Team English Writers – Prompt 1

Our first writing prompt is this beautiful image from Pobble365 (photo credit –

At 5pm tonight join in with our Writer’s Group Chat to share ideas and inspiration!

Over the next two weeks share your writing with us via your own blog or upload to our Google Drive: Team English Writers Group Drive. This folder is there for you to find inspiration for yourself and your students. There’ll be no judging. This is a good vibes only space!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #TEWriters

Team English Writers Group

Yesterday I started thinking about writing. I’d begun reading Jenny Webb’s Teach Like A Writer and had also read some fantastic contributions to Hannah Wilson’s Daily Writing Challenge. I claim to be someone who loves writing but in actual fact I just love having a nice pen in my hand and a chunky blank notebook to stare at… I find the inspiration to write is often lacking.

This changes when I write with my department. I have always advocated using department meeting time as subject specific CPD. It’s what we do and it’s been a game changer in how we see ourselves as teacher-learners and not just teachers. Our favourite but most challenging activity is our department writing workshops. The “creative one” in the team talks us through a prompt and an idea she’s used in class… and we write. In silence. And then we share. We all share knowing that there is nothing but support and applause coming our way. It’s really quite wonderful.

Yesterday I felt like I really missed this. I contacted some groups of friends and asked about setting up a virtual writing group… There was initial trepidation for several reasons; “will I have to read my work aloud?” being the main worry. I began to realise that even I was a little embarrassed about reading my creative writing outside the safety of my department. One friend said she’d love to give it a go as she dreads having to model creative writing in front of the pupils – a common concern amongst almost all English teachers I suspect. So many of us consider ourselves readers first and writers second.

It became clear that there was a need for a safe space for teachers to practise the art of writing so that we can build our classroom confidence. Many of us don’t realistically think we’ll ever become the novelists we dream of or write that Pulitzer Prize winning piece of edu-journalism … but being able to write a smashing short story or an emotive article about a current issue is surely not beyond our reach?

And so, the Team English Writers Group For Teachers Who Can’t Write Good But Want To Write Good was born…

I’m joking of course, that’s not the name.

The Team English Writers Group (#TEWriters) will be a place for English teachers in all phases to have a go at writing the very tasks we set for our own pupils. Here’s how it will work:

Over on the TE twitter page and blog we’ll post a fortnightly* image or other writing prompt, just like one you would give pupils in class. We’d love for A Level and Primary folks to as well so these won’t be limited to GCSE style tasks. (*This will possibly become monthly when we return to school and deal with whatever September brings!)

You share your work. We have set up a Google docs folder where you can not only drop your writing but see what everyone else has written. You can also post your writing on your own blog and share it on twitter with the hashtag #TEWriters.

We’ll encourage participants to chat about the fortnightly task and read each other’s work. Fellow teachers may want to use your work in their classrooms as well.

The aim is for every one involved to build their confidence in writing for their own students and departments, and to build up a bank of teacher-written examples that will inspire us.

When I write with my department I go into my next lesson armed with so many ideas and examples from my friends. It’s massively helped not only my confidence but my enthusiasm for writing and has made me a better teacher. Hopefully we can all do that for each other.

The first image/prompt will be pinned on the TE account and blog on Monday 22nd June along with the Google Drive link. A new image will be posted every two weeks thereafter throughout summer.

TES Education Resources: An Open Expression of Concern

This post has been agreed by several teachers and is shared across several blog sites. 
In the last couple of years, we have openly expressed concern at the approaches taken by Tes Education Resources to plagiarism and copyright violation, theft of resources, and the selling of resources that violate copyright. This is not a blogpost intended to cast disapproval on those who sell resources. It is a simply an open expression of concern at the approach taken by Tes Education Resources, when these incidents are uncovered. We also wish to make clear that this is not about an individual or anybody working for Tes Education Resources. We believe that this is a systemic problem that should not fall on one person to solve.
We feel that the following issues need to be properly addressed by Tes Education Resources:

  • The fact that people upload and sell plagiarised resources, which have been clearly copied from free shares on Twitter, Facebook, and sometimes from colleagues.
  • The fact that although Tes Education Resources offer ‘goodwill’ gestures to those who give public challenge, and offer compensation when they recognise plagiarism, the onus is on the victim of theft to report and prove the theft.
  • The fact that customers are being advised to buy resources to check the content if they suspect a theft has occurred, and then claim the money back.

These issues need addressing because:
Plagiarism can constitute copyright violation, which is covered by legislation in both UK and EU law, as well as being a feature of international treaties and agreements. We believe that this is not being taken seriously by Tes Education Resources, who provide a platform for the sale of resources which have been taken, copied, and presented as original resources by the thief. Tes Education Resources describe themselves as ‘one of the world’s largest peer-to-peer platforms for teachers to trade and share digital teaching resources’ (Tes Education Resources Ltd: Annual Report and Financial Statements – Directors’ Report 2017). We feel that a company of this scale, regardless of financial status, should not be placing the onus on individuals to identify instances of copyright violation.
A goodwill gesture is something given on a case-by-case basis. It means that those with the time and tenacity to challenge instances of copyright infringement are being offered compensation, but there are victims who are unaware of the issue, or perhaps who do not have the time and resources to prove the provenance of the resource. We believe that the Tes Education Resources could and should ensure there is parity here.
Tes Education Resources have conceded that only 5% of their resource downloads are purchased. The rest are free downloads. We appreciate this valuable resource, but feel that the 5% are being prioritised over the 95%. It is understood that the 5% is the download, rather than the upload, figure – but the point still stands – 95% of people downloading from Tes Education Resources are downloading free resources.
We also believe that asking people to buy resources to check for copyright issues, in order to then claim a refund, is an unfair and illogical request. Perhaps most pertinent is the fact that all of these issues are contributing to our workload. The Tes recognise this too. In fact, they have an entire section of their website dedicated to this issue – you can read this here: In refusing to adapt their practice, either by demonetising the site or by taking further steps to prevent these incidents, teachers are being forced to spend time searching the site for their own resources. When teachers locate stolen resources, the expectation that they buy their own work and prove its provenance is onerous and frustrating.
What Tes Education Resources Can Do:
  Have a long-term aim to demonetise the site and subsidise it, to enable an entirely free sharing platform for those working in education.
In the meantime:
  Improve checks on resources to identify plagiarism and/or copyright infringement.
  Allow for full download with retrospective payment, rather than asking people to buy resources simply to check for copyright infringement.
  Enable reviews of paid content without purchasing – so that copyright infringement which is clearly evident in the preview pane can be challenged in a review.
What you can do:
  Avoid downloading from Tes Education Resources until the long-term aim (above) is fulfilled.
  Use your Social Media account to inform your followers that you are doing this.
  Share your resources through Dropbox and any other suitable medium.

Weekly Resource Round-Up 28.10.18

Hi Team English! I hope you are all enjoying (or have enjoyed) your half term. After the craziness of September, we’re back with the Weekly Resource Round-Up of the most handy resources shared on Team English in the last two weeks.

We are thrilled that so many of you have now signed up to Litdrive. Every week I will now add some of the highlights from the weekly uploads on Litdrive; they will be listed at the end of the blog.  If you or any colleagues are yet to do so then please get yourselves over there ASAP; it’s an absolute goldmine of the best of Team English resources. Excitingly, there is also now a section for Media and Film Studies teachers so there are even more reasons to sign up!

Have a great week,

Nikki and Becky

1) KS3 Homework Reading Olympiad – @MissMFrost

2) Power and Conflict knowledge organiser – @spryke2

3) Marking Feedback Sheet (AQA P1 Q5) – @jade_hickin

4) Power and Conflict Explode a Quotation – @mathew_lynch44

Now for highlights from Litdrive this week. I cannot add links as they won’t work unless you have a login… so make sure you set up an account (if you haven’t already done so!) and search for the resources below.  These resources have all been given four or five star ratings from our users so thank you to the contributors for sharing!

  1. WW1 Poetry SOW – by Mrstinac
  2. Paper 1 Lessons: The Secret Garden – by Horners
  3. Macbeth Meme Revision – by Aro
  4. Picture Frame Quote Analysis – by t.e.j
  5. War Poetry SOW for Year 9 – by Miss Hassell


Weekly Resource Round-Up #3

Evening, Team English! Here is our third resource round-up (I’ll stop counting them soon) and this week’s has been especially hard to narrow down as there are so many excellent resources being shared. As always, thank you to everyone who continues to share their work with us.





  • Donald Trump Creative Writing Prompt by @its_natalie


  • 5 A Week Quizzes by @mrrdenham




  • AQA Writing Tasks – 200 Words by @reeba_wood


  • Pauses in Macbeth by @gcse_macbeth (have a look at the AIC resource too!)




Weekly Resource Round-Up #2

Morning all! I hope everyone is having a restful weekend now that the Y11 exams are finally over. To help you through your planning this lovely sunny Sunday, here is our round-up of the most popular/best resources shared on our Twitter page during the last week.


Nikki and Becky




Weekly Resource Round-Up

The Team English blog has arisen from its long slumber with what will hopefully be a regular round-up of the best resources that have been shared with us this week. As always,  a huge thank you to everyone who shares resources with us. What you may think of as just a simple resource is to someone else a huge timesaver so please keep them coming.


    1. AQA Paper 1 Language Booklet from Miss W (@AceYourExams)



  • A Christmas Carol Character Thinking Mats from S.Pryke (@spryke2)


  • Paper 1 Reading Lessons for Y9 from Marmitage (@MazLovesGandC)






Team English Meet-ups


English teachers are a sociable old bunch, and we love a good chat…as well as over-analysing anything ever written. @Team_English1 has become a huge community, and new friendships have been forged across the country. With that in mind, we thought that it would be really nice to arrange a few get-togethers across the country, where people can meet and chat with some of the faces behind the Twitter names. These will be very informal get-togethers so please don’t be shy – come along, have a few drinks and meet some new friends.

If you would like to attend any of the following events, all you need to do is add your name to the spreadsheet below, just so that each event organiser knows how many to expect. Events will be added as and when they are organised. We hope to see many of you there!



Contact: @MrsSpalding

Sign up here




Contact: @NooPuddles

Sign up here




Contact: @FKRitson or @shadylady222

Sign up here



Contact: @TLPMsF

Sign up here




Contact: @ladybarkbark

Sign up here




Contact: @StMartins_Eng

Sign up here


Contact: @Tom_Briars

Sign up here


Contact: @lisahackney1 or @BorisMcDonald

Sign up here

What (exactly) are you trying to say?


Help, tips and assistance for students. This blog is part of a range specifically for students and can be found, along with others, under Student GCSE Blogs.

When writing how do you make the best choices? Hopefully, this blog may help you! I’m going to use this image:


AQA Section B: Writing You are advised to spend about 45 minutes on this section.

I will do other posts on how to plan/a whole narrative piece. This blog will show you how to pick the best words/sentences etc. I apologise again for the differences in colour but hopefully they will help you:

  • Blue – a possible choice
  • Red – synonyms and alternatives
  • Grey/black – my thoughts/explanation for choices

If I begin with a verb (-ing) I start my piece in the middle of some type of action

  • Looking (gazing, staring, leering, glancing) at me (this is a ‘clause’ it doesn’t make…

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Evaluating (you know the tough one)!


Help, tips and assistance for students. This blog is part of a range specifically for students and can be found, along with others, under Student GCSE Blogs.

Paper 1 Q4 is an evaluation question, you have to meet this objective: AO4 Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references.

This is a SAMPLE question…


The first thing you need to remember is this is an evaluative question and requires a personal response from you the ‘reader’.

Evaluation is defined as “the making of a judgement about the value of something”.

  • You are being tested on your ability to evaluate how effective a text is.
  • This means you must write about the methods (techniques) a writer uses to create an effective text and are those effects successful?
  • Try to analyse patterns of words e.g. the writer uses [strong verbs] to show….

Let’s look at an extract:


Here’s a ‘sample’…

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