secondary english
Steve Willshaw

Key Contact

Steve Willshaw
NASBTT Associate Consultant
Secondary English

Twitter: @stevewillshaw

Welcome to the resources space for secondary English This space will be regularly updated to provide the best possible subject support for those involved in training new secondary English teachers. 

On this site you will find links to materials that will support informed approaches to teaching English, along with practical advice and classroom practice from experienced teachers

There will also be links to subject associations that have excellent resources and theoretical underpinning and offer an extensive range of high-quality training to help develop your subject pedagogical knowledge.

This will be a growing list; it is far from exhaustive and, if you cannot find what you are looking for in the links and resources provided here, please do get in touch at the email address above and I will do my best to point you in the direction of what you need.

If you find anything you think is useful that you would like to see added to this section, please do let me know.

The most important reading that secondary English trainees can do is to read as much YA fiction as possible. They should talk to their school’s librarian about what is popular with the T students and read a range of different authors. This will equip them to talk knowledgably to young people about books and reading for pleasure – a key role of English teachers.

Barbara Bleiman - The Harold Rosen Memorial Lecture, NATE Conference 2019

Gresham College Lectures 

Michael Rosen and Simon Gibbons discuss the ways in which events in 1988 and the introduction of the national curriculum changed English teaching

Michael Rosen and Francis Gilbert discuss approaches to writing analysis and argument

The platform Myatt and Co has published a series of videos with the collective title "Principled Practice in secondary English". Each of these will be of great interest to trainees, ECTs and those who train them. The site does have a subscription system but many schools will have bulk subscriptions that trainees can access. Search under "English" in the Subject tab and all the films will be listed.


TEMZ Event - Diverse Reading in Schools across Age Ranges

Session Overview:

The session will focus on Gabrielle Cliff Hodges and Mary Anne Wolpert’s paper - participants will need to have at least skimmed the paper in advance.

Expected Learning Outcomes:

An understanding of the issues addressed in the paper, including the idea of reading as a holding ground for thought and a shared exploration of how some of these issues are or could be approached in schools and across age-ranges.

Facilitator Information:

Steve Willshaw - Secondary English Associate Consultant, NASBTT


Watch the recording here.

TEMZ Event - Building Challenging Texts into the secondary English curriculum

Session Overview:

How can trainee English teachers build challenging texts into their teaching?

Expected Learning Outcomes:

What do we mean by challenging? How can pupils be supported to access these challenging texts? How much flexibility can/should teachers have to build challenging texts into their work? What is the role of centralised schemes of work?

Facilitator Information:

Steve Willshaw - Secondary English Associate Consultant, NASBTT

Recording and Resources:

Watch the recording here.

View the resources here.

The New Yorker Fiction Podcast - great for hearing writers talking about other writers’ work.

In this podcast for EDSK, Tom Sherrington, trustee of Nat Bacc Trust, talks to Tim Oates about the ways in which a Baccalaureate would improve assessment in the later years of secondary education. If we were to move in this direction there would be implications for English teachers - students not doing an English A level could continue to study the subject to 18 and exams could be taken when students are ready for them. Lots of advantages in terms of student control and buy in and flexibility.


The links and readings listed in these pages are a small selection of the huge amount of material that is available. They have been chosen to provoke thinking and discussion. They do not provide trainee teachers with ready-made lessons. However, they will equip trainees with an understanding of the philosophical issues that they will need to address if they want to be successful, well-informed practitioners who can regularly deliver engaging lessons.

Featuring Professor Teresa Cremin, this free Open University study course takes you through the fundamentals of engaging young readers in reading for pleasure. Requiring just 24 hours of study it would make an ideal background course for secondary English trainees and you will receive a certificate on completion.


The views expressed in any links, documents or social accounts in these resources belong to the content creators and not NASBTT, its affiliates, or employees.