Why do English teachers take part-time qualifications in creative writing and literature from the University of Cambridge?

We all tend to have our own reasons for approaching each course we take and each additional qualification we work towards.

Some courses can cover an aspect of a syllabus that one is teaching and which has not been central to one’s studies in the past. Some take participants into the world of creative writing, and some involve original research.

And then the status and credibility of the awarding body is also important, not just for the quality of the teaching and the work, but also in terms of how the qualification will look on our CV should we wish to apply for a new post at some time in the future.

This coming academic year the University of Cambridge is offering a range of part time courses in Creative Writing and English Literature of relevance to English teachers, starting this October. Brief details are given below, and more information is available on our website.

The Certificate in Creative Writing I  starts by considering different forms of fiction – such as the novel, flash fiction, and short stories. Using published works and their own writing, those on the course examine the difference between fiction and other forms of writing such as poetry.

The second unit studies the structure of a range of novels to see how different authors have followed or subverted the “rules”, while the final unit considers the ways in which a piece written for performance tells its story and engages with its audience.

The Certificate in Creative Writing II looks in depth at creative non-fiction and the different forms of writing it involves, such as writing about food, narrative history, popular science, comic writing, and the essay.  It then considers the importance of creating a memorable sense of place, while the final unit explores “life writing”, such as memoir, biography, letter, and diary writing.

The Diploma in Creative Writing I focusses on advanced techniques for identifying a potential story, constructing a coherent sense of time and place, keeping dramatic control, etc. The second unit examines different approaches to structure and the use of pace, drama, description, characterisation, and humour.

The final unit considers the tradition of writing inspired by art, exploring sculpture, portraiture, landscapes, and modern art to observe the evolution of word-and-image in world literature.

The Diploma in Creative Writing II starts with historical fiction from Tudor England to Cold War Germany, considering issues from creating convincing flashbacks to the interweaving of storylines from different points in history.

The second unit on Advanced Crime Writing considers key elements in all such writing, such as the compelling plot, convincing dialogue, a strong sense of place, and accurate research in different types of crime novels such as: “urban noir”, “rural noir”, “Scandi noir”, as well as true crime.

The final unit studies techniques used in writing for TV, film, stage, and radio along with the art of adapting a story from one medium to another.

The above certificate and diploma courses can be taken individually or sequentially in any order.

The Diploma in English Literature I focusses initially on the adaptation of literary works into film and other forms, examining questions of genre, authorship, and form, using examples from Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, and Lewis Carroll, and filmic works by directors including Stanley Kubrick, Andrea Arnold, and Jane Campion.

The second unit looks at a range of major writers in poetry and prose, encompassing the religious debates that characterise much 17th-century writing and focussing on how each writer manifests his particular concerns in the minutiae of form and style.

The final unit considers matters of place, identity, and the spirit of discovery in a range of 19th- and 20th-century works, questioning what it once meant to travel and settle in the age of empire.

Finally the Advanced Diploma in English Literature is a part-time research-based course which offers students the opportunity to undertake supervised independent study over two academic years, culminating in a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words on a topic of their devising.

The course provides a good foundation in research methods for those who wish to continue with their research at a higher level, either through a postgraduate course or on their own initiative.

Alternatively if you’d like to dip your toe in the water or explore a specific topic, we also offer a range of short courses throughout the year.

You can find out more about all the above courses and apply online by 5 September on our website

Alternatively, you can contact me directly with specific enquiries on 01223 746 417 or email me at enquiries@ice.cam.ac.uk.

Paul Ireland
Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge
Madingley Hall, Madingley, Cambridge, CB23 8AQ

What is the simplest way of making philosophical arguments accessible to students?

Understanding philosophical argument requires a knowledge of the fundamentals such as logic, argument, empiricism, rationalism, justification, scepticism…

But the study of these concepts can become rather dry and removed from the work of philosophers unless presented in a way that relates to the world of the student, taking them from their own world to these different approaches to that world.

This approach makes the concepts accessible and comprehensible to students before getting into the application of these concepts through the work of specific philosophers and their approaches.

Thus in this volume we look at moral philosophy which takes the student through utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics, to practical ethics looking at topics such as abortion and voluntary euthanasia, and to meta-ethics.

There is also a separate section on the philosophy of region covering ideas of God, cosmological ontological and teleological arguments, faith, reason and belief, and the implications of God’s existence.

After each argument there is an explanation – where necessary – of each part of the argument, followed by discussion of any problems or issues arising. Finally there are questions and points for discussion.

Some of the material on God and Moral Philosophy will also be useful to students of A level Religious Studies whose course includes some Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. Of particular relevance are sections on: arguments for the existence of God; faith, reason and belief; religious experience; God and morality; miracles.

There are sample pages from the photocopiable book at http://www.pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/re/T1706.pdf

Publisher’s reference: T1706EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 771 5


  • Photocopiable book: £25.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £25.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the book and the CD: £32.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.  Please quote the order ref: T1706EMN

You can purchase the book

Starting and ending the lesson

There’s not much doubt that if the start and end of a lesson can be particularly enjoyable or exciting for the students, then the memory of the lesson itself that they hold will be more positive.

And that, of course, raises the enthusiasm with which the lesson is approached next time around.

With this in mind science teacher Rosamund Rogers produced a series of science crosswords and short-answer tasks focussing on GCSE science topics.

The subject matter ranges from scientific instruments and lab equipment through to the electromagnetic spectrum, via food chains, classifying vertebrates, gases, gears and light.

Some of the pages cover mixed topics as in the inevitable odd one out, the famous scientists and names given to studies of certain subjects. But most are set firmly in one area of work (‘Parts of the Human Body’, ‘Motion of an object’, ‘The Planets’ etc).

The collection  includes more such activities than you are likely to need each year and can be set as homework, revision studies, or (if you are so minded) co-operative learning in the class. It is available as a photocopiable book – and thus just one copy is needed, and can be used repeatedly within the school. 

Sample pages from Science Crosswords and Short Answer Tasks are available at www.pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/science/T1684.pdf

Publisher’s reference: T1684EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 770 8


  • Photocopiable book: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the book and the CD: £26.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1684EMN

  • By post to First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Way, Corby, NN17 4HH
  • By fax to 01536 399 012
  • On line with a credit card at www.shop.firstandbest.co.uk

Lord of the Flies – An Abridged Text

Quite often the content of the National Curriculum can be intractable for pupils who speak English as a second language. The teaching of English can now be made wholly accessible using set texts which have been effectively differentiated so that they are understood by pupils who may find the original version difficult.

This pdf workbook has been designed for use with the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ written by William Golding. With over 70 exercises covering a broad range of ability there is something for every student here. The exercises cover factual recall, knowledge of the text, understanding of the plot, analysis, personal interpretation and speculation. Worksheets are clearly laid out and are user-friendly. They can be completed with a minimum of equipment and they can be used in a variety of ways to fit into any course of study.

This text has been widely used in English and Special Needs classrooms to promote the development of reading writing and listening skills. It has proven to be popular because of its accessibility and at the end of each section there is a series of stimulating exercises designed to enhance language acquisition. Developing literary appreciation is an integral part of the National Curriculum and this resource is designed to develop this skill.

84 Photocopiable masters £29.99 + VAT

Once purchased, the CD can be freely copied and networked throughout the school!

To see sample pages please email info@classroom-resources.co.uk quoting the order code H5046 or visit our website to download.

You can order the Lord of the Flies – An Abridged Text CD-ROM in any of these ways:

  • On our website
  • By phone or fax on 0117 940 6409
  • By email (quoting a school order number) to info@classroom-resources.co.uk
  • By post to: Classroom Resources, 9 Logan Road, Bristol, BS7 8DU

Classroom Resources Ltd
9 Logan Road,


Tel: 0117 940 6409

Demonstrate to your students that music diversity exists and inspire your young musicians to try something new.

As a musician it can be surprising when someone says that they do not possess an interest in music. Not least because music is so different from one genre to the next, from one decade to the next, and from one culture to the next.

Thus, it is not typically the case that these people are disinterested in music, but rather that they have not yet experienced a style of music that they are naturally drawn to.

Indeed, to demonstrate this music diversity to your students you could take them to see the Palestine Youth Orchestra at Town Hall Birmingham at the end of the month (29 July 2016).

The Palestine Youth Orchestra (PYO) brings a musical programme featuring Arabic songs from Egypt and Lebanon alongside contemporary British music, Beethoven, and Mussorgsky’s much loved musical interpretation of an art gallery.

The PYO was established with the vision of bringing together young Palestinian musicians from around the world as one ensemble. And over its first decade, it has performed throughout the Middle East and Europe.

If you have any questions about the event, please do call me on 0121 644 6078 or email antony.pickthall@thsh.co.uk.

Antony Pickthall

Head of Marketing and Communications