him thinking and ‘kept him on his toes’. I was so pleased to receive such praise, and getting people thinking is the most important and productive start for any project or course – whether it is for staff or students.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with how well the session went, and I am glad that I have been of service to such a variety of people, particularly in times of such radical changes in English teaching.


The ideological point of my session was to reinforce the principles of NATE in the sense that we need to ensure that English Literature and English Language survive as distinct and important subjects where there is a whole host of useful and important concepts to be learnt. Not just facts, but the development of empathy and emotional intelligence and a love of the arts, of literature, and an understanding and appreciation of the power of language. But, in reality, we still have to balance this with the pressure for results and the need for quantifiable progress. Sharing ideas and expertise is the starting point, and then have a common purpose that combines a passion for the subject with the practicalities of getting results is the best way forward. It can be done!

The Benefits of NATE

All areas of education and teaching working together to support and advise to fully reap the rewards and benefits of teaching. As an association, NATE is a comprehensive way of getting such support, and gives professionals an avenue to gain and test new, and some older, ideas and techniques in the classroom. Ultimately, we need to work together to keep our much loved subjects alive!